Class 10 English The Rime Poetry Of The Ancient Mariner Summary and Important Questions

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Summary

Coleridge introduces his story by describing an old grey-bearded sailor who approaches three young men headed for a wedding celebration and compels one of them, the groom's next-of-kin, to hear his story. At first the intrusion is resented by the wedding guest, but the young man is transfixed by the Ancient Mariner's 'glittering eye' and can do nothing but sit on a stone and listen to his strange tale. The story is remarkable indeed, and the listener soon falls captive to the suspense building up, responding at first with fear and then with horror as the tale unfolds.
There was a little apprehension among the ship's crew as they sailed clear of the harbours, bound for the open sea. At this point, hearing the music of the bassoon drifting towards him from the direction of the wedding, the wedding guest imagines that the bride has entered the hall, but he is still helpless to tear himself away from the Mariner's story.
Several days out at sea, however, a storm arose and the vessel was driven before the wind in a constant southerly direction, headed toward the South Pole. As it entered the 'land of ice, and of fearful sounds, where no living thing was to be seen,' a feeling of foreboding came over the helpless crew; and so 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 Ancient Mariner tells his listener, 'As if it had been a Christian soul. We hailed it in God's name.' As it flew around the ship, the ice cracked and split, and a wind from the south propelled the ship out of the frigid regions, into a foggy stretch of water. The albatross followed behind it. Everyone took this bird as a good omen, and the bird followed the ship faithfully as it returned northward. At this point a pained look crosses the Mariner'S face, and the wedding guest asks him, 'Why look'st thou so?' The Mariner confesses that he had shot and killed the albatross with his crossbow and brought a curse down upon them all.
The south wind continued to propel them northward, but somehow the old sailor realized he had done 'a hellish thing'; retribution would soon follow, in the form of loneliness and spiritual anguish. The crew at first berated their mate for killing the bird that had brought the change in the breeze. But as the ship made its way out of the fog and mist and continued on, they decided it must be the bird that had brought the mist. Perhaps their shipmate had rightfully killed it after all. The vessel sailed on northward until it reached the equator, where the breeze ceased and the craft became becalmed. The wind pushed the ship into the silent sea where the sailors were stranded; the winds died down, and the ship was 'As idle as a painted ship/Upon a painted ocean.' The men had no water to drink; it looked as if the sea was rotting and slimy creatures crawled out of it and walked across the surface.
The water looked green, blue, and white and creatures giving out light jumped in and out of water,around the ship, creating an eerie atmosphere.
 
Q.1 Answer the following by choosing the right option from those given below :

(a) The Ancient Mariner stopped one of the three wedding guests because.............
(i) he wanted to attend the wedding with him
(ii) he wanted him to sit with him
(iii) he wanted him to listen to his story
(iv) he wanted to stop him from going to the wedding
 
(b) The wedding guest remarked that he was 'next of kin' which means that...........
(i) he was a close relation of the bridegroom
(ii) he was a close relation of the bridge
(iii) he was next in line to get married
(iv) he had to stand next to the bridegroom during the wedding
 
(c) 'He cannot choose but hear' means.....................
(i) the mariner was forced to hear the story of the wedding guest
(ii) the wedding guest was forced to hear the story of the mariner
(iii) the mariner had the choice of not listening to the story of the mariner
(iv) the wedding guest had the choice of not listening to the story of the mariner
 
(d) 'The sun came up upon the left,/Out of the sea came he; 'This line tells us that the ship......
(i) was moving in the northern direction
(ii) was moving eastwards
(iii) was moving in the western direction
(iv) was moving towards the south
 
(e) The Wedding Guest beat his breast because.................
(i) he could hear the sound of the bassoon
(ii) he was forced to listen to the Mariner's tale when he wanted to attend the wedding
(iii) the sound of the bassoon meant that the bride had arrived and the wedding ceremony was about to begin and he could not attend it.
(iv) the sound of the bassoon announced the arrival of the bride and the start of the wedding ceremony
 
(f) The storm blast has been described as being tyrannous because...............
(i) it was so fierce that it frightened the sailors
(ii) it took complete control of the ship
(iii) the storm was very powerful
(iv) the sailors were at its mercy
 
(g) The sailors felt depressed on reaching the land of mist and snow because.........
(i) there was no sign of any living creature
(ii) they felt they would die in that cold weather
(iii) they were surrounded by icebergs and there seemed to be no sign of life
(iv) everything was grey in colour and they felt very cold
 
(h) The sailors were happy to see the albatross because................
(i) it was the first sign of life and therefore gave them hope that they might survive
(ii) it split the icebergs around the ship and helped the ship move forward
(iii) it was a messenger from God and it lifted the fog and mist.
(iv) it gave them hope of survival by splitting the icebergs.
 
(i) The two things that happened after the arrival of the albatross were...........
(i) the icebergs split and the albatross became friendly with the sailors
(ii) the icebergs split and a strong breeze started blowing
(iii) the ship was pushed out of the land of mist and the ice melted
(iv) the albatross started playing with the mariners and ate the food they offered.
 
(j) 'It perched for vespers nine' means..................
(i) the ship stopped sailing at nine o' clock every day
(ii) the albatross would appear at a fixed time everyday.
(iii) the albatross would sit on the sail or the mast everyday
(iv) the albatross was a holy creature
 
(k) 'God save thee, ancient Mariner,/From the fiends that plague thee thus! Why look's thou so?' means...........
(i) the mariner wanted to know why the wedding guest was looking so tormented
(ii) the wedding guest wanted to know why the mariner was looking so tormented
(iii) the weddings guest wanted to know whether some creatures were troubling the ancient mariner
(iv) the ancient mariner wanted to know whether something was troubling the wedding guest
Ans. (a) iii, (b) i, (c) ii, (d) i, (e) ii, (f) ii, (g) iii, (h) iii, (i) ii, (j) ii, (k) ii
 
Q.2 Answer the following questions briefly.

(a) How did the ancient mariner stop the wedding guest?
Ans. The ancient mariner stopped the wedding guest by holding him with his skinny hand.
 
(b) Was the wedding guest happy to be stopped? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. The guest was not happy to be stopped because he told the mariner that the festivities had begun and being a close relative he wanted to join the festivities.
 
(c) Describe the ancient mariner.
Ans. The ancient mariner was a skinny old man with long grey beard and glittering eyes.
 
(d) How does the mariner describe the movement of the ship as it sails away from the land?
Ans. The mariner describe the movement of the ship as it sails away from the land as - it was cheered, the harbor cleared and they joyfully passed by the church, hill and lighthouse.
 
(e) What kind of weather did the sailors enjoy at the beginning of their journey? How has it been expressed in the poem?
Ans. In the beginning of their journey the weather was clear, bright and sunny. It has it been expressed in the poem in the following way:
(i) the harbour cleared
(ii) 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.
(iii) Higher and higher every day,
      Till over the mast at noon.
 
(f) How did the sailors reach the land of mist and snow?
Ans. The strong winds of sea-storm forced the sailors to flee southwards where the sailors reached the land of mist and snow.
 
(g) How does the mariner express the fact that the ship was completely surrounded by icebergs?
Ans. The mariner expresses the fact that the ship was completely surrounded by icebergs by these lines :
(i) And ice, mast-high, came floating by, As green as emerald
(ii) And through the drifts the snowy clifts
(iii) The ice was all between.
(iv) The ice was here, the ice was there, The ice was all around.
 
(h) How do we know that the albatross was not afraid of the humans? Why did the sailors hail it in God's name?
Ans. We know that the albatross was not afraid of the humans as it came everyday and ate the food mariners offered and played with them. The sailors hailed it in God's name because when the Albatross came ice began to break apart, the wind picked up again allowing the captain to steer out of the freezing world.
 
(i) What was the terrible deed done by the Mariner? Why do you think he did it?
Ans. The terrible deed done by the Mariner was that he killed the albatross with his bow and arrow. I think he must have done it instinctively without much thinking.
 
 
Q.3 Answer the following questions briefly.

(a) In which direction did the ship start moving? How can you say?
Ans. The ship started moving in the northward direction. We can say this after reading the lines
- "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.
 
(b) Why does the mariner say that 'no sweet bird did follow'?
Ans. The mariner says that 'no sweet bird did follows' because he had already killed the sweet bird which had followed the ship.
 
(c) 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?
Ans. At first the other mariners disapproved of the ancient mariner killing the Albatross as they believed it had saved them from the icy world by bringing in wind. They changed their mind thrice for the ancient mariner. The second time they thought Albatross must have brought the mist and praised the mariner for killing the bird and riding them of mist. The third time again they blamed the mariner for all their hardships and ill fate which they believed resulted from his killing the bird. The character of the mariners was fickle, weak and indecisive.
 
(d) 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?
Ans. After the ship had moved out of the land of mist and snow the sailing conditions changed. At first the sun shone brightly and the ship sailed along merrily. Then the ship reached a part of the ocean where wind disappeared and the ship got stuck. The sailing conditions became unfavorable and the ship could not move. The sun became unbearably hot and the mariners ran out of drinking water. The mariners blamed the ancient mariner for this condition as they believed his killing the Albatross had brought this change and curse upon them.
 
(e) What is indicated by the line 'The bloody sun, at noon,/Right up above the mast did stand,/No bigger than the moon?
Ans. These lines indicate that the red-blood sun stood right up above the head in the hot and copper-like sky. It looked no bigger than the moon.
 
(f) How does the mariner describe the fact that they were completely motionless in the middle of the sea?
Ans. The mariner describes the fact that they were completely motionless in the middle of the sea by the lines: Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
 
(g) What is the irony in the ninth stanza? Explain it in your own word.
Ans. The irony in the ninth stanza is that they were surrounded by water on all sides yet they were thirsty and that water was undrinkable; they did not have a drop of water to drink.
 
(h) What is the narrator trying to convey through the description of the situation in the tenth and eleventh stanza?
Ans. In the tenth and eleventh stanza the narrator trying to convey that the ocean had become a scary place through the description of the situation. As slimy creatures were seen in the ocean water and eerie fires seemed to burn on the ocean surface.
 
(i) What or who did the mariners feel was responsible for their suffering?
Ans. The mariner's felt that killings of Albatross was responsible for all their suffering and since the ancient mariner had killed the bird, it was he who was to blame for the situation.
 
(j) Describe the condition of the mariners as expressed in the thirteenth stanza.
Ans. The condition of the mariners as expressed in the thirteenth stanza is that they were so thirsty that their tongues seemed to have withered with drought. They were unable to speak as if their voice had been choked with soot.
 
(k) Why did the mariners hang the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner?
Ans. The mariners hung the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner to punish him for his crime and to remind him constantly of his sin. They wanted him to feel the guilt and they placed the blame on him as a constant reminder.
 
Reference to the Context Type Questions

Read the extracts below and answer the questions that follow. Write the answers in one or two lines only.

Q.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. He 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 him in this way?
Ans. The chief features of the Mariner's personality are his long grey beard and his glittering eye that holds the wedding guest mesmerised. The poet has described him in this way to show his hypnotic power over the guest.
 
Q.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?
Ans. He can hear the noise of the wedding festivities in the church and he is the bridegroom's closest relative. But the Ancient Mariner has him captive and is forcing him to listen to his story .
 
(b) Why was he in a hurry to go?
Ans. The guests had gathered for the wedding and the feast had already been laid out. He could hear the noise of the festivities.
 
(c) Who was stopping him from going?
Ans. The Ancient Mariner was stopping him from going.
 
Q.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 the "he" in the first line? Whom does he hold?
Ans. The Ancient Mariner. He holds 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.
 
Q.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?
Ans. He holds him spellbound with the intensity of his hypnotic eyes.
 
(b) Why does the Wedding Guest not wish to listen to the Mariner's story?
Ans. He 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 weddlng festLvitles.
 
(c) What is the significance of 'listens like a three years' child'?
Ans. The Wedding Guest listens spellbou.nd to the Mariner's story. He is powerless to resist him.
 
Q.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) What does the expression 'bright-eyed' signify?
Ans. The expression 'bright-eyed' signifies the glittering eye of the Mariner which held the Wedding Guest mesmerized and he was forced to listen to the story of the Mariner.
 
(b) What does the expression 'sat on a stone' signify?
Ans. 'Sat on a stone' shows that the Wedding Guest was totally mesmerized by the Ancient Mariner and he had no choice but to listen to the Marlner's story despite the fact that he could hear that the wedding festivities had begun.
 
(c) 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.
 
Q.6 'The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.
 
(a) Explain: 'drop'.
Ans. They set sail with the ebbing tide.
 
(b) What sights did the sailors see as they started on their journey?
Ans. They saw the church, the hill, and the lighthouse.
 
(c) In which direction did they set sail? Give a reason for your answer.
Ans. Southwards. The sun rose from the left.
 
 
 
 

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