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The Rime Of The Christo Marine Essay

1764 words - 7 pages

When Samuel Coleridge set pen to paper, it is clear, he knew his bible well. In his Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christian mythology and symbolism abound. The three main elements of the story, the Mariner, the Albatross, and the Sun, each play a role as Jesus. From the first stanza, Coleridge begins his biblical allusions and, through the Mariner's eyes, paints a vivid picture wrought with the Christian god and angelic hordes as recurring foci. Coleridge begins his parallels with the setting, a wedding day. One of Christ's most famous miracles, that of turning water to wine, took place at the wedding at Cana, in Galilee. The Ancient Mariner is the quiet guest who performs a miracle of his own in the retelling of his story. He is the Christ figure also in the view of the whole poem, as when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert. Like Jesus, the Mariner endures many trials, but his failure at the first costs him dearly during those which follow. The initial "temptation" was to kill the good seabird, which he does without conscience. And, like the temptation in the desert, the Mariner is parched with thirst, "Water, water, everywhere,/Nor any drop to drink." And when the Mariner tries to pray for salvation, he hears a demonic voice, like Lucifer: "I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;/But or ever a prayer had gushed,/A wicked whisper came, and made/My heart as dry as dust." [ln 244] As the ghost ship approaches, "I bit my arm, I sucked the blood," in reference to Jesus' use of the wine at the last supper as his own blood. When the spirits move the ship, "Slowly and smoothly went the ship/Moved onward from beneath," the Mariner is, in a sense, walking on water. The ending is the more ironic to consider that the Mariner, as a kind of Christ figure, is rescued by a Pilot, where Jesus died by Pontius Pilate, pronounced in the same way. Coleridge then makes use of "holy" numbers, such as three and seven, on several occasions. Three is represented in the Holy Trinity: Father Son and Holy Spirit, while the seventh day is the Sabbatical. At the poem's opening, the weeding guest is picked out of three men in the second line, and is shortly mesmerized by the Mariner into "a three years' child." [ln 15] When Death and Life-In-Death play dice-despite Einstein's claim, "God does not play dice with the cosmos"-for the Mariner's life, "'The game is done! I've won! I've won!'/Quoth she, and whistles thrice." [ln196] When the Mariner sails into the harbor with the Seraph, he is picked up by a Pilot and his son, and "I saw a third." And, when his crew is dead and all he has to look forward to is death himself, he recalls, "Seven days and seven nights, I saw that curse,/and yet I could not die." [ln 261] With no pretense, the sun is immediately deified in the Mariner's tale. Each time it is referred to, it is capitalized and personified. "The Sun came up upon the left,/Out of the sea came he!" [ln 25] Even more blatantly, "Nor dim nor red,...

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