Educators are subjected to a rigorous application process, and every response they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team. The Wedding Guest appears only at the opening and conclusion of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem; as the Mariner's audience, he provides an important element of the framing surrounding the story.
The first symbol in the poem is the wedding attended by the visitor and the mariner. This is an important point since Coleridge could have put the narrative in any environment he wanted, but he picked a wedding. The reason for this is because a wedding is both a religious and a joyful celebration. It was customary for the bride's father to give his daughter away in marriage, so the guest at their wedding would represent someone close to the couple. In this case, the man would be doing the couple a favor by attending their wedding.
The second symbol is the Ancient Mariner himself. He is half human, half bird. This shows that even though humans are part of God's creation, they can also be destructive when they go against His will. The Ancient Mariner was cursed by God to become a blind, deaf, and mute servant of Christ until his death. Although he had committed no crime other than loving too much, God still punished him by making him see how evil humanity is while he still lived.
The third symbol is the albatross. Albatrosses are very rare birds that live on ships because they find food in the water that other birds don't eat. They also have very strong wings that can carry them far from land. In fact, they are so powerful that it takes three people to lift one albatross. Because of this, albatrosses are used as symbols for loyalty and faithfulness.
The wedding guest has become "a sadder and wiser man" by the end of the poem, implying that the Mariner's narrative has transformed him, making him less interested in celebration and more concerned with the spiritual and natural problems that the Mariner's story conveys. This change is indicated by the fact that instead of dancing, the guest now sings as he walks through the town.
Wedding guests usually drink too much at weddings and sing songs while walking through towns in the morning. The Mariner must be an exception because he doesn't drink or sing along his way back to land. Instead, he thinks about all the people he has left on board his ship and feels guilty for abandoning them. This change in the character of the wedding guest may help us understand why poems often include this theme.
Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions but many people go home unhappy after a bad experience at a friend's wedding. This simple yet powerful image suggests that something good can come even from something terrible if we look closely enough. When you read poems, try to see how different images or themes within the poem can reveal different aspects of reality or offer different views of what happens when we examine things carefully.
1. In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," the ancient mariner wished to confess his transgression to someone. He stopped the wedding guest to listen to his story because the visitor was caught by his captivating look and so had no choice but to listen to his story. The mariner told his tale while gazing into his audience's eyes, thus preventing them from looking elsewhere. When he had finished, he asked them to forgive him for stopping them from marrying.
2. The ancient mariner wanted to make amends for his crime. By telling his story, he hoped to win back his listeners' forgiveness.
3. The ancient mariner was a figure of speech for a messenger or representative of some kind. Because he stopped the wedding guest, he can be regarded as a sentry or watchman who guards against intrusion. This also explains why he wears a helmet - to protect himself from harm.
4. The ancient mariner is said to have come from Norway. So, he must have been a foreigner in that country. It is possible that he was imprisoned for killing someone else's wife. If so, he would not want to go back to Norway because there would be nowhere for him to go except perhaps exile. Here he sails off into the distance, never to be heard from again.