How are ideas of salvation explored in 'The Rime of Ancient Mariner'?

Essay by 00jtellCollege, Undergraduate May 2005

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Through stages of penance, repentance, absolution and redemption, Coleridge is able to depict the idea of salvation in 'The Rime of Ancient Mariner'. The question remaining in the responders mind, however, is whether or not the ancient mariner has reached salvation and why the spirit is compelling him to keep retelling the story of his journey. This seems to generate the idea that the ancient mariner cannot reach full salvation until he has told his story to as many people as possible. Albeit, Coleridge is conducting the idea that elements of salvation are to be found in nature, following the typical Romantic poet's ideal, but this is only part of the key to reaching salvation. Coleridge shows the shriving of the ancient mariner's soul but is this enough for the ancient mariner to reach salvation seems to be lacking clarity as the spirit pushes on the mariner to restate the journey he had to undergo.

In order to undergo any of the stages of penance, repentance, absolution or redemption, there of course needs to be a sin. The ancient mariner "stoppeth one of three" to tell his journey to and as "the wedding-guest sat on a stone" he begins to retell his journey. The wedding-guest becomes so engaged that the wedding begins and he is locked out as the doors close. "Yet he cannot choose but hear" shows some eerie spirit or power making the wedding-guest listen to the ancient mariner as he tells of the voyage, the journey and his sin. As Coleridge continues the recapping of the ancient mariner's journey, Coleridge introduces the storm that leads the vessel into "ice, mast-high, came floating high, As green as emerald" and the first encounter of the Albatross. The albatross is built up with hailing of the creature and an...

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