The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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The Hermit is the third person aboard the small boat that rescues the Mariner. He is depicted as a man of God and of nature – a man who exemplifies the right way to live – and once on land the Mariner calls him a holy man and begs the Hermit to grant him absolution for his sins. The Hermit in return asks the Mariner to explain who he is, which begins the Mariner’s compulsion to tell his own story.

Hermit Quotes in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The The Rime of the Ancient Mariner quotes below are all either spoken by Hermit or refer to Hermit. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner published in 0.
Part VI Quotes

It is the Hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The Albatross's blood.

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), Hermit
Related Symbols: The Albatross
Page Number: 508-513
Explanation and Analysis:

As the Pilot, the Pilot’s Boy, and the Hermit approach the Mariner, the Mariner’s ship is sinking. But rather than worrying about the fate of his ship, the Mariner focuses on the Hermit, who presents an example of a good man of God who does not require such trials as the Mariner to maintain the appropriate attitude. Note that the Hermit is connected with nature through the reference to the “wood,” presumably the place he lives.

The Mariner views the Hermit as a means to conclude his journey and bring a final form of penance and absolution, whatever it may be. He hopes the Hermit will “shrieve” him, which is archaic for shrive, which means take confession, apply penance, and absolve. We can note that he hopes the Hermit will wash away the Albatross’s symbolic blood and lift away the guilt of the crime. This suggestion is also complicated by the fact that the Albatross is a symbol for Christ, and Christ’s blood is typically the means of redemption and washing away sin in Christian allegory and doctrine.

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Part VII Quotes

I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

Related Characters: The Ancient Mariner (speaker), The Wedding Guest, Hermit
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 586-560
Explanation and Analysis:

The Mariner has been rescued by the Hermit and Pilot and is now safely on land. There he begs the Hermit to absolve him of his sin, and is first prompted to tell his story. Here, the Mariner explains the perpetual state of penance he now occupies: he wanders eternally, intermittently succumbing to the agony within him that forces him to tell his story.

He travels from land to land and employs his “strange power of speech,” which seems to be granted to him by the journey and for the purpose of sharing his lesson. He also demonstrates another way that eyes communicate here: he knows to whom he must tell his story by seeing faces. We can note that storytelling here is figured explicitly as teaching. This power of speech allows the Mariner to hold audiences captive, and, we will see, to impart change in their lives.

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Hermit Character Timeline in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The timeline below shows where the character Hermit appears in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part VI
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...hears and then sees a small boat carrying a Pilot, a Pilot’s Boy, and a Hermit. The Mariner determines the Hermit to be a man of God, and decides that the... (full context)
Part VII
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
The Mariner begins the final part of his tale by describing the Hermit, a pious man who “rears” his “sweet voice” from the small boat approaching the ship.... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
...sinking ship, the Mariner begins to speak, causing the Pilot, the Pilot’s Boy, and the Hermit to fall into fits and go crazy, since they believed the Mariner to be dead.... (full context)
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
Once upon land, the Mariner throws himself at the Hermit and begs for forgiveness and absolution. When the confused Hermit asked him to explain, the... (full context)