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Divine and Human Forgiveness in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” By Samuel Taylor Coleridge Essay


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a poem created by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is actually the longest poem that has ever been written. Coleridge wrote the poem in the year 1797-98 and the first edition of the book was published in the year 1798. The poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner was the first British Romantic literature to be written. The poem is about a seaman who narrates a terrifying and weird tale to another man.

The setting of the poem is in the street in a surrounding where there is a hall where a reception for a wedding was to be held. There are also sailing ships containing 201 crew members together with ancient mariner, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the South Pole. The mode of the poem is inexplicable, ethereal and preternatural.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner instigate with classical Greek catastrophe whereby a young man who has been affronted against the pagan forces is condemned to ramble around the world and reiterate his tale to those people who pass-by after the daemon inside him drove him to do that.

There is much themes covered by Coleridge in the poem and some include fate, death-in-life and fortune. Other themes include divinity and forgiveness. This paper mainly investigates how Coleridge has used the concept of divine and forgiveness in the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Coleridge has wrote about a Mariner telling his own account of forgiveness and sin to a group of young adults who were on their way to take part in a wedding ceremony. The Mariner gives an account of how he became responsible for the loss of lives of those people who had boarded the ship which he was sailing.

This was after he killed a certain creature that would have been responsible for transporting them by supplying them with the winds to sail them back home after the ship had hit a plateau while it was moving in the sea.

The major theme of the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is mainly God’s forgiveness. This is because the Mariner had faith and believed that despite committing the terrible sin, God had freed him from his sins through forgiveness since he blamed himself for the deaths of those who had boarded the sea.

This is why he had the courage to tell other people about his story. He actually thought that it was his divine purpose to tell everyman what God had done to him for them to believe that their sins too can be forgiven. After killing the albatross who was suppose to provide them with wind, all the people in the ship died but he managed to survive because he had asked God to forgive him all the sins that he had committed.

When Mariner prayed to God to forgive him, the curse and the soul of the crew could not manage to enter heaven since its soul was broken. This is why the Mariners life was spared from death and thereafter the heavenly Angels guided the crewman’s soul to the afterlife so that it may not cause any more deaths to other people who did not cause its death. It is the divine purpose of God and the heavenly Angels to protect anyone who believes in him from death especially if they repent their sins.

Every soul that repents its sins shall be spared and protected from the enemy. The albatross fell from Mariner neck after he whispered a prayer and this is when the guilt that he had been carrying left him. After this, the crew’s remains developed to good spirits which made the boat to rise and guide the ship which had broken down back to the dry lands.

However, before the boat docked, it sinks down in a whirlpool and again Mariner managed to survive. This actually a divine intervention since he had now survived death two times. His prayers had truly saved him from all manner of disasters and death.

Forgiveness is also evidence in the poem whereby the Mariner asks Hermit for forgiveness. However, the Mariner is forced to execute his penance in order to be forgiven of his sins by Hermit. After the ship had sunk in the whirlpool, Hermit was the only witness who saw the ship sink.

He Hermit went with a company of a pilot and a boat that belonged to the pilot’s boy to rescue anyone that was still in the boat. After heaving Mariner from the sea, the three believed that he was not alive until he spoke to them. Immediately Hermit decided to pray for Mariner and in the process he joins him in prayer.

The pilot’s boy thinks that the man lying down in the sand is a devil who is able to pray and quote verses from the bible. In the ocean, there was divine intervention when the wind and the waves stopped and the boats could now travel safely and at a speed that is incredible. The boat managed to sail safely and with high speed despite the fact that it was in a poor condition. This was actually unrealistic which means that it must have just been divine intervention.

Another part where there was divine intervention is when Mariner was burning from the inside. Mariner was left with a deep burning heart to share with the people what he encountered in the sea. He walked around teaching people to love one another whether one is big or small since the Lord God who is the creator of the universe loves us all.

The disaster caused by the dead albatross is a lesson to everyone; it shows that humans should respect all God’s creation without looking down on any because you may not know whether it is the devil or it is meant to bring you luck in your life. If humans are able to respect all creatures created by God whether it is a bird or an ant, then it means that they will have totally obedience towards God himself. There is no way humans can claim to love God yet they have no respect for other creatures.

Human beings can only be close to God in prayers if they are willing to respect all the creatures of God whether big or small. He was indeed touched by the miracle that he received from the sea and that is why he wanted to share it out with every individual he met. His story was indeed touching and it managed to change the listener’s minds and hearts concerning love and that is why they woke up the next day feeling wiser and sadder.

The story of Mariner teaches us that despite the fact that humans are creatures full of sins; they can be redeemed of their sins if they humble themselves and repent before their creator who is God. All their wrongdoings and evil pasts will be forgiven. After confessing his sins to Hermit regarding his guilt for killing those people whom he was sailing back home, Mariner is forgiven and given the mandate to travel throughout the world to narrate his strange and mysterious experience to strangers.

Hermit’s divine work is to pray and revere back God’s creatures who have are in misery and have repented their sins. When Mariner failed to honor the commands that had been set by God, he is made to suffer. This was God’s way of making him understand that all things are equal before him hence should be treated with care and dignity without which they shall be punished. Mariner was cast out of the realm of divinity since he was considered a sinner after killing the albatross.

This case is similar to that of Cain in the bible whereby God was angered after Cain killed Abel and cursed him to wander in the world. Anyone who betrays Christ by committing sin cannot go without any form of punishment unless they repent. Their divinity will be lost until they become bold enough to repent their sins.

He can be compared to Judas who slay down the spirit of Christian, the person who was to guide him to deliverance by saving his soul and make him more divine, Mariner too committed the same crime. He killed the animal that was to lead them home and make them understand what divine is. Mariner had to pay dearly for killing the Albatross which is being compared to Christ.

The Albatross hanged itself around Mariner’s neck as a sign of sin. However, Mariner is forgiven his sins after he began to look at the sea creatures in a positive way. That is the time the rain started falling from heaven and it baptized him immediately after he said a prayer but this however was not an assurance of salvation. Mariner was then kept safe by God to act as a prophet to pass across the truth concerning the goodness and greatness of God.

He was to proclaim it to everyone he met so that they too become aware of the importance of God’s creation. He was to make the people aware of how precious God’s creations are before his sight and anyone who things hostile or evil towards them will definitely be punished just like was punished.

Only those who value and view God’s creatures to be beautiful shall find favor before God. Humans should love all creatures the same way and should not consider any as a monster. Mariner did not care that he had stopped the people from attending a wedding because he was aware of his divine purpose and why he was alive on that day and he wanted to share it with everyone who could listen to him.

In conclusion, God wants everyone to value his creation whether small or big, ugly or beautiful and anyone who looks down upon any creation will be punished. God however, is merciful to those who repents from their sins and accept that they had been wrong.

This is exactly what happened to Mariner. Despite being spared from death, he underwent a bitter experience in the sea which forced him to change his mind concerning how he views God’s creation. His life was spared after he changed his attitude towards God’s creation and after realizing and repenting for having killed the Albatross. God spared his life for a divine purpose which he was expected to fulfill.

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"Divine and Human Forgiveness in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” By Samuel Taylor Coleridge." IvyPanda, 5 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/divine-and-human-forgiveness-in-rime-of-the-ancient-mariner-by-samuel-taylor-coleridge/.

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IvyPanda. "Divine and Human Forgiveness in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” By Samuel Taylor Coleridge." April 5, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/divine-and-human-forgiveness-in-rime-of-the-ancient-mariner-by-samuel-taylor-coleridge/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Divine and Human Forgiveness in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” By Samuel Taylor Coleridge." April 5, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/divine-and-human-forgiveness-in-rime-of-the-ancient-mariner-by-samuel-taylor-coleridge/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Divine and Human Forgiveness in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” By Samuel Taylor Coleridge'. 5 April.

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