What do you think was the mariner's motive for killing the albatross?

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This is one of the most enduring questions about Coleridge's poem and certainly one of the most discussed. To approach this question, we should look to the text for some help in constructing an answer.

First, we know that the appearance and killing of the Albatross all happen during the first part of the story. The bird appears when the Mariner's ship has reached the Antarctic and gets stuck in the ice.

The sailors rejoice at seeing the bird, referring to it as a "Christian soul." They feed it and play with it, and eventually the ice splits and the ship is able to pass safely out of the ice-field. The Albatross then follows the ship to warmer waters until the Mariner shoots the bird.

So, why did he do it? Wasn't the bird helpful to the...

(The entire section contains 407 words.)

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