the rime of the ancient mariner is a literary ballad exploring the torments that guilt can inflict on the human soul
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From the Ancient Mariner's first interaction with the Wedding Guest, we know there is more to him than the fact that he appears unnaturally old. He has a "glittering eye" that immediately unnerves the Wedding Guest, who presumes he is mad and calls him a "grey-beard loon." Yet there is more to his "glittering eye" than mere madness, as he is able to compel the Wedding Guest to listen to his story with the fascination of a three-year-old child.
The Old Man's glittering eye holds the guest even though the "feast and merriment" fill the background with distraction. The mariner's appearance strikes a note of guilt and maybe a bit of compassion that the guest cannot overcome. He's been hooked by the appearance and unappealing manor of the old man which has for him taken precedence over the food and entertainments he's bound for.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner