The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Why is the wedding guest unable to return to the wedding after hearing the mariner's tale in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"? What about the story makes the wedding guest so sad but wise?

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Abigail Lawrence eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The story that the Ancient Mariner tells the Wedding-Guest is one of great tragedy and solemnity. After the beginning of the story, the Wedding-Guest is horrified, thinking the Mariner is a ghost. The Mariner has to calm this fear:

Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!
This body dropt not down.

This quote means that the Mariner did not die with the others. The Wedding-Guest experiences a horrifying story that makes him question if the being telling the story is even alive. This horror immediately takes away the merriment that he would have felt if he had gone to the wedding unhindered.

The sadness...

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debeersdarwin | Student

 guess you could say that, after hearing the Ancient Mariner's story, the wedding guest is no longer in a partying mood. He's heard a wild and riveting story of ignorance, revelation, death and redemption. It has stunned and awed him. He no longer wants to join in any frivolous festivities. He needs to ponder and plumb the depths of what he has heard. His understanding has been expanded, and his world is newly illuminated. He's been saddened and awakened, distracted and amazed. He is in no state of mind for dancing and small talk.

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