"The Rime of ancient Mariner" as a poem of crime punishment and salvation.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the greatest achievement of S.T. Coleridge. The whole story of the poem is based on the theme of a crime committed by a mariner and the punishmen which he had to undergo after the act of crime. In fact the poem is an allegory of guilt and regeneration, which carries a moral lesson.

The poem falls into seven sections, and each section tells of a new stage in the process. In the first section, we see that the Ancient Mariner and his two hundred mates were in a sea voyage. They welcomed an Albatross as a bird of good omen. But at the end of the first section, the Ancient Mariner wantonly killed the Albatross. It is a crime which deserves punishment.

In the second section the Mariner's two hundred shipmates partake his guilt because they approve of his misdeed by saying that the Mariner was right to kill the Albatross which brought fog and mist. Thus the whole crew was guilty to be punished.

In the third section the forces of retribution are set into motion with the appearance of the phantom ship which took away the lives of the sailors leaving the old sailor living. In the fourth section the sense of solitude is elaborated. The climax of his suffering is reached when for seven days and seven nights, he tried to pray, but could not break the sailors' curse and does not die.

In the fifth section the process of the soul's regeneration continues. In this part of the poem the Mariner is able to sleep, and when he gets up it is raining. Raining brings him comfort and freshness. Then he hears heavenly music in the air and is comforted by it. When the music flows into his soul, he is on the way to recovery.

In the sixth section the process of healing seems to be impeded. The suffering of the Mariner has not come to an end. He is haunted by the presence of his dead companions. He feels that he is pursued by some fearful power of vengeance. Thus haunted by memories and tears, he became a symbol of remorse.

The last section brings the story to its end. The Mariner reaches back to his own country. He meets the holy Hermit and confesses his guilt. With the sinking of the ship, most of the visible traces of his crime have been obliterated, At times the memory of his heinous act forced him to give utterance to it. This brings him relief. In a way, he is regenerated.

Through this fairy tale, the poet gives us a moral teaching. The teaching is that in social life, a man has to lead a life full of sympathy. If he commits any injustice to any creature of God, he is sure to be punished. He should not look down upon any creation of God, though it may be small and ugly. He should love every creation of God. He should remember that sympathy and love is the best prayer
his best way to be redeemed:

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For dear god who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

Thus the story of the Ancient Mariner has a multi-faceted richness of meaning. It is a story of spiritual adventure, a story of crime, punishment and reconciliation, a story of sin, expiation and redemption, a story revealing the secret of communal and family harmony and the harmony of the natural order of the universe-all in one.

No comments:

Post a Comment