In order for the Mariner to be forgiven for this sin, he must first admit his guilt, so he does so by saying, “And I had done a hellish thing/And it would work ‘em woe:/For all averred, I had killed the bird/That made the breeze to blow. /Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay/That made the breeze to blow!” (91-96). It is this admission of guilt that allows the process of forgiveness for the Mariner to begin. It also allows the Albatross to become a reminder of the Mariner’s sin, a representation of Christ’s suffering, and a symbol of the Christian cross.
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THe albatross is figuratively and literally around the mariners neck. The bird becomes his cross to bear. It is a reminder of his sin against nature and God. THe Mariner must suffer untold sorrows until his penance is complete and he has learned the majesty of the sacred natural world. It is not until he confesses his sin and values the life of the slimy sea snakes as much as his own. It is only then that the albatross falls off his neck and the mariner is re-born. The mariner is "born again" to tell his tale and like a Christian apostle, share his story.