Please discuss the supernatural elements in Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."what is actualy meant by supernatural element not a "literaray meaning"......how it is described/used in...

Please discuss the supernatural elements in Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

what is actualy meant by supernatural element not a "literaray meaning"......how it is described/used in the poem "rime of the ancient mariner.....on what kind or form of life its focuses in the poem??

 

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Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The supernatural elements actually appear with the albatross, which has arrived in order to help guide the Mariner's ship through a fog bank.  When the Ancient Mariner kills the albatross, he has not only violated concepts of gratitude and hospitality, he has, on a whim, killed a living being that has come to same him and his ship.  I believe we are meant to see the albatross, in part, in a Christian context--like Christ, who came to earth to save us, the albatross arrives to save the mariners and their ship, and the reward for this generosity is his execution.

Nature itself becomes relentlessly supernatural after the killing of the albatross: the wind stops, temperatures climb, drinking water runs out.  These are not merely problems for a ship at sea; they are all life-threatening.  The crew, sensing its own complicity in the Mariner's action, decide to hang the albatross around his neck, an allusion to the concept of the Judeo-Christian scapegoat, who wears an amulet representing the sins of the people and is sent into the desert to die for everyone's sins.

As we know, several horrific supernatural elements seal the fate of the ship and crew--slimy snakes from the bottom of the ocean come to the ship; a ghost-ship, with the figures of Death and Death-in-Life, arrives and the entire crew dies (Death) but the Mariner remains alive (Death-in-Life).

The Mariner's salvation comes when he, unconsciously and full of pity, blesses the slimy sea snakes, and the albatross falls from his neck, an indication that Nature and/or God has forgiven his original sin of killing the albatross.  His penance, however, is not complete, for he has to keep telling his story, first to the hermit on the pilot boat and then to the Wedding Guest.  It's only after the repeated telling of this awful tale that the Ancient Mariner achieves some peace.  Unfortunately, the Wedding Guest is negatively affected by the tale, avoids the wedding, and wakes up the next day "a sadder and wiser man."

The supernatural elements, then, themselves contain elements of Nature's wrath at wanton cruelty, as well as implicitly Christian elements, that together create the retribution the Mariner suffers and the salvation he is offered at the end.

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