The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Nature


"Look out Below!" - Craaack! About 15 Men and women turn their glances
toward the sky, and see a large, perhaps 100 feet, tree falling to the
ground. As the tree hits the solid earth, everything grows very quiet. All
look at the lumberjack, who killed this tree, and find him weeping in
sorrow. This situation is not uncommon when dealing with Nature. Nature,
as simple as it seems to some, generates great power. This power is sent
to us, as nature forgives only after a physical, emotional, and spiritual
suffering. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" helps implement all these
teachings together. In current times, this power continues to teach us of
forgiveness.

With physical suffering, the power of nature shows us forgiveness many
ways. In the story, the mariner betrays nature: "I shot the Albatross!"
This action against nature is rather extreme, for he takes lightly to this
thought of death. The Albatross, as a representative of nature, means
nothing to the Mariner. These thoughts are quickly changed, though, as
Nature begins to start the penance leading towards forgiveness - "Water,
water, everywhere nor any drop to drink." When "the mariner begins to find
his salvation when he begins to look on the 'slimy things' as creatures of
strange beauty" (Fraser 203), he understands the Albatross was a symbol of
nature and he realized what he had done wrong. The mariner is forgiven
after sufficient penance - "We could not speak" - is performed by Nature.
Nature shows us more strength as we realize that people of today often can
not forgive someone who has shot or killed another person.

At a spiritual level, Nature's power can decide if we will live, or be
condemned. Nature is capable of presenting "innermost suffering" (Coburn
33) upon people. The mariner's suffering included having his "soul in
agony" soon afterwards. After attempts at prayer and realization of what he
has done - "I looked to heaven and tried to pray", his penance to
forgiveness begins spiritually. The mariner releases the weight of the
crime greatly at the "moment he could pray". "The albatross around the
mariner's neck was an emblem of an inner state" (Fraser 204), as it "fell
off and sank", the mariner was forgiven. Guilt follows many of us
throughout our lives today as we do brash things and taunt with Nature.
Yet with these brash things we do, Nature continues to forgive us.

At an emotional level, our emotions are important factors for pennance
from Nature. The mariner took for granted the love Nature had for him. All
around his ship, he witnessed "slimy things did crawl with legs upon the
slimy sea" and he questioned "the curse in the Dead man's eyes". This shows
his contempt for the creatures that Nature provides for all of us. The
mariner begins to find his salvation when he "begins to look on the 'slimy
things' as creatures of strange beauty" (Coburn 34). The mariner's
experience represents a "renewal of the impulse of love towards other
living things." (Fraser 206). Even Today, many people look upon Nature in
a similar way as that of the Mariner, not loving it. But Nature always
forgives those people.

Nature is a powerful element. Using it's physical, spiritual and
emotional leveled powers, it can help teach us to focus on life and love.
Today, nature is present all around us as living animals. These animals,
when taken care of properly, return the care as love and help each of us to
live long lives because of it. Love is an important aspect in human life,
without it we can die lonely. With love, we die with all that is around
us.


Bibliography Fraser, G.S. A Short

History of English Poetry. Barnes & Noble Books. Totowa, New Jersey.

Coburn, Kathleen. Coleridge. Prentice-Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New
Jersey.