Man and Nature
While superficially, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” offers a variety of possible
interpretations, from original sin to the crucifixion of Christ, a more profound dialectic, on
man’s relationship with nature, also exists.
It reveals that humanity is neither separate nor
superior to nature by exemplifying the arrogance of this belief.
Instead, man is entwined in a
causational relationship, with nature, were the actions of one affects the other and visa versa.
Contrasting two antithetical characters, the Mariner and the Hermit, their attitudes, and
behavior, towards creation, with each other, reveals this connection.
As well as the role
nature plays in the poem and the imagery used to describe each situation.
Establishing the archetypal relationship between man and nature is the character of the
This being, called “the Hermit of the wood,” peacefully and harmoniously coexists
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve--
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.
The Hermit kneels three times a day giving thanks or communing with nature,
establishing the relationship.
In return, he receives protection from harm and sickness as
represented by the cushion of moss.
Nature encompasses degradation, rotting, and injury
keeping the Hermit safe by separating him from it.
This illustrates how each entity effects
and cares for the other. Furthermore, the rhyming and structure of this passage also creates the
idea of peace and harmony.
It utilizes assonance and this repetition of vowel sounds
lulling or tranquility harmony in the mind of the reader.
The Hermit is also described as “good” (508), as someone who, “singeth loud his
godly hymns,” (509) and most importantly has the ability to, “…Wash away/The Albatross’s
This capability is highly significant because, the Hermit transcends the
hubris of man creating a relationship, with nature, which is so strong that he has the ability to