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The ancient mariner is an old, old man; he's skinny, dark skinned from years of exposure to the elements, and he has a "glittering" eye. An ocean journey is imperiled by an icy stretch of sea, and the sailors' kindness to an albatross saves their lives.
The ancient mariner foolishly shoots the albatross with a crossbow, but no one can explain his actions. His punishment for such a savage and thoughtless act was to be cursed by a spirit who loved the great bird, and the ancient mariner spends the rest of his life recounting his mistake and the loss of his shipmates through impulsiveness.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
We know the gut is old and all grizzly looking. He has this eye that is supposed to mesmerize people or at least the young wedding guest. I imagine he isn't making any fashion statements either, "By thy long grey beard and glittering eye....with his skinny hand..."
The poem’s protagonist, he is unnaturally old, with skinny, deeply-tanned limbs and a “glittering eye.”He sets sail from his native country with two hundred other men who are all saved from a strange, icy patch of ocean when they are kind to an Albatross that lives there. Impulsively and inexplicably, he shoots the Albatross with his crossbow and is punished for his crime by a spirit who loved the Albatross. He is cursed to be haunted indefinitely by his dead shipmates, and to be compelled to tell the tale of his downfall at random times. Each time he is compelled to share his story with someone, he feels a physical agony that decreases only temporarily once he finishes telling the tale.