Symbolism in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Essay

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In 1798, Samuel Taylor Coleridge published his poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Several editions followed this, the most notable being the 1815 version, which included a gloss. This poem has grown to become well known and debated, especially concerning the message that Coleridge was attempting to impart. The interpretation of the poem as a whole and of various characters, settings, and objects has been the subject of numerous essays, papers, books, and lectures. There are approximately four things that are major symbols in this work, along with the possibility that the structure itself is symbolic.
In order to best determine what these things symbolize in “The Rime”, one must look at what Coleridge considered a symbol to be
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Four varying viewpoints exist concerning what or who the mariner represents, the first being the superficial idea that he is simply the wise old man who imparts wisdom to the younger generations (Williams 1116). Going beyond the literal connotation, the most common and supported argument it that the mariner represents the Christian sinner. The diction chosen by Coleridge often alludes to Christianity, examples include “Christian soul”, ”God’s name”, “[i]nstead of the cross…about my neck was hung”, and “Dear Lord in Heaven” (Coleridge 1616-1632). Howard Creed believes that the mariner is symbolically a poet, due to the fact that he learns “the great truth about the world they live in” and then attempts to communicate it to others through the art of a story (221). The final possibility is that the mariner represents a mother. Repeated connection to conventionally female things like the sea, motherhood, spontaneity/irrationality, and nature begins to support this conclusion. The role of instructing the young, in this case the wedding guest whom “listens like a three years’ child” is also traditionally female, further developing the argument (Coleridge 1616). Overall, the poem is an exemplar at employing Coleridge’s idea of symbol to use the ordinary to show the transcendent, especially Christianity, yielding that the second option is the preeminent choice.
Acting almost as an antagonist, the albatross is the
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