ANSWERS: 2
  • This is from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I think? What it means is that in the opinion of the narrator: If an orphan (an innocent child) curses you for something you did (presumably to hurt it), it is bad enough to pull an angel from heaven to hell, but it is not as bad as the look the dead ancient mariner gave the narrator.
  • To me, an orphan's curse represents the Oedipus complex. This is where we refuse to let God be God and attempt to be our own god--our own father. Of course, this leaves us spiritual orphans. (a horrible curse indeed!) But more horrible to the mariner was the curse in the eyes of the dead sailors which left him undead. In Christian theology we can only live by dying. We must die to ourselves--to the sin which is killing our souls--so that we can live. To not die is to enter a hell similar to that of the Ringraiths (or the Army of the Dead) in Lord of the Rings or of Louis in Anne Rice's Interview With a Vampire. In the final analysis, these two curses (the orphan's curse and the curse in the dead men's eyes) actually bring about the same end. But I think that Coleridge's means that such a fate is never more horrible than when you realize that it is happening to you (which the mariner realizes when he looks into the dead men's eyes). Who cares if a curse drags some spirit somewhere to hell? Hell can happen to others but it is not truly hell till it happens to you! Oh! Deliver me then from the curse in those dead men's eyes!

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