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The Beauty Of Nature In The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

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Humankind won’t prosper without the resources that nature provides. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is about a sailor who thoughtlessly kills an albatross sent by the polar spirit to guide his ship. A series of horrendous events begin to take place. Water supply became scarce and crew members died. Like most of humanity today, the Mariner disregarded the sanctity of nature. Today’s society is reliant on resources such as water, wind, and oil. Fresh water is becoming sparse because, people continue to pollute our water supply. How we treat nature is how nature will treat us in return. Nature is the cornerstone of humanity.

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A little bit before the 1800s, there was no mechanical power. Ships went where the winds brought them. Ships would stop when the wind and current would cease. In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a storm pushed the Mariner’s ship toward the south pole. The ship became stuck in between ice. This is dangerous because you can freeze to death. The sailors were at the mercy of nature. This demonstrates how nature plays a vital role in transportation. There are numerous examples of the role nature plays in everyday life. Resources from nature like oil assist in the movement of cars, buses, and planes. Similar to how wind is picked up by sails to move ships, wind helps windmills to generate energy for communities.

Without the help of nature, the sailors would have died. When the Mariner’s ship was in an ice lock, an albatross suddenly came. After the arrival of the sea bird, the speaker says that the ice split and the helmsman steered them through. Unexpectedly, the Mariner killed the albatross with his cross-bow. He disregarded the sanctity of a life. The Mariner was not thinking about nature when he killed the sea bird. The other sailors condemned the mariner at first, but supported his decision when fog began to clear.

Nature is important for survival and when the mariner killed the bird, nature began to bring harm to the sailors. When the ship reached the equator, the wind stopped. The ship stops moving. It is very hot at the equator. Therefore, being stuck at the equator isn’t an ideal situation. The speaker expresses that there was water everywhere, but not a drop to drink (Coleridge 121-122). The polar spirit is angry that the albatross was killed and is going to avenge its death. The sailor’s mouths become so dry that they couldn’t talk. The sailors are no longer able to communicate. The Mariner realizes that his killing of the albatross was wrong. Nature is supposed to be respected, not abused. There are many effects to mistreating nature. When factories pollute our air with smoke, it contributes to climate change. Climate change causes hotter summers and more exposer to harmful UV rays. Fresh water is becoming sparse because, people continue to pollute our water supply. All of humanity will wither away without water to drink. This is evident in the sailors’ lack of ability to speak when deprived of water. Nature plays a major role in the well-being of all living things.

Sea snakes emerge from the ocean. The Mariner is disgusted by nature’s creatures. The speaker describes them as slimy things that crawl with legs upon the slimy sea (Coleridge 125-126). The Mariner spots a ship approaching and drinks some of his own blood to have the ability to speak. The ship turns out to be a ghost ship. Death and life-in-death are on the ghost ship. They are playing dice and the prize is the souls of the ship’s crew. Death wins the sailors and life in death wins the mariners life. He is now stuck in the ocean with sea snakes and the other sailors’ corps. He begins to feel guilt. The Mariner began to bless the sea snakes and feels their beauty. The speaker says that he felt a spring of love gush from his heart and blessed them unaware. Things change for him afterwards because he finally perceives the beauty in nature and appreciates it. Now he can sleep, and it begins to rain. When you do right by nature, nature will do right by you.

The whole universe seems to spring into action. Angels are sent down into the bodies of the dead sailors and steer the ship away from the equator. The Mariner has done his penance and is being taken home. However, he is not free, and his penance isn’t done. He feels an agony when near a person who needs to hear his story. The speaker says that until his ghastly tale is told, his heart burns (Coleridge 584-585). The Mariner gets to live on forever but is compelled to tell his story repeatedly. Once you do wrong by nature, nature will always be avenged. Everything in nature has a purpose and is beautiful in its own way.

Works cited

  • Coleridge, Samuel. “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature, The Major Authors, Volumes 2, edited by Stephen Greenblatt. Norton, 2019. p. 258-274.
10 Jun 2021

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