The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Why is the wedding guest in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner "sadder but wiser?"

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In the famous poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an old sailor, or "ancient mariner," accosts a man at a wedding and compels him to listen to a strange story. The man protests that he is "next of kin" and therefore must attend the ceremony, but the mariner's story enthralls him and he is helpless to resist it.

The mariner explains that he set sail on a ship that was driven south by a storm. The ship was trapped in the ice until an albatross, a symbol of good fortune, appeared, and the ship broke free. However, the mariner committed a grave crime by shooting the albatross with his crossbow. The ship reached warm waters, but was then becalmed. In retribution, the other sailors forced the mariner to wear the dead albatross around his neck. They encountered a ghostly ship with Death and Life-in-Death aboard. Death killed the other sailors, but Life-in-Death left the mariner alive, for he had to suffer for the deed he had done. At first he was cursed to sail the...

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