The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Questions and Answers
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner book cover
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Were the sailors right to punish the ancient mariner? Who has the right to punish sinners in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?

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The ship has been drawn toward the South Pole. They are surrounded by ice. When the Albatross arrives, they treat it as a good omen. They feed the Albatross and the ice breaks, allowing them to continue on their way back north. 

The mariner kills the Albatross, seemingly for no reason. The sailors are upset because the Albatross seemed to be a good omen and they think the bird had brought them luck. After all, the ice breaks after they feed it and the wind picks up and sends the ship back to the north: 

And it would work'em woe: 

For all averr'd, I kill'd the bird

That made the breeze to blow. 

However, the fog and mist arrives and the sailors think it was right that the mariner killed the bird that brought the fog and mist. Then, the ship becomes stranded and the men are dying of thirst. Again, they put the guilt back on to the mariner, this time hanging the dead Albatross on the mariner's neck. 

It seems that they condemn the mariner for destroying their luck and/or killing an omen...

(The entire section contains 602 words.)

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