Extra Questions, Notes, Assignment and study material for Class 10th as Per CBSE Syllabus
Chapter- 11 Part-I
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part-I
By-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson. Analysis of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part-I
The poem is an extract taken from Coleridge’s famous poem. Here, he brings out the torment and strong feeling of guilt faced by an ancient mariner (an old sailor) who, in a moment of cruelty, killed an innocent albatross. In order to overcome his pain and guilt, he often stopped strangers and told them the story of the troubles faced by the crew as a result of his cruelty.
Summary in Simple Language Part I
The poem starts with the appearance of an old grey-bearded elderly sailor. He thinks himself to be guilty of killing a godly bird and wished that someone should listen to his story of guilt. He was sitting outside a wedding hall and saw three wedding guests arriving. He stopped one of them compelled one of them to listen to his story. The guest was a close relative of the bridegroom. First of all, he was unwilling to listen but soon he became helpless because he was hypnotized by the old man and he had to listen. All the guests had arrived and the marriage ceremony was about to start but the old man caught him with his wrinkled skinny hand and glittering eyes. Now he started telling him the story of his guilt and the guest kept on listening like a child of three years and got seated on a stone as he had no choice. The mariner told him that there was a ship. The ship started sailing in fine weather and passed through the church, below the hill and the lighthouse. Means they started with a blessing of God and all the members on the ship were very happy in the beginning. Their normal routine started. The sun rose from the left and went down into the sea on the right side. Days seemed to be passing normally. At noon, the sun shone brightly over the ship. In the meantime, the wedding guest started feeling upset, when he heard the sound of loud music of the bassoon, the sound of the musical instrument announced the arrival of the bride into the wedding hall. She looked as beautiful as the rose, dressed in her bridal finery (dress). As the band of singers and musicians passed by her, they nodded their heads happily, in approval and appreciation of her beauty. Once again the guest was quite upset and impatient, but having no choice, continued to listen to the story. The bright-eyed Mariner continued with his story. Now, when the ship was journeying, a fierce and very strong tidal storm came and overpowering them with its force, drove them southwards. The ship dipping and turning, followed by the loud and noisy storm, kept moving in the southward direction, at a great speed. Now they were surrounded with mist and snow, it had become extremely cold. The green coloured ice, as high as the mast, came floating down. The floating ice from the steep sides of the icebergs created a gloomy atmosphere, all over the place. Nothing was visible, no living soul, human, bird or beast could be seen. Everywhere there was ice, and the ship was trapped. Sounds of the storm and cracking of the ice created a maddening atmosphere. And then appeared a bird, albatross, like a god-sent angel came and everyone welcomed it. The bird flew over the ship in circles, flapping its wide wings that made the ice crack and the ship moved forward into the sea. A favourable south wind directed the ship and the albatross followed. The friendly bird came every day, ate some food it seemed it enjoyed the food and the play and responded to the call of the sailors. It would come daily, irrespective of the weather and used to sit on the mast or the sail of the ship. It was so punctual that exactly at nine o’clock it would come and sit on the ship and remain there throughout the night. Suddenly the Mariner stopped and there was a haunted look on his face. The wedding guest asked him what was troubling him. The old man replied that he shot the albatross with his cross-bow, because of mean thinking that it would end up their food. This act brought a curse down upon them all. Here Part 1 ends.
* This poem is about the tale of an ancient mariner.
* The mariner is sharing his experience of a long voyage.
*The poem starts with the funny incident of the old sailor getting hold of a young man so that he could get a receptive audience for his tale.
* As many of you may have experienced, the young guys are ready to enjoy the wedding ceremony for which all have come but the old man is trying to tell them a long story of his past adventure.
* Such acts of telling the story of a bygone era by an elderly person usually appear quite boring to the people of the younger generation.
* Although the old man is unable to get hold of the young man by using the force of his frail hands, he is able to hold the listener’s attention by using the glitter in his eyes.
* The wedding guest is probably enchanted by the gleaming eyes of the old man and hence prefers to listen to him rather than going to attend the wedding.
* The old man starts with narrating how the ship was given a cheerful send-off and began sailing till it disappeared below the kirk, below the hill and finally below the lighthouse top.
* Since the wedding guest does not seem to be interested in all those introductions about the voyage, he is beating his breast because he can hear the sound of bassoon and also comes to know that the bride had entered the hall.
* The old man explains how the sun rose from the left every day; which means that the ship was going towards the South.
- After a journey of some days, a monstrous storm comes and strikes the ship as if a giant bird had struck with its huge wings.
* The ship nevertheless continued to move ahead as if it was trying to chase the shadow of its enemy.
* The front portion of the ship was dripping with water and its mast was sloping. O Finally, the ship was able to escape the storm.
* After the storm, the ship had to face mist and snow.
* It was even riskier because huge icebergs floated from near the ship.
* Visibility was very poor which made it very difficult to navigate.
* Then an albatross came from somewhere as if it was sent by the God.
* The albatross enjoyed the food given by the sailors and whenever a sailor gave a call it came on the ship.
* No matter how the season was, the albatross came every day at a fixed time; as if trying to enjoy the life on the ship.
* But one day, the old sailor shot the albatross with his crossbow.
♦ By the long grey beard and glittering eye
♦ furrow followed free
♦ It would work’ ear woe
♦ down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down
♦ The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew
♦ Merry Minstrelsy
♦ Vespers Nine
♦ snowy clefts
♦ The Furrow
♦ glittering eye
♦ ice was here
♦ bright-eyed Mariner
♦ water, water
♦ Sun – is personified as a Man
♦ Storm – is also personified as a Man
♦ Blast – also as a Bird (“overtaking wing”)
♦ Like a three-year-old child – wedding guest
♦ Red as a rose – the Bride
♦ As who pursued with yell and blow – the ship
♦ Like noises in a sound – Thundering and growling sounds
♦ As idle as a painted ship – ship as if it is painted
♦ Like witch’s oils – ingredients used by witches to make their broth
- Mariner – sailor • Glittering – shining brightly, with flashing points of light. • Kin – members of your family. • Quoth – said • Loon – a mad person • Eftsoons – at once • Kirk – church • Bassoon – a musical instrument. • Minstrelsy – singers and musicians • Tyrannous – cruel
- Prow – the front part of a ship • Pursued – chased • Foe – enemy • Emerald – a precious stone, which is clear and bright green. • Drifts – floating ice • Clifts – steep sides of the icebergs
- Sheen – a smooth and gentle brightness on the surface of something. • Ken-see
- Swound – a fainting fit • Helmsman – the person steering the ship. • Hello – call • Shroud – sail • Perched – sat on the edge of something • Vespers nine – a fixed time every day
- Plague– trouble • Crossbow – a very powerful bow and arrow, with a trigger. • Em –them
- Woe- great unhappiness and sorrow ♦ Averred – said firmly ♦ Uprist – rose up ♦ Slay – to kill
♦ Deep – ocean ♦ Reel and rout – types of dance ♦ Fathom – a measurement of depth.
An old grey-bearded Mariner with hypotonic, bright eyes stopped a wedding guest, who along with his two companions, was going to attend a wedding. The wedding guest said that he was a close relative of the bridegroom and that he had to go as the feast was ready. The ancient mariner held the young man by his arm, but he (the young man) objected to it angrily calling him an old madman. The old sailor held him by the power of his hypnotising eyes and the wedding guest had no choice, but to listen to him like a small child.
The ancient mariner narrated his story that when he was a sailor, their ship sailed Southwards on a bright sunny day. It reached the equator where the sun was directly overhead at noon. At this point, the wedding guest heard the loud music of the bassoon and was frustrated. He visualised that the bride must have entered the hall as beautiful as a rose and merry singing will be around to welcome the bride. The wedding guest stood helpless and annoyed as he had to listen to the mariner’s story.
The ancient mariner continued his story stating that a dreadful storm struck his ship, pushed it at high speed towards the South direction. The storm was like a hunter chasing its prey (the ship) following it closely. The ship was moving fast making a lot of noises as if it was followed by an enemy. The ship reached a place where there was a lot of mist and snow. It was extremely cold as both mist and snow surrounded the ship. The ice was flowing as high as the ship looking like as green as emerald. The snow cliffs created a very sad looking shine, as there was no life around. The ice cracked, growled, howled and roared as it moved heavily, holding the ship at one place.
The crew of the ship was disturbed with the cold weather, but it was a great relief for them when they were eventually greeted by the arrival of an albatross which came through the fog. It was welcomed by the sailors. As it flew around the ship for food and play, the ice cracked and split. A good South wind propelled the ship out of the icy region into the sea. The albatross followed the ship every day but at one point the ancient mariner in a fit of anger shot dead the innocent bird with his crossbow. He confessed this to the wedding guest.
Extract Based Questions and Answers
1. ‘It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and
grey glittering eye, How wherefore
stopp’st thou me?
(a) Whom does the Ancient Mariner stop?
Ans. The Ancient Mariner stopped one of the three wedding guests.
(b) Why does he stop the wedding guest?
Ans. The mariner is compelled to narrate his story and to admit the wrong he has done and he needs someone to listen to him.
(c) What are the chief features of the Mariner’s appearance? Why has the poet described hi in this way?
What was his appearance like? What effect did it cast on the beholder?
Ans. The chief features of the Mariner’s personality are his long grey beard glittering eye that holds the wedding guest mesmerised. The poet has him in this way to show his hypnotic power over the guest.
(d) What do you mean by ‘glittering eyes’?
Ans.- Shining eyes.
2. ‘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.’
(a) Why is the wedding guest restless?
What made the wedding guest restless?
Ans. The wedding guest is restless as he can hear th in the church and he is the bridegroom’s closes has him captive and is forcing him to listen to his story.
(b) Why was the wedding guest in a hurry to go?
Ans. The guests had gathered for the wedding He could hear the noise of the festivities.
(c) Who was stopping him from going?
Ans. The Ancient Mariner was stopping him from going.
(d) What does the speaker mean by ‘kin’ ?
Ans. (iii) He means the members of his family.
3, ‘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.’
(a) Who is ‘he’ in the first line? Whom does he hold?
Ans. The Ancient Mariner is being referred to, in the first line. He is holding the wedding guest.
(b) Why does the Ancient Mariner immediately start on the story?
Ans. The Ancient Mariner is guilty of having killed an innocent albatross. He wants to assuage his guilt by confessing the crime to someone. It is also a part of his penance.
(C)Explain: ‘unhand me
Ans. ‘Remove your hand; do not hold me.’ This is said by the Wedding Guest who is stopped by the Ancient Mariner.
(d) Who is referred as grey-beard loon? What do you mean by ‘grey beard loon’?
Ans. Ancient Mariner is referred as grey-beard loon. It means grey-beard mad man.
4. ‘He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will’
(a) How does the Ancient Mariner stop the Wedding Guest?
How did the mariner hold the guest now?
Ans. The compelling look in the eyes of the mariner held him.
(b) Why does the Wedding Guest not wish to listen to the Mariner’s story?
Ans. The Wedding Guest is going to a wedding and is getting late. He can hear the sound of the merrymaking and wants to be a part of the wedding festivities.
Ans. The Wedding Guest listens spellbound to the Mariner’s story. He is powerless to resist him.
(d) What effect did it have on the guest?
Ans.- He could not move as the look in the eyes of the mariner caused a hypnotic effect.
(e) Who hath his will and what do you mean by `hath his will’?
Ans. (iii) Ancient Mariner hath his will by forcing the wedding guest to hear his story. It means he got what he wanted.
5. ‘The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.’
(a) Where did the wedding-guest sit?
Ans.- He sat on a stone.
(b) What does the expression ‘bright-eyed’ signify?
Ans. The expression ‘bright-eyed’ signifies the glittering eye of the Mariner which held the Wedding Guest mesmerised and he was forced to listen to the story of the Mariner.
(c) What does the expression ‘sat on a stone’ signify?
Ans. ‘Sat on a stone’ shows that the Wedding Guest had no choice but to listen to the Mariner’s story.
(d) The Wedding Guest is not left with any choice but to listen to the Mariner because:
Ans. The look in the Mariner’s eye held him captive.
6. ‘The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.’
(a) What was the day like when they started their journey?
Ans. –The day was bright and cheerful, everything started smoothly.
(b) Explain: ‘drop:
Ans. It means they set sail with the ebbing tide.
(c) What sights did the sailors see as they started on their journey?
What were the things they passed by? How did they feel?
Ans. In a good mood, they started and passed by the church, the hill and the lighthouse.
(d) In which direction did they set sail? Give a reason for your answer.
Ans. They set sail southwards. The sun rose from the left.
(e) What is the meaning of ‘merrily’?
Ans.- Merrily means happily.
7. ‘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.’
(a) Why is the narrator compelled to narrate the story?
Ans.The Ancient Mariner is compelled to confess his sin to assuage his guilt and as a part of his penance.
(b) Who is listening to the story?
Ans. The Wedding Guest is listening to the story.
(c)Why was he prompted to beat his breast?
Ans. The wedding guest beat his breast because the wedding festivities had started but he was compelled to listen to the story of the Ancient Mariner.
(d) When the sun comes up upon the left which direction are we heading for?
Ans. We are going in the southern direction.
(e) What was the weather like?
Ans. – The weather was moderate and the days were passing in a normal manner.
(f) What do the lines in this stanza signify?
Ans. –The journey is going on smoothly without any untoward happening.
8. ‘Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—
‘ The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.’
(a) What rose higher and higher every day? Where were they when it was ‘over the mast at noon’?
What do the first two lines signify? What is meant by ‘higher and higher’?
Ans. With each passing day the sun was becoming hotter At noon, it was at its peak. They were at the equator.
(b) What is the wedding-guest doing? And why?
Ans.- The wedding guest is beating his breast for he has heard the sound of the bassoon, a musical instrument. He is feeling helpless because he is sitting and listening to the story of the mariner
(c) Why did the Wedding Guest ‘beat his breast’?
Ans. The Wedding Guest could hear the sound of merrymaking and could imagine the bride entering the hall signifying that the wedding was over.
(d) What is a bassoon?
Ans. A bassoon is a musical instrument that is played by blowing into a long wooden tube while pressing metal keys.
9. ‘The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy’
(a) What is happening at the wedding place?
Ans. The bride has come into the hall.
(b) Where is the Wedding Guest?
Ans. The Wedding Guest is sitting on a stone and listening to the Ancient Mariner’s story.
(c) Who are the minstrelsy? What are they doing?
What do you understand by merry minstrelsy? Why did they nod their head?
Ans. The happy band of musicians, playing their music are walking past the bride and are nodding their head in approval and appreciation of the beautiful bride.
(d) What did the loud music convey?
Ans. The loud music was played to announce the arrival of the bride inside the wedding-hall.
(e) How is the beauty of the bride described?
Ans. – She was as lovely and beautiful as a rose.
10. ‘The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.’
(a) Why has the poet repeated the line: ‘he cannot choose but hear?
Ans. The line is repeated to show the hypnotic power which the Mariner exerts over the Wedding Guest and how he has been forced to hear the story.
(b) How does the Mariner hold the Wedding Guest?
The Mariner holds him with the hypnotic power of his glittering eye.
(c) What is the mariner telling the Wedding Guest?
Ans.- The Mariner is telling him the story of the fateful voyage when he killed the albatross.
(d) What was the reaction of the wedding-guest?
Ans.- In utter helplessness, he started beating his breast.
(e) What do you mean by bright-eyed?
Ans. – Bright-eyed means shining eyed.
(f) What did the mariner do? Was he happy?
Ans. The mariner narrated his story. The bright look signifies he was happy because he had found a listener to his story.
11. ‘And now the storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.’
(a) What happened in the story of the mariner?
Ans. Suddenly there came a very strong and powerful storm.
(b) What is the meaning of tyrannous?
Ans. Severe and harsh.
(c) What did it do to the ship? Where was the ship taken?
Ans. It overpowered the ship completely and the helpless ship was chased southward. Here, the storm is personified as a huge bird with large wings.
(d) Who is ‘he’ in the above lines? How is he described?
Ans.– The storm is being referred to as ‘he’ in the above lines. The storm is described as being a large bird that is tyrannical and strong. The wind created by its large wings pushed the ship southwards.
(e) Why has he been called tyrannous’?
Ans.- The storm took control over the ship and pushed it in the southward direction.
(f) Point out the figure of speech in ‘o’ertaking wings:
Ans. – Personification is being used here. The storm has been personified as a powerful bird with large wings which takes total control of the ship.
(g) What kind of sea storm is it?
Ans. – Powerful and pitiless
12. ‘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,
The southward aye we fled.’
(a) How are the two, ‘ship’ and the ‘storm’ described here?
Ans. The poet has personified the ship as someone running away from the storm, which has been personified as the powerful enemy who is chasing the ship.
(b) What is the meaning of tread?
Ans. – It means to walk or to follow.
(c) What is the storm described as? What is the ship personified as?
Ans. – The storm is described as an enemy who is very powerful. The ship is personified as a man running away from his enemy who is pursuing him.
(d) Explain: ‘Still treads the shadow of his foe.’
Ans. – This line means to walk in the shadow of your enemy and not getting away from him. Here it refers to the ship being unable to get out of the storm.
(e) In which direction did the storm push them?
Ans. – The storm pushed them towards the South Pole.
13. ‘And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold;
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.’
(a) Describe the land of mist and snow.
What was the place like?
Ans. – The land was covered by mist and snow and was extremely cold. Large floated past the ship. There were snowy cliffs all around. The sailor’s cot; sign of men or beasts.
(b) How had the poet described the extent of cold in the place?
Ans. – There was ice as high as the mast, it came floating by in the atmosphere. The ice pieces shone and looked like green emeralds everywhere.
(c) What is the meaning of emerald?
Ans. – Green colour precious stone.
(d) Where were the mariners at this point?
Ans. – The mariners were at the South Pole.
14. ‘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’
(a) Explain: ‘the drifts:
Ans. – The ‘drifts’ refer to icebergs.
(b) Explain: ‘dismal sheen:
Ans. – The shine of the icebergs, though they were as bright as emeralds, the spread sadness in the hearts of the beholders because they had blocked th of escape.
(c) What did they see amidst all this? How did they welcome it?
Ans. – They saw an albatross. They welcomed it in God’s name as if it were a Christian soul. They played with it, offered it food and considered it a harbinger of hope’
15. 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 swound!’
(a) Where was the Mariners’ ship stuck?
Ans. – The mariner’s was stuck in the ice in the polar region.
(b) What figure of speech has been used in the first two lines? What effect does it create?
Ans. – Repetition is being used in the first two lines. It emphasises the fact that huge icebergs surrounded the ship and kept it from moving.
(c) What sort of a noise did the ice make? What figure of speech is used here?
Ans. – The ice made noises as if a person was having a fainting fit. The figures of s used here are onomatopoeia and personification.
(d) What do you mean by `swound’?
Ans.- `Swound’ means fainting fit.
16. ‘At length did cross an Albatross,
Through the fog it came,
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.’
(a) Why were the mariners relieved to see the albatross?
Ans. – The mariners were relieved to see the albatross because they the ice for many days and had not seen any living being. But at the albatross the ice split and a good wind sprang up behind finally leave the polar region.
(b) Point out the figure of speech in the above lines.
Ans. – Simile is being used in the line—’As if it had been a Christian s
17. ‘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!’
(a) Why had the albatross not eaten the food it was now given before?
Ans. –The albatross was used to eating fish from the sea. It had never eaten the cooked food that the mariners gave it.
(b) How did the weather change with its arrival?
Ans. –The ice cracked and the navigator could steer the ship away from the land of ice and snow.
(c) What did the albatross do with the sailors?
Ans. –The albatross came whenever the sailors called it and flew round the ship playing with the mariners. It also accepted the food they offered it.
(d) What was offered to the bird?
Ans. The sailors offered the bird food that it had never eaten before.
(e) How did the bird reciprocate?
Ans. –It flew round and round the ship. Due to the bird’s wings, the ice cracked, making way for the ship to move ahead.
(f) What do you mean by ‘thunder-fit’?
Ans. – ‘Thunder-fit’ means like a thundering sound.
18. ‘And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariners’ hollo’!’
(a) In which direction did the south wind take the mariners?
In which direction is the ship moving now?
Ans. –The wind took them towards the north.
(b) What was the attitude of the sailors towards the bird?
Ans. –The sailors were fond of the bird. They fed it and played with it. They considered it a bird of good omen.
(c) Explain: ‘HoIIo’
Ans. – ‘Hollo’ implies a call out to someone.
(d) What did the Albatross do?
Ans. –It followed the ship.
19. ‘In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white Moon-shine.’
(a) For how many days did the albatross accompany the sailors?
Ans. -The albatross accompanied them for nine days.
(b) Where did the albatross sit?
The albatross sat on the mast and on the sails of the ship.
(c) Explain: ‘Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white, / Glimmered the white Moon-shine.’
Ans. – At night the ship was surrounded by a thick fog and the moon shone intermittently and faintly through the fog.
(d) What became a routine? Where did the bird sit?
Ans. – Irrespective of the weather, the bird would come and sit either on the mast or the sails.
(e) ‘It perched for vespers nine’ — Explain.
Ans. – It became a regular visitor and would come exactly at nine o’clock when service in the church started.
(f) What did the bird do then?
Ans. – It would remain there throughout the foggy night and outside, the moon shone faintly.
20. ‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus! —
Why look’st thou so?’—With my cross-bow
I shot the Albartross’
(a) Who speaks the first three lines?
Ans. –The Wedding Guest speaks the first three lines.
(b) Why does the Wedding Guest interrupt the Mariner?
Ans. –The Wedding Guest sees an expression of horror and anguish on the face of the Mariner. He is frightened by the look and wants to know why the Mariner has that look on his face.
(c) What has the Mariner done?
Ans. –The Mariner had shot the albatross with his crossbow.
(d) What do you mean by ‘fiends’?
Ans. – ‘Fiends’ means devils or evil spirits.
Short Answers Type Questions
1. How did the Ancient Mariner stop the Wedding Guest?
Ans. –The Ancient Mariner first held him with his skinny hand but once the Wedding Guest told him to ‘unhand’ him, he held him mesmerised with his ‘glittering eye’.
2. Was the Wedding Guest happy to be stopped? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. –The Wedding Guest was not happy to be stopped. He was next of kin of the bridegroom and wanted to attend the wedding.
3. Describe the Ancient Mariner.
Ans. –The Ancient Mariner was old and thin. His beard was grey. His eyes were shining and could mesmerise a person.
4. How does the Mariner describe the movement of the ship as it sails away from the land?
Ans. – The Mariner says that one clear and bright day, they set sail. The ship left the harbour and sailed past the church, the hill and the lighthouse.
5. What kind of weather did the sailors enjoy at the beginning of their journey? How has it been expressed in the poem?
Ans. – The Mariner says that at first, they sailed South out into a sunny and cheerful sea which means that the weather was good. As they sailed South towards the Equator, the sun was directly overhead.
6. How did the sailors reach the land of mist and snow?
Ans. – When the mariners were several days out at sea, however, a terrible storm arose and the vessel was driven by the wind in a constant southerly direction, headed toward the South Pole.
7. How does the Mariner express the fact that the ship was completely surrounded by icebergs?
Ans. – ‘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 swound!’
8. How do we know that the albatross was not afraid of the humans? Why did the sailors hail it in God’s name?
Ans. – It was with great relief that the crew eventually greeted the sight of an albatross, a huge seabird, flying through the fog toward them. The bird soon became a familiar sight and came to the sailors call. The sailors revered it as a sign of good luck, as though it were a ‘Christian soul’ sent by God to save them.
9. What was the terrible deed done by the Mariner? Why do you think he did it?
Ans. – The Ancient Mariner shot the albatross with his crossbow. The Ancient Mariner killed the albatross for no reason.
10. Why does the Ancient Mariner stop and tell his tale to the wedding guest?
Ans. He wants to relieve himself of his grief.
11. What kind of welcome did the albatross receive? Why?
Ans. –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 was a good omen, as the ice split soon after its arrival.
12. What was the terrible deed done by the old Mariner? Why was it terrible?
Ans. Killing of the albatross was the terrible deed; because it was an auspicious and innocent bird, who had brought a favourable south wind for the mariners.
13. Why did the Ancient Mariner stop the particular wedding-guest to listen to his tale?
Ans. – This particular wedding-guest must have been looking at the Mariner and the mariner who was looking for someone to listen to his story got the right person. Others probably did not pay any attention to him.
14. Why did he have to tell his tale to someone?
Ans. – He had been carrying the burden of his guilt for a very long time, or maybe he was feeling he might leave this world and did not want to carry this burden into the other world within his heart. So, there was this need to tell his story to someone so that he could make his exit with a light heart.
Long/ detailed answers type questions/ Value Based Question
1. Describe the Ancient Mariner.
Give a character of the ancient mariner in the poem the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Ans. – The mariner is old, thin with skinny hands, grey beard and glittering eyes. With the power of his eyes, he could hold the wedding guests mesmerised. The Wedding Guest could hear the noise of the wedding festivities and is the bridegroom’s closest relative. The Ancient Mariner has him captivated and is telling him the story.
2. What is the relationship between the guest and the Mariner in the beginning?
Ans. – The Mariner stops one of the wedding guests and wants to tell him his story. He confesses to the sin of killing the albatross. The guest is impatient and can hear the noise of the wedding festivities and is the bridegroom’s closest relative. But Ancient Mariner has him captivated with the power of his glittering eyes. The guest resents this and exults – ‘Hold off ! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’ He is transfixed by the Ancient Mariner’s ‘glittering eye’ and can do nothing but sit on a stone and listen to his strange tale.
3. How does the Mariner stop ‘one of three’?
Ans. – The mariner sees three guests going to a wedding and stops one. He holds one of them with his hand. The wedding guest resents this intrusion but he is transfixed by the Ancient Mariner’s ‘glittering eye’ and powerless to resist, he sits on a stone like a three year child, and listens to the story and gets involved with story. He asks the mariner this question—’God save thee, ancient Mariner! … Why look’st thou so?’
4. Why do the mariners hail the bird as a ‘Christian soul’?
Ans. – The crew on the ship is alone at sea surrounded by a land of mist, by drifts and snowy cliffs and can see neither beasts nor men. Ice is all around them. Suddenly the albatross appears and they see the first sign of life in a desolate area. It is a friendly bird and comes to eat and play with them.
5. How does the bird relate to the mariners?
Ans. – The friendly bird comes to eat and play with the crew on the ship and responds to the mariners hollo’. It flies around and travels with them for nine days and sits on mast and sails of the ship.
6. Why does the Mariner shoot the albatross?
Ans. – The friendly bird comes to eat and play with the crew but the takes a crossbow and shoots it. The mariner was devoid of moral values and he thought that if we keep offering food to this bird our own food will be ended. With these feelings he shot the bird. Maybe he was weary of its hovering presence and had nothing to do.
7. Why do the mariners change their minds about the value of the bird?
Ans. – The albatross represents goodness and acts as a saviour to the ship’s crew as it brings a south wind which guides the ship out of the Polar regions. The crew are initially outraged at the death of the bird of good omen. But after its death the fog and mist dissipate and the crew deem the act as the right thing to do—’such birds to slay That bring the fog and mist.’ The shipmates are glad at the disappearance of the fog and mist, thinking the bird brought the dense fog and mist.
8. What does the Mariners’ not being able to speak signify?
Ans. – The ancient mariner kills the bird for no reason and the crew on the ship are initially outraged at the death of the bird of good omen. But once fog dissipates, they say that it was the right thing to do —’such birds to slay that bring the fog and mist’. Instead of condemning the act, they praise it. The mariner was unable to speak as he was full of despair.
9. What happens when the Albatross comes to the ship?
Ans. –The Storm-Blast follows the ship and takes it to the extreme south. The sea gets mist and snow and is stuck. It is mast-high ice all around. It cracks, growls, roars and howls. The dim brightness of the ice gives out a dismal brightness. Then an Albatross comes to the ship. The bird comes daily to the mariners for food and play. Very soon, the south wind blows. The weather changes and the ice splits giving way to the ship to sail ahead.
EXPLANATION OF SOME IMPORTANT LINES
Line by line explanation for the Rime of the Ancient Mariner-
1. It is an ancient mariner,
And he stopped. one of three.
‘By the long grey beard and glittering eye.
How wherefore stopo’st thou me?
The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’s: hear the merry din.’ (Lines 1-8)
Explanation– An ancient mariner stopped one of the three guests, who were going for a wedding. The guest was attracted by the long beard and glittering eyes of the mariner. However, he does not like being stopped and asked the Mariner why he was holding on to him. The wedding guest was in a hurry since the doors of the bridegroom’s house were open and the sound of merry-making and the festivities could be heard.
2. He holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a ship,’ quash he. ‘Hold
Off! unhand me, grey-heard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand drops he.
He holds him with his glittering eye-
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years child
The Mariner hash his will (lines 9-16)
Explanation –The mariner held the wedding guest with his skinny hand and started relating his story abruptly. “There was a ship.” The wedding guest is reluctant to stay but he is mesmerised by the gaze of the mariner and listens to his story like a three-year-old child.
3. The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear:
And thus spoke on that ancient man.
The bright-eyed Mariner.
The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill
Below the lighthouse top. (Lines 17-24)
Explanation– The wedding guest sat down on the stone. The bright-eyed mariner started telling his story. When the mariner’s ship had to set sail, they were given a warm farewell and the ship started sailing, leaving behind the church, the lighthouse etc.
4. The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Wend down into the sea
Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon –
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast
, For he heard the loud bassoon (Lines 25-32)
Explanation – The ship was sailing towards the south, so the sun appeared to be rising from the sea. It shone brightly and sank the same way. Everyday the sun rose higher and higher, up to the height of the mast. At this point the mariner’s story is interrupted, since the loud music from the bridegroom’s house distracts the wedding-guest and he starts getting restless to leave.
5. The bride hash paced into the hall.
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.
The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast.
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spoke on that ancient man.
The bright-eyed Mariner. (Lines 33-40)
Explanation The loud music is the indication of the arrival of the bride. She enters looking beautiful like a rose, and is followed by a band of musicians. The wedding-guest does not like missing all these festivities but the mariner succeeds in detaining him.
6. And now the STORM-BLAST came and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his ornertaking-wings.
And chased us south along.
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 (Lines 41-50)
Explanation The mariner continues telling his story. A very fierce storm lashes the ship with force and drove the ship towards the south. The masts of the ship were bent and its prow dipped into the sea. The ship looked like a person with his head bent, who is escaping the enemy.
7. And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by
As green as emerald.
And through the drifts the snowy cliffs
Did send a dismal sheen;
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken
The ice was all between
The ice was here, the ice was there, (Lines 51.58)
Explanation – Now the ship reached the region of mists and ice. It was intensely cold and icebergs and snow-capped cliffs could be seen. This place was totally deserted and only snow could be seen all around.
8. It cracked and growled, and roared and howled
Like noises in a swound!
At length did cross an Albatross.
Through the fog it came,
As if it had been a ‘Christian soul’
We hailed it in God’s name
It ate the food it ne’er had eat.
And round and round it flew (Lines 59-66)
Explanation – The mariner and other shipmates were only surrounded by ice on all sides, which made funny sounds like that of growling, cracking and howling. At last an albatross appeared through the fog. The entire crew welcomes it, as if it were a Christian soul.
9. The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us though!
And a good south wind sprung up behind:
The Albatross did follow.
And every day, for food or play;
Came to the mariners’ hollo!
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud. (Lines 67-74)
Explanation The albatross ate the food the sailors gave and hovered around the ship. They were lucky because south wind started blowing which was favourable to them. The albatross followed the ship and would appear, when food was offered to him.
10. It perched for Vespers Nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white.
Glimmered the white Moon-shine.
‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!
Why look’st thou so?’ – With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.
Explanation – The albatross would sit on the mast sails. The mariner and other sailors continued sailing for nine more days. At this juncture. the mariner looked fearful and guilty. The wedding-guest prayed that God have mercy on him but the mariner unravelled the mystery, saying, “I shot the albatross with my cross-bow.”
Explanation of Some Important Expressions
1. Long grey heard and glittering eye (lines 3-4)
Explanation– These physical features of the ancient mariner are very striking and charismatic and have a great effect on the wedding-guest. He is mesmerised by the appearance and the manner of the mariner and becomes subdued. The long beard of the mariner suggests subtly that he has become a spokesman for nature.
2- grey-beard loon (line 11)
Explanation– Coleridge’s use of archaic words makes the poem look timeless. These words are a part of old-fashioned vocabulary.
3 . For he heard the loud bassoon (line 32)
Explanation– The musical instruments suggest the festivities in the bridegroom’s house. but the wedding-guest is still under the spell of the mariner. There is a deliberate contrast between the bright lights of the wedding ceremony and the dark tale of the mariner.
4- And now the storm-blast came and he
Was tyrannous and strong (lines 41-42)
Explanation– The storm-blast is personified as a person, who is very cruel but strong and the entire ship is tossed here and there because of the fury of the storm-blast. The storm-Mast has great devastating power and it pushes the ship to the south.
5. And ice, mast-high, came floating by
As green as emerald (lines 53-54)
Explanation– The ship has reached the region of snows and mist and icebergs as high as masts can be seen. The green colour of the sea can be seen reflected by the icebergs. These kind of scenes add to the beauty and pictorial quality of the poem.
6. It cracked and growled, and roared and howled (line 58)
Explanation– The above words all are associated with sounds and they add to the musicality of the poem. These words indicate the breaking, sliding and falling of huge chunks of ice.
7. As if it had been a ‘Christian soul’
We hailed it in God’s name (line 64)
Explanation– The albatross is seen as a symbol of God’s favour, a blessing in disguise. The coming of the albatross lifts the spirits of the crew and his coming ‘out of fog’ signifies ‘hope from despair.’
8. With my cross-bow I shot the albatross (line 80)
Explanation– The killing of the innocent creature of God is a sin and this act of the mariner signifies that he has lost connection with God and all good things.
Some Detailed Important Questions-
1. Discuss the significance of the title of the poem `The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’
Ans. ‘Rime’ means Rhyme, a poem or a song. ‘Ancient’ means old, strange pertaining to some far-off times. The poem has some references to outdated beliefs and practices. It is surely not only the mariner who is ancient, but even his rhyme is. Reading the poem at a stretch, one cannot guess the time-frame it belongs to. Coleridge has deliberately used some archaic words to make it appear ancient. The poem contains the story of the mariner’s sin, punishment and its redemption. The entire poem deals with the tale of the ancient mariner and all the actions, description relate to the ancient mariner’s tale. So the title is very suitable, direct and suggestive.
2. Under which circumstances is the wedding-guest detained and held by the ancient mariner. What is the reaction of the wedding guest?
Ans. The ancient mariner is tortured and is emotionally wrecked. The burden of the sin and the guilt of killing the albatross is too heavy for the ancient mariner to carry. He has no rest or peace of mind. He is advised by a hermit to tell this story to someone. so that the torment he is suffering, the ache he is feeling, is satisfied. The mariner goes from village to village but no one is ready to listen to his story. Narrating the story soothes him, lifts the burden off his soul and restores him to normalcy. The wedding guest is awed and mesmerised by the mariner but he is angry at having missed the wedding festivities. However, he learns a valuable lesson. “He prayeth best, who loveth best.-
3. What kind of farewell was given to the ship of the ancient mariner? Give an account of the ship’s journey before it reaches the land of snow.
Ans. The journey of the ancient mariner begins in favourable circumstances. The ship was accorded a very cheerful send-off, it crossed the harbour very quickly and entered the main seawaters. The ship sailed away from the coast, the church, the hill and the lighthouse. The sun shone bright and the ship appeared to be near the equator. But suddenly a violent seastorm engulfed the ship and the ship tossed on the merciless sea waves. The ship was forcibly driven towards the South Pole. The ship was bent with the force of the wind and it was unable to escape the fury of the gale. The South Pole was full of mist, snow and icebergs as high as the mast of the ship were floating here and there on the sea.
4. “When the albatross arrived on the ship, the mariners experienced a sense of joy and were infused with new hope.” Comment.
Ans. – 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. South wind started blowing, weather improved, felt comfortable and hopeful. They were aware of the blessings the albatross had brought and compared the bird to Jesus who had brought joy and infused the people with new hope. The bird provided them company and they fed and played with it. The bird proved very lucky, kind and gentle to them and they hailed it as a ‘Christian Soul’!