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examine the ideas of crime and punishment in the poem, and the poet's attitude to the natural world. The albatross is a “pious bird of good omen”; the mariner kills it for no reason (most readers in 1798, like people in some other countries today, would see nothing wrong in a man's killing of a bird); at first his fellow sailors blame him, then when the fog goes they approve of his action (and so share his guilt); when they are becalmed they change their minds again and blame him, hanging the dead bird around his neck; Death and Life-in-Death dice for the crew and the latter wins the mariner; when he returns to land, he finds he has to tell his tale; he ends his narrative by reminding the wedding guest of the need to love “man and bird and beast”; in the poem, the Polar Spirit is said to love the albatross, and two other spirits discuss the mariner's fate. To understand the poem's attitude to the natural world, you should look at the way the albatross is presented in the poem and the changing attitude of the mariner to the water snakes.
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