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The Concept of Good and Evil in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Poems

The paradox is that churchgoers, with all their fine, formal prayers, do not really worship God as well as those persons who practice love in their everyday comings and goings.

The language of paradox is seen in the contrast between good and evil in 'The Ancient Mariner.' When the ancient Mariner kills the Albatross, he brings all the forces of nature down upon himself and his ship. This is like the ancient Greek concept of the Eumenides or Furies. Whenever an injustice occurred in the universe, the Furies went after the person to restore the balance of the universe. The Albatross is actually a symbol of divine beneficence.

Repetition, alliteration, and the subtle employment of refrain, frequently incremental, produce the eerie, haunting effect of the poem. The archetypal meanings of spiritual death and rebirth are generated in completely satisfying objective terms.

In a sense, 'The Ancient Mariner' is an allegory of the entire human race. Since mankind first walked on the face of the earth, the human animal has been committing sins against God or nature. The story of Adam and Eve from Genesis is a good example of the archetype at work.

The ancient Mariner is released from his curse by blessing in his heart, regardless of his lonely anguish, the beauty of the mysterious water-snakes. His salvation is effected by the opening of his soul to God's created creatures. As Joseph Campbell points out: "The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is a tale read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man" (Campbell 28).

The story of the ancient Mariner and the good and evil involved are really what humanity or Everyman must endure. We all have an Albatross around our necks until we find enlightenment.

The poor Wedding Guest is stuck with having to endure the story that the ancient Mariner must inflict upon him. Bad news can be terrifying, par...

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The Concept of Good and Evil in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Poems. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:50, September 21, 2017, from
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