Rime of the ancient mariner - part 4
In stanza 1 we can notice the third interruption of the narration made by the wedding-guest. Here he interrupts because he’s afraid, because the mariner who is talking to him is the only one survivor, and he’s afraid that he’s maybe talking to a dead man, to a ghost, but the mariner said he didn’t die. Now the mariner is alone, and this loneliness is underlined by the repetition of “alone” and “wide” in stanza 3, which gives a sense of loneliness in an infinite space and this is a loneliness that goes on for a long time, 7 days (said in stanza 9). Here good things dies (the “many men, so beautiful”), while the bad things (reference to water-snakes mentioned in stanza 12) just like him stays alive. And this staying alive is made worst by his feeling guilty for being the indirect cause of his crew’s death. There’s no way out (stanza 6), everyone is dead, he’s alone and feels guilty; he tries to pray, but he isn’t able to do it, because a wicked whisper comes, he’s forbidden to pray because of what he did. In stanza 8 a long time is passed, but, despite the hot clime, the corpses aren’t rot or reeked, and their eyes continue to watch him as they did just before death. In stanza 9 it’s explain what is life in death: he hope and wants to die, but he can’t, he has to go on, recognize his guilty and expiate his faults, hoping maybe in a forgiveness that in the end will maybe come. It’s interesting what some critics noticed in The rime of the ancient mariner: they noticed that positive changes happens at night time, while negative one happens at day time.
This situation is totally supernatural. Here there’s another important change of the story: the ancient mariner sees the water-snakes (stanza 12) and he’s able to recognize their beauty and how beautiful their colors were. It’s like a parable that started with the killing of the Albatross and finishes here, with the mariner ho recognize the beauty of the creatures, as God creatures, but he’s unaware of this gestures: he blesses them; It’s the conclusion of a long and painful path. Killing the albatross was denying the dignity of that bird to be alive, rejecting life, but here he blesses water-snakes, horrible creatures. The worst part of his punishment ended and now he can pray; the albatross which has been put on his neck, falls in the sea like lead. At the end of this part there isn’t the word “cross” and this is an important sign: it represents that he has the cross on his shoulders no more and it’s the start of a redemption path.