The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner provides us with a haunting and powerful narrative exploring moral questions about humanity and our relationship with nature. The Wedding Guest is depicted as “sadder but wiser” by the end of the poem and Coleridge clearly positions us to see the change in the person, so that we may grasp his perspective about these concepts. The Wedding Guest has learnt what the Mariner has learnt, and learns about the Mariner. He comes to understand the perils of ignoring or destroying nature and our need for connection with nature.

The Wedding Guest has learnt what the Mariner has learnt. He has learnt about the consequences of ignoring nature and treating it with contempt. He has learnt about the need to be in touch with nature. He is “wiser” because his knowledge, and is “sadder” because he empathises with the Mariner through his sad tale. The entire tale is filled with moral lessons for the Wedding Guest. The Mariner tells the Guest of his disregard of nature describing how he arrogantly shot the albatross. “God save thee Ancient Mariner! From the fiends that plague thee thus!”, the use of descriptions like “fiends” and “plague” and the description of the albatross as a “Christian soul” present the Mariner’s actions as evil and against God’s will. The Mariner warns the Wedding Guest to respect nature. “He prayeth well who loveth well both man and bird and beast. Clearly, the Mariner has been changed by his experience so much that it unnerves the Wedding Guest. Descriptions of him help to convey the message of the poem. “Gray-beard loon and glittering eye” His intensity shows us what happens when we destroy or ignore nature.

The Mariner reflects on his experience and as he relives it the Wedding Guest also relives it and fells his pain. “And I had done an hellish thing” and points to the consequences of his actions. “And it would work ‘em woe” His folly is shown in his acknowledgement of his act. He lacks respect for nature describing...
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