When and how was the dead albatross removed from the Mariner's neck in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner? Explain in detail.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the albatross was hung on the Mariner's neck at the end of Part 2. In Part 3, he and his crew see a ship approaching, but the ship sails "Without a breeze, without a tide," thus arising suspicion. The ship carries Death and Life-in-Death. The two play dice for the Mariner and his crew. Death takes/kills the crew and Life-in-Death takes the Mariner. In Part 4, the Mariner is faced with a "life in death" where he must look at the eyes and faces of the dead: 

An orphan's curse would drag to hell

A spirit from on high; 

But oh! more horrible than that

Is the curse of a dead man's eye! 

After seven days and seven nights of seeing nothing but death and decay, the Mariner sees some living things. He is filled with happiness. He is finally able to pray and/or his prayers are finally answered. The Mariner has transitioned from one who arbitrarily killed the albatross to one who arbitrarily blesses living things. It is at this moment, the end of Part 4, that the albatross falls off of his neck: 

The selfsame moment I could pray; 

And from my neck so free

The Albatross fell off, and sank

Like lead into the sea. 


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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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