Vengeance of Nonhuman Beings: An Ecocritical Reading of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’ Work, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Keywords:ecocriticism, Coleridge, Romanticism, ecocentricism, anthropocentricism
These days environmental issues are among the most commonly reported ones in the world. The dangerous effects of the environmental problems, which are as old as the history of humanity, began to be felt more profoundly after the Industrial Revolution. In former times the environmental problems were felt only at a local level with the destruction of forests in order to facilitate hunting places and clear lands for farming areas. After the Industrial Revolution the extent of the problem rose and reached the catastrophic disaster level with the extensive fossil fuel use. Nowadays, when environment problems come into question, many people prefer using the term environmental disaster in place of the term environmental problems. This term, environmental disaster, may be remarkable enough to discern the severity of the problem. The role of literature in reaching the public cannot be denied. Ecocriticism tries to make use of this ability of literature in setting forth and expressing environment problems. Since both fictional and non-fictional literature can reach many people, the works which concern with the environmental problems may be beneficial to raise awareness and contribute to inform many people all over the world about the severity of these problems. Creating awareness is an important issue since many people are not aware of the fact that the nature is destroyed by humans, and they neglect that the harm to nature causes the harm to humanity concurrently since there has always been an indissoluble bond between ecosystem and humans. Humans cannot be dissociated from the natural world.
In this study, some brief information about human related environment disasters, social organizations which were established to fight for the rights of nonhuman beings in nature, the function of literature in creating awareness among human beings, the efforts of creating ecological reading and the emergence of ecocritical literary criticism will be given. After discussing Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s contribution to nature writing and Romanticism briefly, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” will be evaluated from an ecocritical perspective.
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