Foreshadowing in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Coleridge has the Wedding-Guest again briefly interrupt the story to help us better understand the Mariner. Since the Mariner only states that he shot the bird without describing the scene, the Wedding-Guest’s strong reaction to the expression on the Mariner’s face helps show us how deeply the Mariner regrets this action and foreshadows the consequences the Mariner later faces for killing the Albatross.
Coleridge indicates something supernatural early in this poem by presenting the readers with an ancient and skinny Mariner who appears to be able to compel the Wedding-Guest to listen to him with nothing more than his stare. That the Mariner has supernatural qualities foreshadows the likewise otherworldly elements of his story, signaling that they will be a strong thematic element throughout.