illustration of the Ancient Mariner in the ocean with an albatross tied around his neck

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Start Free Trial

Why did Coleridge create a world beneath our apparent world, like the spirit that drove the ship?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Part of Colerdige's desire to create a world beneath our own apparent world is to enhance the supernatural feel to the poem.  Coleridge wanted to construct a vision of reality that represents how individuals must acknowledge something more to their being in the world.  This is a part of the Romantic tendency in the poem.  It is one in which something more is evident than individual consciousness.

For Coleridge, the death of the albatross is more than an animal.  It is a violation of a moral and spiritual order that is meant to guide living in the temporal, similar to the spirit guiding the ship.  For Coleridge, this state of being is what constitutes consciousness.  The spirit that drives the ship is akin to the moral order that drives all life.  Coleridge wishes to illuminate this condition so that human beings recognize that there is something beyond individual understanding that underscores all life.  The presence of the divine, of something larger than oneself, is where human beings are similar to the ship that is driven by the spirit.  There is something beneath our being, more encompassing than our own isolated being.  Coleridge's embrace of the supernatural helps to illuminate this aspect of consciousness in the world.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team