Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is wrote in a way that the reader is expected to temporarily allow him or herself to believe it to be able to understand it. The poem itself is about a Mariner who is telling his tale of sin and forgiveness by God to a man referred to as the "Wedding Guest." The Mariner is supposedly responsible for the death of all of the crew on his ship because of his killing of a creature which was to bring them the wind that they needed to put power into the sails of the ship. The whole point of the poem is to encourage or convince the reader to believe the tale that Coleridge tells.
Coleridge wrote the poem as a means to induce the reader with what he calls a "willing suspension of disbelief." The poem is written in such a way that the reader is expected to willingly decide to temporarily believe the almost unbelievable story. The reason a person is to make sure that he or she believes it temporarily to be true is because the Mariner in the story is trying to get the point of forgiveness from God across to the reader and if the reader chooses not to believe the story behind the poem then they will not understand the effect of the point of the tale. Coleridge's main point in writing the story was to get people to understand forgiveness by understanding the poem.
The Mariner in the poem is telling his tale to a "Wedding Guest" who has no choice but to listen and to believe. The "Wedding Guest" in the poem represents "everyman" in the sense that "everyone" is to be at the marriage of the Mariner to life. That is, the reader is to follow, live, and participate with the idea of the poem.
Coleridge tells of a Mariner on a ship who makes a sin against God and therefore is cursed. This curse, the killing of an Albatross - one of God's creatures, costs the entire crew on the ship their lives yet he lives so that he can realize what he has done and be given a chance to...