The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part V Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Once he has come to his spiritual realization (that is, has learned to appreciate nature) and been opened back up to prayer, the Mariner is then able to fall asleep. In this sleep he dreams of rain, and he soon awakes to find his dream realized. He drinks and drinks, momentarily at ease and satisfied.
The Mariner’s spiritual awakening has, for a time, lifted the curse and penance he must undergo. After being denied water and sleep, he is finally able to rest, recover, and drink.
Themes
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
But soon after drinking, the Mariner notices the wind begin to rage and nature and supernatural spirits begin to act out. The moon is in the sky and a huge black cloud pours out rain; the natural world is in commotion.
This recovery period, it seems, only served to energize the Mariner for the continued penance that will follow. Once more, the natural world enters a state of chaos, as supernatural and natural forces coincide in another sublime storm.
Themes
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
This commotion, however, does not reach the ship, which instead is subject to a supernatural phenomenon. The dead Sailors groan, rise up, and, without speaking or moving their eyes, begin working on the ship. Even without wind, the ghastly crew is able to sail the ship. The Wedding Guest reacts to this detail in horror, but the Mariner assures him that it was not demons that reanimated the corpses, or the original souls returning. Instead, the bodies (and the ship) were piloted by a troop of angels.
While the natural storm rages, an eerie (later revealed to be divine) occurrence takes place on the ship. The natural and the supernatural, angels and spirits, terror and awe within the context of the sublime, all become mixed together. This conflation of influences is essential to the realization that everything, despite the seeming categories, falls under the umbrella of God’s creation, and is deserving of adoration and celebration.
Themes
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
The Mariner then describes how when the night ended and the sun rose, the angels too rose out of the bodies of the Sailors and flew around, singing like birds and playing in a heavenly choir. When the song stops, the ship continues to sail onward without a breeze, as the Lonesome Spirit from the South Pole, under instruction from the angels, is carrying the ship homeward.
The end of night in part symbolizes a transition away from the supernatural, as the angels leave the Sailors’ bodies and offer a divine celebration. But the Lonesome Spirit continues to carry the ship, under the influence of the angels. Again, we see the supernatural and the natural tied together under the influence of the spiritual.
Themes
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
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Suddenly, the Mariner is thrown into a fit, and in that strange state he hears two voices (the First Voice and Second Voice) beginning to converse. The voices clarify with one another that the Mariner is indeed the man who shot the Albatross, the bird that was much beloved by the Spirit from the pole. One voice then responds to the other, “The man hath penance done, / And penance more will do.”
This fit of the Mariner’s is strange, in that it comes in the same section that he dreams, but is separated as a different kind of experience. The fit seems to be a combination of a supernatural state and a spiritual vision, in which the state of his redemption is revealed to the Mariner. As the Voices (who seem to be spirits of some kind) indicate, he has done penance, but still more is required of the Mariner. This proves to be the case for him in perpetuity; there is always still more penance, an idea which challenges the common Christian narrative of sin, penance, redemption, and salvation.
Themes
The Natural and the Spiritual Theme Icon
The Mundane and the Sublime Theme Icon
Sin and Penance Theme Icon
Storytelling and Interpretation Theme Icon
Christian Allegory Theme Icon
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