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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Extra Questions and Answers Class 10 English Literature
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type
Why did the mariners hang the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner?
They hung the albatross out of a sense of revenge. He was held responsible for their plight. They felt that it was his evil deed that brought this curse upon them.
Why does the Ancient Mariner stop and tell his tale to the wedding guest?
He wants to relieve himself of his grief. The mariner had committed the evil deed when he shot the albatross with his cross bow. He was cursed, “to share his tale with people”, if he had to seek redemption.
Why did the Ancient Mariner not let the guest go and attend the wedding?
He wanted to tell his story to someone. The ancient mariner wanted to share his story with someone. So, he stopped the guest to tell his story and relieve himself of the grief that he was carrying.
What kind of welcome did the albatross receive? Why?
The ship had been stuck in the ice for days. There seemed to be no way out of it. The appearance of the albatross through the fog cheered the men. They gave it food to eat and regarded it as a good Christian soul, who had come to help them.
“The sailors are fickle-minded.” Justify this statement with reference to the poem.
First, they blamed him. Then, they praised him. They thought that the killing of the
albatross brought them great woe. When the sun rose they felt that he had done the right thing. They did not judge the killing of albatross by any standard of reasoning but by the change in the weather.
What was the terrible deed done by the old Mariner? Why was it terrible?
The mariner committed the terrible deed of killing the albatross. It was considered as terrible because the mariners looked upon it as a good Christian soul that was sent to help them. Besides, the albatross was not disturbing the mariners in any way that warranted its killing. It was terrible because the killing of the Albatross brought misfortune to them.
What crime had the mariner committed and how did it prove hellish?
The mariner had killed the innocent bird who had brought new hope and the south wind along with it. After the bird was killed, the mariners’ ship was stuck in the middle of the hot and slimy sea. With no water to drink and no ray of hope to brighten them up, they underwent a lot of physical and mental agony.
How did the sailors punish the ancient mariner?
The mariner was made to carry the dead albatross around his neck as a punishment for killing the bird. The fickle mariners, swaying in their reactions, faced with a state of absolute doom, avenged their hurt by humiliating the mariner.
Why did he have to tell his tale to someone?
It so happened that only the ancient mariner survived the tragedy. He was cursed by the spirits to move around the world and say his story to people. This was the punishment he had to undergo to redeem for his sin.
What is the poet trying to convey through this poem?
The poet is advising his readers to ‘look before you leap’. In this poem, the ancient mariner had to go through a lot of pain, humiliation and neglect for his thoughtless act that took a life. He acted in haste and had to repent in leisure. Any action should be a follow-up of a well considered and thought out plan. Weigh the pros and cons of everything and act with maturity Else it would lead to perpetual doom, and a life of guilt and suffering.
Why did the mariners hail the arrival of the albatross?
The ship was stuck in an ice Berg and was enveloped in a severe storm. They were in a very difficult situation. It was at this time that the albatross came to the ship through the thick fog. The Mariners welcomed it in God’s name. The bird appeared to be a kind Christian soul that proved to be auspicious for them. It caused the ice to split and brought in the favourable south wind that helped the helmsman to propel the ship forward.
Why did the sailors curse the Ancient Mariner for killing the albatross?
The sailors cursed the ancient mariner for killing the albatross that had brought with it a respite to their sufferings, in the mid ocean, when they were enveloped by sheets of ice. They held him and his act responsible for the problems that followed his ruthless act. They had visions of the spirit of the albatross following them for revenge.
Why did the sailors hang the dead albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner?
The mariners felt that the ancient mariner was responsible for their suffering. He had killed an innocent bird, the albatross, without any provocation.
The Mariners hung the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner in order to remind him constantly of the ghastly deed he had committed by killing the innocent bird.
How did the ancient mariner stop the wedding guest?
First, the ancient Mariner held the wedding guest with his skinny hand. When he reacted by calling him a mad man, he held the guest in a trance with his compelling look. The guest had no choice but stop to hear the tale.
Was the wedding guest happy to be stopped? Give reasons for your answer.
No, the wedding guest was not happy to be stopped. He was a close relative of the bridegroom and he wanted to attend the wedding.
Describe the ancient mariner.
The ancient mariner was old and skinny. He had a grey beard. He had glittering eyes with which he could hold any one in a trance with one compelling glance. There lingered on his face an untold sorrow.
How does the mariner describe the movement of the ship as it sails away from the land?
The mariner begins his tale by saying that the ship was cheered by all the folks as it cleared the harbour. It sailed merrily below the kirk, the hill and the lighthouse. They were moving southward guided by the sun.
What kind of weather did the sailors enjoy at the beginning of their journey? How has it been expressed in the poem?
The weather at the start of the journey has been described to be, warm and sunny, with a gentle breeze that moved the ship in the southward direction. He speaks of the rise, ascent and setting of the sun, as it moves from the east to the west.
How did the sailors reach the land of mist and snow?
After journeying for a few days, they were overpowered by a very powerful storm that took the ship towards the South Pole, the land of mist and snow.
How does the mariner express the fact that the ship was completely surrounded by icebergs?
The mariner says that the ice that was as green as emerald came floating to the height of the mast. They were then surrounded by drifts and cliffs. They were separated from all forms of life by the layers of ice.
How do we know that the albatross was not afraid of the humans? Why did the sailors hail it in God’s name?
It was while they were trapped in the ice that through the fog a huge water bird arrived bringing with it hope of survival. It was hailed in God’s name because the weather changed for the better with its arrival. The albatross did not show any signs of fear of the humans on board the ship, as it had begun entertaining and eating with the sailors from the day it arrived.
What was the terrible deed done by the mariner? Why do you think he did it?
The ancient mariner had shot the innocent bird with his cross-bow for no reason. It was a though less act by an impatient man.
In which direction did the ship start moving? How can you say?
The ship was moving northward. The sun was rising now on the right.
Why does the mariner say that ‘no sweet bird did follow’?
The sweet bird had been killed. So, there was no one to answer the call.
How did the other mariners behave towards the Ancient Mariner at first? How many times did they change their mind about the Ancient Mariner? What does this tell us about their character?
First, they blamed him, then they praised him. They thought that the killing of the Albatross had brought them great woe. When the sun rose they felt he had done the right thing. Thrice they changed their opinion, which shows they were fickle-minded.
How did the sailing conditions change after the ship had moved out of the land of mist and snow? What or who did the mariners blame for this change?
The breeze stopped blowing, the sails dropped and everything came to a standstill. The atmosphere all-around was filled with sadness. All of them blamed the Mariner, who had killed the bird, for this change.
What is indicated by the line ‘The bloody sun, at noon/Right up above the mast did stand? No bigger than the moon’?
The sun’s heat is at its peak in the afternoon, so was it then. It was right above the mast. In size it looked like a moon, a round disc, but the heat it showered was excessive and unbearable.
How does the mariner describe the fact that they were completely motionless in the middle of the sea?
There was no wind blowing. A silent motionless sea, and a motionless ship, stuck in the calm water. Everything appeared as still as a painted picture.
What is the irony in the ninth stanza (Part II)? Explain it in your words.
There was no breeze blowing. It was very hot. Outside, the sun was very hot. Inside the ship, the sailors were left with no water to drink. Not a single drop of water was fit for drinking, though, there was so much sea-water around. This was the irony.
What is the narrator trying to convey through the description of the situation in the tenth and eleventh stanza
It seemed nature itself was plotting against them, they had earned the curse of the Gods and their doom was very close. Everything appeared sinister, as though the supernatural elements were at play, and death was imminent.
What or who did the mariners feel was responsible for their suffering?
It was the killing of the innocent Albatross that had caused this suffering. The mariner, who had killed the bird for no reason, was held responsible.
Describe the condition of the mariners as expressed in the thirteenth stanza.
The sailors were thirsty and there was not a drop to drink. As a result, after some time their tongues went dry, they could not utter a word, their throats were choked and dry.
Why did the mariner hang the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner?
It was the thoughtless and reckless action of the Mariner that had brought them all the suffering. As a punishment, they hang the Albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner which would constantly remind him of his heinous act and make him feel guilty.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type
“When the albatross arrived on the ship, the mariners experienced a sense of joy and were infused with new hope.” Comment.
The mariners had been trapped in the midst of iceberg and snow. They lost all hope of escaping from the ocean. They felt relieved when the albatross arrived, bringing with it the south wind. The weather improved, and the mariners felt comfortable and hopeful. They were aware of the blessings the albatross had brought and compared the bird to a holy Christian soul sent by God. The bird ate and played with them. They experienced calm and peace with the arrival of the bird.
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” uses the element of supematuralism. Highlight the use of this element.
The very description of the ancient mariner and the look in his eyes, his skinny hands lend the supernatural element to the poem right at the beginning.
- He is able to compel the wedding guest to listen to his story with the fascination of a three-year-old child.
- The emergence of the albatross from the mist, and the sailors revering it as a sign of ‘ good luck, as though it were a “Christian soul” sent by God to save them.
- The mariner is hounded by disaster and supernatural forces after killing the albatross.
- His world becomes nightmarish when contrasted with the realistic world that he has left behind.
- The mariner kills the albatross whose spirit takes its revenge on all the mariners. They face utter drought in spite of water being everywhere. The ship is became – As idle as a painted ship/upon a painted ocean.
- Supernatural beings appear in the poem as symbolic or allegorical figures. They represent the forces of nature, life, death and redistribution.
- The mariner confronts these figures and must ultimately appease them in order to obtain salvation.
No sinful action can ever go without its consequences. What consequences does the Ancient Mariner have to face as a result of his sinful action?
After the Mariner killed the Albatross, it was hung around his neck so as to make him understand the seriousness of his act and feel guilty for his actions. But he was incapable of realizing the full implications of his impulsive act at that time. They cursed him, as the bird was of no danger to the Mariner or the men on the ship. On the contrary it served as a spiritual guide to safeguard the crew on their excursion.
The murder was committed on a whim, with no forethought about the act or the repercussions that would follow. The ship was stranded in the deep Pacific ocean, with no breeze to propel it forward. The Mariners began dying for want of food and water. No sinful action can go without consequences, so ancient mariner, the lone survivor had a permanent penance to perform. He had to wander the earth and telling his story and pay the price of his sin for eternity.
Describe the hardships that the sailors had to undergo when the ship was stuck in the silent sea.
When the ancient mariner killed the albatross, the blowing breeze came to a standstill, the ship stopped moving. The sails sagged down for the lack of wind. There was only sadness and silence all around. The sun continued to shower fires of heat from the sky above. The ship was stuck not in ice now, but in water, it would not move.
There was water and water around, but inside the ship, due to lack of water, the wooden boards appeared to have shrunk. There was not any drop to drink. There was no breeze, no motion and no sound. The silence of the sea was broken when somebody on the ship spoke. The sun was looking as red and hot as copper. The mariners were unable to speak as the throats were parched. Sea water was looking like witch’s oil.
It seemed as if everything in the water was rooting. The slimy creatures were seen on the surface of water. The water seemed to change its colour like witch’s oil. There was no peace. The sailors haunted in dreams.
What is the poet trying to convey through this poem?
What happens when we do things without giving a thought?
How do we pay for our thoughtless or reckless acts?
Whenever we act or behave thoughtlessly, we are made to suffer the consequences of our reckless actions. It is our own conscience that holds us guilty. Happiness eludes us. Living our life normally becomes difficult. It is said, “A clear conscience is a continual Christmas”. We are repentant but only when it is too late. What has been done cannot be undone. Happiness and joys, so simple are denied to a guilt-ridden heart.
He who knows he has sinned, moves around with a bent head. Sharing his guilt is part of one’s penance. Acceptance of one’s offence is equal to being innocent. A guilty person wants to share his burden and goes around looking for someone to hear his heart out. This act can help him feel light. Acceptance of one’s folly, asking for forgiveness, and a firm resolution, never to repeat the wrong can assuage the suffering. Confession of one’s sin also redeems the sinner.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Extra Questions and Answers Reference-to-Context
Read the extracts and answer the questions that follow.
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering’ eye.
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?
(i) Who was stopped by the ancient Mariner?
(ii) What was his appearance like?
(iii) Who is asking the question in the 4th line?
(iv) Name the poem and the poet of the given stanza.
(i) The ancient Mariner stopped one of the wedding guests.
(ii) He was old with a grey beard and sad twinkling eyes.
(iii) The guest who was stopped by the mariner is asking him why he was preventing him from going to the wedding hall.
(iv) The name of the poem is ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, the poet is Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’st hear the merry din.
(i) Why was the wedding guest restless?
(ii) Who was stopping him from going?
(iii) What is he telling the ancient mariner?
(iv) Identify the rhyme scheme of the above stanza.
(i) He could hear the sound of the wedding festivities and being a close relation of the bridegroom, he was impatient to reach the venue of the wedding.
(ii) The ancient mariner was stopping him from going forward.
(iii) He is requesting the mariner to allow him to go as he is a close relative of the wedding guest.
(iv) The rhyme scheme of the above stanza is a, b, c, b.
He holds him with his skinny hand,
“There was a ship,” quoth he.
“Hold off! Unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
(i) Who is he?
(ii) What did the guest tell the mariner?
(iii) Who says “there was a ship” why?
(iv) Which poetic device is used in the above stanza?
(i) He is the ancient Mariner.
(ii) The guest told the mariner to let go of his hand, and abuses him by calling him a grey-beard loon, which means a mad old man.
(iii) These words are spoken by the ancient mariner. He is trying to tell his story to the guest.
(iv) Alliteration is used in the above stanza.
He holds him with his glittering eye,
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.
(i) Explain “Holds him with his glittering eye?
(ii) What effect did it have on the guest?
(iii) Who hath his will? How?
(iv) Which poetic device is used in the third line?
(i) It means he held the wedding guest with his glittering eyes which had the power to hypnotise.
(ii) He could not move as the look in the eyes of the mariner had a hypnotic effect.
(iii) The Ancient Mariner had (hath) his will. He managed to get the guest to listen to his story.
(iv) The poetic device used here is simile.
The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
(i) Where did the wedding-guest sit?
(ii) Did the guest have any choice?
(iii) Why has the poet made use of the term bright-eyed Mariner?
(iv) What did the Mariner speak about?
(i) He sat on a stone.
(ii) No, the guest did not have any choice, but to listen to the story of the mariner.
(iii) When a man’s wish is granted, there is a glitter in his eyes. Here the mariner’s wish was granted, when he found a listener, his glittering eyes brightened even further.
(iv) He spoke about the story of his life.
“The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill.
Below the lighthouse top.
(i) Who cheered the ship?
(ii) What were the things they passed by?
(iii) Who is the mariner referring to in the above lines when he say “we”?
(iv) Name the poetic devices used in the lines.
(i) The family and natives would have cheered the ship to give them a warm send off.
(ii) They passed by the kirk, below the hill and the lighthouse top.
(iii) He is referring to all the people who were in the ship along with him.
(iv) The poetic devices used here are alliteration and repetition.
The sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.
(i) When the sun comes up upon the left which direction are they heading for?
(ii) What was the weather like?
(iii) What do the lines in this stanza signify?
(iv) Which poetic device is used in the above lines.
(i) They are going in the southern direction.
(ii) The weather appeared to be warm and sunny.
(iii) The poet is explaining that it was a normal day when the sun rose and set, following its usual pattern.
(iv) Poetic device used here is personification. The sun is being personified
Higher and higher every day
Till over the mast at noon-
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.
(i) What do the first two lines signify?
(ii) What is the wedding-guest doing?
(iii) Why is he beating his breast?
(iv) What is a loud bassoon?
(i) With each passing day the sun was becoming hotter and was hottest at mid-noon.
(ii) The wedding guest is beating his breast for he has heard the sound of the bassoon, a musical instrument.
(iii) He is feeling helpless because he has been trapped by the mariner.
(iv) It is a musical instrument.
The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.
(i) What did the loud music convey?
(ii) How is the beauty of the bride described?
(iii) What do you understand by merry minstrelsy?
(iv) Why did they nod their head?
(i) The loud music was played to announce the arrival of the bride inside the wedding- hall.
(ii) Her beauty is compared to that of a red rose.
(iii) The ‘merry minstrelsy’, refers to the musicians and singers who are performing with merriment.
(iv) They are nodding their head to wish and acknowledge the beautiful bride.
The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
(i) What was the reaction of the wedding-guest?
(ii) Explain, ‘he cannot choose but hear’.
(iii) What did the mariner do?
(iv) Why has the poet used ‘bright-eyed again in this stanza?
(i) In utter helplessness, he started beating his breast.
(ii) Despite being desperate the guest did not have a choice but listen to the mariner who had held him prisoner with his compelling gaze.
(iii) The mariner continued to narrate his story.
(iv) “Bright-eyed’ has been repeated, perhaps, to reiterate the fact that the mariner was happy that he could hold on to his listener.
“And now the storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’ertaking wings.
And chased us south along.
(i) How has the weather changed?
(ii) Which figure of speech is used in the above line?
(iii) What did it do to the ship? Where was the ship taken?
(iv) How is the storm shown here?
(i) Suddenly there was a very strong and powerful storm.
(ii) Personification. Storm is personified.
(iii) It overpowered the ship completely and chased it southward.
(iv) Here, the storm is personified as a huge, fearful and strong bird with large wings.
With sloping masts and dipping prow.
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.
(i) How is the ship described here?
(ii) How is the storm described here?
(iii) Which direction they are moving in?
(iv) Who is narrating the events to whom?
(i) The poet has personified the ship as someone running away from the storm.
(ii) The storm has been personified as the powerful enemy who is chasing the ship.
(iii) They are moving southward, towards the South Pole.
(iv) The Ancient Mariner is narrating the events to the wedding guest.
And now there came both mist and snow.
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.
(i) How is the weather now?
(ii) Describe the scene.
(iii) How was the weather different now?
(iv) Which figure of speech is used in the last line?
(i) There was mist and snow and it had grown extremely cold.
(ii) A huge block of ice, beautiful and green as an emerald that reached as high as the mast, was seen floating towards the ship.
(iii) They had started the journey when the weather was warm and sunny, but now it had taken a turn and has very cold and stormy.
And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken
The ice was all between.
(i) What was drifting?
(ii) What kind of atmosphere did it create?
(iii) Explain the last two lines.
(iv) Explain: ‘dismal sheen’.
(i) The icebergs all around were adrift.
(ii) The ice created an atmosphere of sadness everywhere.
(iii) The poet is saying that the huge, blocks of green ice stood as a barrier between them and the rest of civilisation.
(iv) “Dismal sheen” refers to the misfortune they faced despite the smooth and gentle brightness on the tips of the ice berg.
The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a sound!
(i) Where was the mariner’s ship?
(ii) What is the reference to a “Swound”?
(iii) What effect does it create?’
(iv) Which are the poetic devices used in the first three lines?
(i) It was stuck in the ice that was all over the place in the polar region.
(ii) The poet says that the sounds that were being heard were loud and noisy, similar to what one experiences while going into a “swound”, which means a fainting fit. He is trying to establish a similarity in the discomfort experienced in both situations.
(iii) It conveys the vastness of the icy expanse all over the place and how ice blocked the route of escape and prevented the ship from moving.
(iv) The poetic devices used in these lines are repetition in the first two, and Onomatopoeia in the third.
At length did cross an Albatross,
Through the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul.
We hailed it in Sod’s name.
(i) What happened one day?
(ii) How did the mariners feel?
(iii) Where did the Albatross come from?
(iv) Which poetic device has been used in the above lines?
(i) An albatross came flying on to their ship.
(ii) The sailors were very happy and hailed in God’s name, as they assumed that it was sent by Him to help them.
(iii) It came through the fog.
(iv) ‘Metaphor’ is used as the Albatross is indirectly compared to the Christian soul.
It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!
(i) Why was it food that: “it ne’er did eat”?
(ii) How did the bird reciprocate?
(iii) What happened to the ice split?
(iv) Who is a helmsman in the ship?
(i) It was because it was a large sea bird and not used to eating food that human beings ate.
(ii) It flew round and round the ship as if to express its gratitude.
(iii) The ice began splitting with a thundering sound.
(iv) Helmsman is the person who steers the ship.
And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner’s hollo!
(i) In which direction is the ship moving now?
(ii) What did the Albatross do?
(iii) When did the Albatross come?
(iv) Why did the Albatross come?
(i) With the southward wind pushing it from behind the ship is now moving northwards.
(ii) It followed the ship.
(iii) Albatross came when the Mariners called out to it.
(iv) Albatross came to eat food and to play with the mariners.
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud.
It perched for vespers nine.
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine.”
(i) What became a routine? Where did the bird sit?
(ii) ‘It perched for vespers nine’—Explain.
(iii) What did the bird do then?
(iv) Which poetic device is used in the first line?
(i) Irrespective of the weather, the bird would come and sit either on the mast or the sails.
(ii) It became a regular visitor and would come exactly at nine o’clock when service in the church started. The poet is affirming the divinity attached to the bird.
(iii) It would remain there throughout the foggy night as the moon shone faintly through the smoke white fog.
(iv) The poetic device used in the first line is Alliteration.
God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus!
Why look’st thou so?’ “With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross.”
(i) What do these lines say about the speaker?
(ii) Why did he have to interrupt the mariner’s story?
(iii) What is he telling the mariner?
(iv) What was his answer to the guests query ?
(i) The wedding-guest is the speaker, and it appears that he is now sympathising with the mariner.
(ii) The wedding-guest saw so much pain and anguish on the face of the mariner that he wanted to know what was troubling him.
(iii) He is expressing a hope that God saves the mariner from the devils that are plaguing him, and asks him why he looked so disturbed and distraught.
(iv) The mariner tells him that he had shot the albatross dead with his crossbow.
“The sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.
(i) In which direction did the ship start moving? Justify.
(ii) What is the sun like now?
(iii) Which poetic device is used here?
(iv) Name the poem and the poet.
(i) The ship was moving northward, as the sun was rising now on the right.
(ii) It was hidden in the mist. It was also dim and did not shine very brightly.
(iii) The poet has used personification.
(iv) The poem is ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and the poet is Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
And the good south wind still blew behind.
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners’ hollo!
(i) Was the wind favourable for the ship?
(ii) Why did ‘no sweet bird follow’?
(iii) What is ‘mariners’ hollo’?
(iv) What is the situation abode the ship now according to you?
(i) Yes, a good favourable wind from the south blew from behind, which took the ship forward.
(ii) No sweet bird followed because the albatross referred to here had been killed by the ancient mariner.
(iii) ‘Mariners’ hollo’, refers to the loud sound or call the mariners produced to hail the albatross.
(iv) The climatic conditions seem to be fairly conducive, but everyone seem to be missing the company of the holy Christian soul, the albatross.
And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work’ em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!
(i) Who is “I” and what was the hellish thing “I” had done?
(ii) What do the first two lines convey about the speaker?
(iii) How did they blame the mariner?
(iv) Why did the fellow mariners call him ‘wretch’?
(i) “I” is the ancient mariner. And the hellish thing refers to his evil act of killing the albatross.
(ii) He is guilty and feels his cruel act would bring all of them misery, they were cursed.
(iii) They all said it was wrong of him to have killed the bird that had made the breeze blow.
(iv) The fellow mariners called him ‘wretch’ for having killed the albatross.
Nor dim nor red, like Sod’s own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay
That bring the fog and mist.
(i) Explain the simile in the first line?
(ii) Is there any change of opinion among the mariners?
(iii) Explain: ‘Glorious sun’ and ‘like God’s own head’.
(iv) What is being highlighted by the poet in these lines?
(i) The sun is said to be like God, who suddenly came up in all its glory. It was not dim, nor red, implying the peace that accompanied the sun.
(ii) Yes. The ancient mariner says that with the arrival of the sun they felt that he was right in killing the bird that had brought the fog and mist.
(iii) It is the bright sun, spreading light everywhere on everyone alike. A halo around the sun is comparable to God’s head that has a halo around it. Sun was glorious as it had come out after the foggy weather.
(iv) The poet is highlighting the fickleness of human character. It does not take them much to blame or applaud another human being. For example, they appreciate the mariner for the same action which they had abhorred a while ago.
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
(i) What happened then?
(ii) Where did they sail to?
(iii) Explain: ‘furrow followed free’.
(iv) Note the poetic device used in the above stanza.
(i) A good and favourable wind began to blow that steered the ship, which moved freely in the forward direction.
(ii) They had sailed into the calm and silent depths of the sea. It seemed no one else had come there before them.
(iii) When the ship moves freely it cuts the water in two halves, leaving a furrow or a groove behind it.
(iv) The literary device used here is Alliteration.
Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!
(i) What happened suddenly?
(ii) How did it affect the movement of the ship?
(iii) What impact did this have on the mariners?
(iv) How was the sea?
(i) There was a sudden change in the weather and the breeze stopped blowing.
(ii) The absence of breeze caused the sails to drop and the ship came to a standstill.
(iii) They were enveloped in sadness and silence. It was only a rare conversation they made that would break the eerie silence
(iv) The sea was completely silent.
All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand.
No bigger than the moon.
(i) Why is the sun “bloody”?
(ii) How has the poet described the scene?
(iii) What do you think would be the plight of the mariners?
(iv) Identify the rhyme scheme of the given stanza.
(i) The poet has used the metaphor here to say the sun has the power to kill. It is a killer.
(ii) The poet has set the scene at noon, and described the surrounding sky to have turned copper red, emanating intense heat of the bloody sun all around.
(iii) The ship had come to a standstill, the heat was unbearable. The mariners were on the verge of experiencing the worst misfortune of their lives.
(iv) The rhyme scheme of the stanza is a, b, c, b.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
(i) What was the condition of the ship now?
(ii) Explain: ‘Painted ship upon a painted ocean’.
(iii) What is the significance of ‘Day after day, day after day’?
(iv) What is the poetic device in the 3rd line?
(i) Days were passing and the ship was motionless.
(ii) The poet has used imagery to explain the static state of the ship in a motionless sea. This gave the picture of beautiful painting.
(iii) It means they were stuck in the sea without any breeze for many days.
(iv) The poetic device used here is simile. The ship was as idle as a ship in a painting.
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
(i) ‘Water, water every where’ – What is meant by this expression?
(ii) Why was there no drop to drink? What poetic device is used here?
(iii) What do you mean by ‘Shrink’?
(iv) Identify the poetic device in the first and third lines?
(i) It means that they were surrounded by water as they were stationed in the middle of the sea.
(ii) The poet has used irony to explain the pathetic situation of the mariners. Despite being in the middle of water, they did not have a drop of water to quench their throats that had dried in the blazing sun. Sea water is salty and cannot be drunk.
(iii) ‘Shrink’ means to become contract.
(iv) The poetic device used here is repetition.
The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.
(i) What was unimaginable?
(ii) Why did the very deep rot?
(iii) Note the literary device in ‘slimy sea’.
(iv) What was happening upon the slimy sea?
(i) It was unimaginable that they would find themselves in such a pathetic situation.
(ii) The very deep was rotting as the water had become stagnant.
(iii) It is Alliteration.
(iv) The stagnant nature of the sea caused the slimy sea creatures to come crawling on to the surface.
About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.
(i) What is meant by ‘reel and rout’?
(ii) How did the death fires dance at night?
(iii) What does the witch’s oil refer to? Why has the poet made such a usage?
(iv) Explain ‘burnt green and blue and white’.
(i) Reel and rout refers to styles of dance.
(ii) It seemed that they were surrounded by death-fires. The rising flames gave a picture of a dance being performed, perhaps to celebrate death.
(iii) The poet has used the poetic device ‘hyperbole’ to create an exaggerated supernational element in the scene. He is using it to say that the mariners were in the grip of the evil elements, the witches. Their evil acts were releasing oil into the water that appeared to shine in different colours.
(The witches oil could also be the oil that was leaking out of the ship and was gleaming in the light of the moon. The usage is perhaps to reiterate the pathetic condition they were in.)
(iv) The three colours have reference to the 3 witches in Macbeth, and the 3 Greek fates that take charge of the past, present and future of mankind. The past and present was reappearing before them, mocking at them and warning them of their approaching death.
And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us So;
Nine fathoms deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.
(i) What were the sailors confirmed about?
(ii) What was plaguing them?
(iii) Explain “Nine fathom he followed us.”
(iv) Why is the spirit plaguing them?
(i) In their heart, they were sure that the spirit of the slain bird had brought them there and was the cause of their misery.
(ii) The spirit of the albatross was plaguing them.
(iii) “Fathom” refers to six meters of length. So, the poet is again using “hyperbole’ to explain that the bird’s spirit has been following them from a very long distance, and plaguing them.
(iv) The spirit of the albatross is plaguing them because the bird was killed by a mariner.
And every tongue, through utter drought.
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
(i) What was the effect of excessive heat and lack of water?
(ii) Who is ‘we’?
(iii) Why are they miserable?
(iv) Explain: ‘Choked with soot’.
(i) Every tongue was dry; they were all very thirsty. Without water, their throats were . parched.
(ii) ‘We’ here refers to the sailors on board.
(iii) They were miserable because they were without food and water in the middle of the sea.
(iv) The chimney pipe gets choked with soot. Here, metaphorically the throats were so dry and the poet is saying that it was like a choked chimney.
Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.”
(i) How did the mariners react now?
(ii) What trait of human character is portrayed in these lines?
(iii) Explain “Instead of the cross”.
(iv) How did the mariners punish him?
(i) The mariners both old and young started looking at the ancient mariner with hatred and disgust.
(ii) The poet is showing us how human beings resort to playing blame games when they are in trouble.The mariners react in three ways, first anger, then appreciation and finally the act of blaming. All these reactions were directed towards the same event, but different situations.
(iii) The ancient mariner tells the guest that they did not punish him with death.
(iv) The angry mariners punished the ancient mariner by humiliating him. This was worse than death because they picked up the dead bird and dangled it around his neck.
The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide.
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
Mays’t hear the merry din.
(i) Who speaks the above lines?
(ii) What occasion is being described?
(iii) What does the word, ‘merry’ mean?
(i) These words are being spoken by the wedding guest.
(ii) The occasion mentioned here is that of a wedding ceremony.
Ah ! Well-a-day ! What evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
(i) Why did the speaker have evil looks from the mariners?
(ii) Why did they hang the albatross around the speaker’s neck?
(iii) What does the word ‘evil’ mean?
(i) The speaker received evil looks from the other mariners because they held him
responsible for their sufferings as he had killed the albatross.
(ii) They hang the albatross around the mariner’s neck as a punishment for killing the ‘ harmless albatross.
(iii) Bad/cruel/ wicked