which may be called into question if moral criteria are applied, hence the highly ambivalentstatus of the wanderer-speaker as witness, entertainer and suspected liar (viz. the milesgloriosus in classical times and the Baron von Münchhausen). He is thus alienated fromsociety, set apart from fellows, burdened by the exceptional nature of what he has to telland the compulsion to recount his story. Both as a poet-visionary and as a traveller he is anoutsider.
2. Dualism and Dichotomies: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Metaphor equating the poet with an alienated traveller finds its basis both inunawareness of the effects travel may have on an individual's psychology and in thepicture of the believer as an alien travelling homeward in the Bible and religious writings (cf.I Peter; 2,11). The poet like the believer is conscious of a fundamental divide between thephysical world and a transcendent reality beyond it. Baudelaire's concept of the dualitybetween ''Spleen'' and ''Ideal'' is greatly influenced by the concept of the duality betweenthe flesh and the spirit in religious thought (cf. 2 Corinthians; 4,16,5,10). Fundamentally thesame duality underlies ancient mythical accounts of demigods wandering the earth. In TheEpic of Gilgamesh the exact proportions of the hero's divine and human constituency aregiven. O Gilgamesh, lord of Kullab, great is thy praise. This was the man to whom all things wereknown; this was king who knew all countries of the world. He was wise, he sawmysteries and knew secret things, he brought us a tale of the days before the flood. Hewent on a long journey, was weary, worn-out with labour, and returning engraved on astone the whole story. When the gods created Gilgamesh they gave him a perfect body.Shamash the glorious sun endowed him with beauty, Adad the god of the storm endowedhim with courage, the great gods made his beauty perfect, surpassing all others. Twothirds they made him god and one-third man. 4 The Ancient Mariner incorporates aspects and characteristics of the archetypal wanderersof antiquity. Like them he is subject to the overriding influence of higher powers oftenidentified as the planets in the original sense of the word (the seven wanderers - the sun,the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn). The movements of the ''cold earthwanderers'' participate in cosmic movement. As the following quotation makes clear,Gilgamesh's mother holds Shamash (the Sun) accountable for her son's impulse to wander: O Shamash, why did you give this restless heart to Gilgamesh, my son; why did you giveit? You have moved him and now and now he sets out on a long journey to the land of Humbaba, to travel an unknown road and fight a strange battle 5 In no reading of The Ancient Mariner can one overlook the relationship between the Mariner,the Wanderer, and the higher powers represented by the sun, moon, the albatross and thewind. This relationship forms what can be pictured as a vertically oriented polarity betweenthe horizontal plane of the earth and the region of the sky which, together with the manypolarities and parallels contained in the poem, contributes to its dense and complexstructure. The slaying of the albatross, which combines associations with Christ, the HolySpirit, and the poetic genius in one symbol, signals the loss of the modern (sentimental)poet's sense of being harmoniously at one with his source of inspiration. With no certaintyof an objective correlative to the Wanderer's innate divinity, the Mariner is exposed to theheady and terrifying experience of solipsistic isolation. What brings him (or rather Coleridge) the means of breaking out of his despair and isolation is the discovery of themind's inherent objectivity in thought, language and poetic expression. On a symbolic level,the Mariner experiences a transition from death to a new life. In this light we shouldconsider another aspect of the Mariner's affinity with the archetypal wanderers of antiquity.The Mariner, like Gilgamesh, Ulysses and Aeneas, enters the nether realm of death. Thesun, traditionally a symbol of life and regeneration, represents stasis and death inColeridge’s poem. Apollo, the sun god, was not only the god of poetry in classical myth, butalso the bringer of pestilence. The colours displayed by Life-in-Death - red, yellow andwhite carry associations both with the sun and the plague. In a manner consistent with along poetic and religious tradition the sea in The Ancient Mariner combines associationswith death and the renewal of life, as in the story of the Flood and the exodus of theIsraelites through the Red Sea.In Goethe's ''Wanderers Sturmlied'' the central symbol of water is supported by allusions tothe (classical) deluge myth. Water, traditionally a symbol of God's creative power becomesan image symbolising the flow of poetic utterance in the poetry of Goethe and theRomantics. The association of death and water, implicit in biblical accounts of the Flood andthe drowning of Pharaoh's men in the Red Sea, is evident in passages in Shakespearean