Why did the ancient mariner in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, stop that particular wedding guest to listen to his tale?  

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the mariner stops a wedding guest in the reception hall to tell him his story. The mariner having survived when all of his shipmates did not, feels he has to repeat his story over and over to certain people he comes across. But how does he know who needs to hear his story? Towards the end of the poem, he tells us:

"I pass, like night, from land to land;

I have a strange power of speech;

That moment that his face I see,

I know the man that must hear me;

To him my tale I teach. (Coleridge Part VII ll 73-77)

As soon as the mariner sees him, he can tell he is the one that must hear his tale. For some reason, which the readers are not told, this wedding guest in particular needs to hear the ancient mariner's tragic story - maybe as a warning or a lesson to be sure to do the morally right thing.

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