Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tells the
story of a sailor who offended the powers of nature. In a dream, he comes
to understand the nature of his sin, and he shares his insights with a
stranger, a man on his way to a wedding.
This poem was written at the end of the 18th century, at the beginning
of the industrial revolution. Coleridge's story encourages a respect for
all forms of life, and descri
As the wedding guest listens, he is sometimes moved and sometimesscared, but he cannot tear himself away, and so hears the story frombeginning to end. The wedding guest cannot pull himself away, and so hears all theterrible things that happened to Coleridge, how all his shipmates died,were re-animated in supernatural ways, and how the mariner's perception ofthe world around him changed as he came to understand the gravity of whathe had done. bes all sorts of horrors he had to facebecause he killed an albatross that had apparently aided him and hisshipmates for no apparent reason. The wedding guest says he is sadder but wiser,but does not tell us what lesson he has learned. Once he has this insight, he can pray again, andthe albatross drops off. The story represents how a state of sin interferes with aperson's relationship with God: until the mariner can truly appreciate thesanctity of all life by recognizing the beauty in creatures he hadpreviously loathed (sea snakes), he cannot pray, and the dead albatrossremains around his neck. Presumably, he has learnedthat all beings in God's world are connected and to not treat the life ofany creature casually.