"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is full of symbols. Some of these, like the sun, change their meaning, as the mariner and his shipmates change their minds about the wisdom of killing albatrosses. The sun goes from being a benign provider of light and warmth, and a useful measure of time, to being an instrument of torture for the mariner as it bakes him alive:
All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
This takes place when the ship is becalmed. As with the sun, a complete lack of wind is as deadly as an excess of it. The albatross brings with it "a good south wind," but, like the sun, the wind quickly turns against the mariner and becomes "loud" and "roaring." The frequent appearance of both the sun and the wind show the way in which the elements themselves turn against the ancient mariner when he is cursed.
The sea creatures, the "rotting" sea and the "slimy things" that crawl upon it are closely connected with the imagery
of death, which appears less frequently than that of sun and wind, but is all the more potent for its relative scarcity. The mariner is surrounded by death, and the personified figure of Death with her skin "as white as leprosy" emphasizes the connection between this physical decay and the moral contagion the mariner has brought upon himself.