In "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," where is the spell of the albatross broken, and what occurrence illustrates the breaking of the spell?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After tremendous suffering, the mariner, alone one night in the moonlight, watches water snakes moving in "tracks of shining white." He notices their beautiful colors, "[b]lue, glossy green, and velvet black" in a "flash of golden fire." At this moment, the mariner's ignorance and selfishness drops away as he opens his heart to the glories of God's creation. It is at this moment of spiritual awakening that the spell of the albatross is broken:

O happy living things! no tongue

Their beauty might declare:

A spring of love gushed from my heart,

And I blessed them unaware;

Sure my kind saint took pity on me,

And I blessed them unaware.

The selfsame moment I could pray

Once the spell is broken, the albatross falls from the mariner's neck and drops into the ocean. The mariner sleeps peacefully, awakens to rain, and hears the roar of the wind. The wind itself does not materialize, but the ship moves under sail. Then the dead men on the deck groan, stir, and arise. One event transpires after another, until the mariner's voyage ends in his understanding of this truth:

He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.



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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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