January 9, 2018
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I spent a while trying to figure out exactly what the Albatross symbolizes. It could be God, or Jesus and maybe his crucifixion. I ultimately decided that the Albatross is a connection to God. The Albatross (God) brings safety and good luck to the sailors when they are kind and treat him well. When the Mariner mistreats the Albatross by shooting him (committing a sin), the sailors lose their good fortune are forced to suffer through hardship and death. While not a total match, it’s somewhat reminiscent of The Fall in the Bible.
[and now the Wedding-Guest Turned from the bridegroom’s door.]
It seems to be very meaningful that the wedding celebration is just steps away during the whole of the Ancient Mariner’s account. The guest has arrived to attend the wedding, he’s been stopped right at the entrance to hear the story, and on the story’s completion he opts not to go through with his attandance at the celebration and turns away “forlorn,” and rises the next day sadder, but wiser. The merriment of the wedding, along presumably with whatever else it symbolizes, is now rendered frivolous by the meaning of the Mariner’s Rime and the wisdom it has forced (not too strong a word) onto the guest. Weddings, of course, have qualities of the sacred and pure as well as the merely celebratory. They symbolize new beginnings after turmoil, resolution, and revitalization (this is why Shakespeare’s comedies all seem to end with one, or even with more than one). But perhaps the point is that when the antithesis is visionary and moral truth, even a wedding can be dismissed as all too earthly and (in the Platonic sense) artificial and unreal.
The mention of “him who died on cross,” refers to Jesus Christ. The poem begins with a wedding and the man that is mentioned in stanza 97, is a wedding guest, much like the wedding guests mentioned in the bible as the only ones that would survive Armageddon.
I drew a similar conclusion but i reached it via an updated reference to the idea of Noah and the songbird/dove that was sent out to search for land. What i mean by an updated reference is that here we are given a bird that could fly great distances without ever touching ground so it would be more acceptable to the people living in the current age of science and knowledge as opposed to a small songbird that could not fly great distances. I like your mention of the crucifixion however in that to see an albatross flying across the sun could shed a shadow like cross on the deck of the boat.
The sailors disregard the death of the Albatross when they think that it didn’t do them good. It made me wonder if this is showing how selfish humans are. Later in the poem-only a few stanzas-they then make the Mariner wear the dead bird around his neck as a way of showing his guilt. Wasn’t this the same thing they were doing? Isn’t this a bit hypocritical of the sailors?
Or perhaps this is a way of showing how prideful the Mariner was. He was being praised for killing the bird…but pride comes before the fall.
“Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things;
—We murder to dissect.”
I related this poem to Wordsworth’s famous quote we discussed a few weeks ago. The mariner shoots the Albatross because he is curious about it’s closeness to the spiritual world and powers it seems to possess over nature which bring about good wind, the splitting of the ice, and a resemblance of a “Christian soul”. He kills the albatross without second thought and is then punished for doing so. They have no water to drink, the ship is idle, there are slimy creatures in the sea. It seems like after the bird was killed so were all things beautiful and natural.
The imagery of this passage amazed me. Up to this point I was on the ship deck with our main character and I could really see each soul fly from each body and the feeling of dread and loneliness that would give me. This is an image that I feel has been used in movies and games to this day. This is a classic image I can remember from my childhood. It made me wonder if Coleridge was the origin of this imagery.
This poem seems to be split not only between the story of the mariner and the wedding that’s happening, but between the traditional and the watchmaker god. This line, “So Lonely ’twas, that God himself / Scarce seemed there to be.” is very deist, and happening in the context of the wedding. Whereas the mariner prays a bit, and makes a lot of references to heaven and to biblical stories (in stanza 73 he mentions ‘Mary Queen’, and in stanza 65 he mentions ‘seven days and seven nights’).
This split plays with the time in which the whole story is set–the deist interjections are in the wedding-guest time, alluding that it’s happening in the future from the story of the mariner, which is more traditional/romantic.
I think this last part of the Rime is telling. It’s showing me that he is determined to learn from his mistakes, especially in killing the albatross. It is telling of his regrets even though it doesn’t actually say he regrets anything. Even though, he woke up wiser the next morning and went about the rest of his life.
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April 1, 2018 at 9:07 pm
See in context
February 1, 2018 at 11:37 am
January 30, 2018 at 10:34 am
January 30, 2018 at 12:17 am
January 29, 2018 at 11:56 pm
January 29, 2018 at 10:13 pm
January 29, 2018 at 9:45 pm
January 29, 2018 at 7:29 pm
January 29, 2018 at 2:40 am
April 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm
This poem emphasizes the cyclical qualities of life. This stanza acknowledges the transition from the innocence of youth into a complicated older society. It demonstrates how happiness and youth are fleeting. In the previous stanza we are told about a carefree old man. He demonstrates how in our old age we might return to the same wonderous joy of youth. Although the elderly might posess this same happy disposition, the still carry wisdom and pain with the memories of a complicated life. Many reminisce about the simplicity of being a young girl or boy where everything is exciting and new. It takes a realist perspective where, “The sun does descend,/And our sports have an end.” This poem demonstrates how neither happiness nor sorrow are permanent afflictions. The cycle continues with no true end in sight.
April 27, 2018 at 1:58 pm
In the final stanza we see that, while the narrator doesn’t truly move to the Lake Isle of Innisfree, he takes the isle with him in his thoughts, memory, and temperament. He is expressing how he will take refuge in his memory of the isle in order to live amongst society while embracing a feeling of peace and connection with nature. Even, “While [he stands] on the roadway, or on the pavements grey”, he is able to connect with the Isle in his , “deep heart’s core” and in his soul. This is a form of escapism, while he still allows himself to be somewhat entrapped by a materialistic society. He gives in to most social conventions while holding on to romantic ideals.
April 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm
This poem reminds me of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. The narrator desires to escape from society by living alone in nature. This is likely in response to an increasingly industrialized society. He glorifies nature and it’s peaceful qualities by describing the Lake of Innisfree with a natural supernaturalist perspective. This sort of ideal is expressed often throughout the arts and can be described as a romantic perspective.
April 26, 2018 at 1:51 pm
The final stanza in Dover beach is provoking in that Arnold speaks to lover about a dark and unhappy world. His is a realists perspective, likely in light of a declining faith in humanity and religion. This is a time, “Where ignorant armies clash by night”. In the dawn of industrialization conflict seems prevalent as society becomes materialistic. At this time society was fighting unaware over materialistic, and capitalistic reasons. Arnold has lost faith in humanity and struggles to move past, “The eternal note of sadness”. His is a romantic perspective where he looks at war, materialism, industrialization, and capitalism, as a true decline in humanity with no end in sight.
April 24, 2018 at 11:45 am
This poem exemplifies the transcendent ideals of writers in this period. “I’m happiest when most away” followed by, “I can bear my soul from its home of clay” suggests that the author finds happiness in spirit. She desires a freedom that comes with escaping the physical world before her. The, “home of clay” she speaks of is likely her physical body. In some religions a deity creates humans with clay. This poem is likely demonstrating escapism where the author would enjoy escaping reality if only in spirit. This is likely a response to industrialization which tends to strengthen attachment to the physical/material aspects of society.
April 24, 2018 at 12:13 am
Yes, definitely hearing your lover tell you they love you while meaning it is beautiful to the soul. Sometimes, though, feeling it is more important. The passionate intensity throughout the whole poem shows that she does need to hear it more than feel it. It soothes the soul to hear your lover telling you how they love you.
April 24, 2018 at 12:02 am
The forbidden fruit is indeed strong throughout the whole of the poem, I wholeheartedly agree. It seems that Laura is full of curiosity, but is that on the whole wrong? I think Lizzie’s warnings are what made Laura curious; a lot like the parent telling the teenager not to do something which in tern makes the teenager even MORE inclined to do it.
April 23, 2018 at 10:54 pm
This whole poem brings to mind an ending, as in a changing of the season; possibly a spring straight into winter. There is a loss and isolation feel to it, especially at the mention of Danae. I do love winter and I know now everyone does, which is why to me this feels like he’s writing about an ending of a beautiful spring.
April 23, 2018 at 9:52 pm
There are two phrases that stand out to me in this: train-oil breath and petitionary growl. I have no idea why, but the first thing that came to my mind is world weariness. Carlyle is excellently descriptive about this Hyperborean Bear, this Russian Smuggler. Carlyle is trying to explain to him that he is absolutely not interested and who can blame him? It’s only after he shows the Russian his pistols that the Russian backs off. An everlasting no? If the pistols hadn’t dissuaded him, Carlyle might have been involved in a Duel, which is not something he wanted.
April 23, 2018 at 8:54 pm
I, too, thought war when I read this. The hope he shows until the stanza you mentioned was palpable, but so is his despair.
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