Why is the Wedding Guest a sadder and wiser man after hearing the Mariner's story in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"?I need three points. Well detailed. Its a Christian that will be grading it.

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reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Wedding-Guest is forced to hear the Mariner's tale when he is attending a wedding as "next of kin." He has no choice in the matter, and he "...listens like a three years' child" (15). Throughout the poem, the Wedding-Guest states that he fears the Mariner, yet he remains spell-bound to listen to the Mariner's story. This brings us to the question posed: Why is the Wedding-Guest sadder and wiser at the end?

First of all, it appears that the Mariner does not randomly choose those people to whom he tells his tale. We learn near the end of the poem that the "moment that his face I see, I know the man who must hear me" (589-590). Therefore, the young Wedding-Guest needs to hear this tale of sin, atonement, and redemption that echoes the principles of Christianity. It could be assumed that the Wedding-Guest may be on the same path as the Mariner who shot the albatross with his crossbow, thoughtlessly committing a crime against God and nature.

After hearing the tale of the Mariner's crime and his suffering, the Wedding-Guest has been forced to consider the results of sin. He also has been taught the lesson to treat all of God's creations with love. Consider Christian religion during Easter and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Believers are sadder and wiser during this Christian observance when they revisit the story of Jesus carrying the cross and His suffering to redeem mankind.

As the Mariner gives his testimony, the Wedding-Guest realizes the consequences of sin and is forced to understand the darker side of human nature. He is sadder and wiser.

lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The wedding guest is "sadder and wiser." Possibly, he is sadder because he himself is in need of repentance. Perhaps, the wedding guest has prejudices against some of God's creation that some consider lesser than.

Although the mariner kills the albatross, he has now learned his lesson and feels that all of God's creation should be respected. In fact, that is what he tells the wedding guest before his departure:

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast. (lines 611-614)

The wedding guest has learned so much from the mariner. He realizes how much the mariner has suffered for killing the albatross. Perhaps, the wedding guest is much wiser for hearing the story. Perhaps, the wedding guest has a new appreciation for all of God's creation. An albatross is a clumsy bird on its feet. Perhaps, it represents those who are significantly different and viewed by some men as less graceful. Perhaps, the wedding guest is sadder because the mariner has had to suffer so. Perhaps, the wedding guest has hidden prejudices that are unresolved. However, since the wedding guest is wiser, he will surely make the error of his ways right. There is a reason why the wedding guest becomes engrossed in the mariner's story. Perhaps, he could associate with the mariner in his prejudices of the albatross whom some have considered as a clumsy, lesser than bird.



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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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