English Notes (Class 10)

CBSE Class 10 English Poetry 6 The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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CBSE Class 10 English Poetry 6 The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Summary

A group of wedding guests was on its way to a wedding feast when one of them was stopped by an old sailor. He was eager to tell him his story. The sailor insisted upon it and the guest was forced to stay back and listen to his story.

The mariner began his story that how their ship sailed from the harbor on a happy note. They had a smooth journey for a short period of time after which a storm drove their ship southwards towards snow and mist. The ship got stuck in the lifeless region with huge masses of ice surrounding it. The ice made thunderous sounds as it cracked.
At this point in time, an Albatross came flying through the mist. It was treated to be a noble soul, a holy messenger of God. With its arrival, the snow cracked and gave way to the ship which once again started sailing.
The holy bird accompanied the ship and was fed by the crew. A favorable south wind blew which drove the ship out of the cursed land of snow and mist. The sailors thanked the bird as it was a good omen for them.
The wedding guest noticed that the sailor’s face suddenly turned sad. The sailor answered his curiosity that in a spur of the moment, with his crossbow, he had shot the bird dead.
His fellow sails men blamed and cursed him for killing the holy bird but later they felt that he was right in killing the bird which had brought the fog and mist.
For some time, the ship kept on sailing smoothly towards the north. Suddenly, the wind stopped blowing and the ship came to a standstill.
Gradually, their stock of drinking water finished and although there was water all around them, they did not have a single drop to drink. The sea was so quiet that it seemed to rot, and ugly creatures moved on its surface. They felt that the bird’s soul had followed them to take revenge. Their mouths were so dry that they were unable to speak. All the crew stared at the mariner with hatred. They removed the cross which he wore around his neck and hung the dead Albatross in its place to signify his sin and guilt.

 

The poem is based on the theme of sin and redemption. After the ancient mariner commits a sin by killing the albatross, guilt hounds him in the form of strange natural and supernatural phenomena. During one terrifying experience, he has a change of heart and repents his wrongdoing. He carries out a penance, which is to travel the world to tell his tale to strangers.

 

 

Important Questions

Q. How did the Mariners enjoy the arrival of the albatross?

A. The Mariners enjoyed the arrival of albatross because its arrival was marked by the beginning of good south wind which helped them by cracking of the icebergs and making a way out for them from the land of ice. It helped their ship move on the right path.


Q. What were the blessings the albatross brought with it?

A. The albatross was considered as a bird of good omen and aa a spirit of Christ which had come to help them. When the albatross appeared, the ship was surrounded by massive icebergs but soon the good South Wind blew, the ice cracked and they were able to move out.


Q. Give two examples of the use of the supernatural in ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

A.  1. The arrival of Albatross as a bird of good omen or a Christian soul.
      2. The polar spirit had all along followed the ship.
      3. The different colors of light emitted by the sea.


Q. Why did the Mariners hang the dead albatross around the Ancient Mariner’s neck?

A. The Mariner hanged the dead albatross around the Ancient Mariner’s neck as a symbol of his guilt.  They wanted him to constantly remember the sin he had committed and repent for his evil deeds.

Q. Why were the Mariners angry with the Ancient Mariner?

A.  The Mariners were angry with the Ancient Mariner because he had killed the bird of good omen. He had killed the bird whom the Mariner’s hailed in the name of Christ. The bird had helped them steer clear out of the land of ice and snow.

Q. Why did the wedding guest beat his breast?

A. The wedding guest was a very close relative of the bridegroom. He had an extreme desire to attend the wedding ceremony. Being a close relative he knew that his presence was indispensable. But the ancient Mariner compelled him to listen to his story. The wedding guest was unable to free himself from the magical effect of the ancient mariner. So, his helplessness made him beat his breast.

Q. How did the Mariners reach the land of ice and snow?

A. The Mariners were going towards the South. All of a sudden, there came a storm. It was very powerful and tyrannous. It took the ship for away in the sea. The mariner began to cry out of fear that their ship was about to sink in the sea. Then the temperature went down. It was a wonderous cold and seawater began to freeze. The ship was surrounded by icebergs from all sides and the Mariners found themselves in the land of ice and snow.

Q. How were the Mariners saved from the land of ice and snow?

A. When the seawater starting to freeze and the ship was surrounded by icebergs from all sides, the Mariners lost their hope of survival. They thought that they would die of starvation and thirst after consuming their limited food and water. All of a sudden, there came an albatross piercing the fog and the mist. Its arrival proved auspicious and ice began to melt. Their crewmen started steering the ship and the Mariners were saved.

Q. Why was the Mariner angry with the Ancient Mariner considered as a ‘Christian Soul’?

A. After the storm, there was a drastic change in the condition of the weather and the sea water froze. The ship was surrounded by icebergs from all sides. The life of the mariners was at stake. They had no hope of survival. Piercing the fog and smoke, an albatross came there. They thought that it was a Christian soul that had come to save them. A true Christian soul is supposed to help the needy. The arrival of the albatross proved auspicious and ice began to melt.

Q. How did the albatross prove to be a good omen for the Mariners?

A. After the storm, the temperature came down suddenly and the sea water began to freeze. The ship was unable to move and the Mariners were scared that they would die of thirst and starvation. All of a sudden there appeared an albatross piercing the fog. Then the temperature went up and ice began to melt. The crew member began to steer the ship. The voyage was resumed and the albatross began to follow the ship.

Q. What traits of the ancient mariner’s character are revealed in the poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”?

A. The protagonist of the poem is feeble, frail and skinny owing to his old age. He is neither considerate nor positive in his attitude. Being cruel and short-tempered he kills an innocent bird without any provocation. Being selfish, he compels others to listen to his story so that he can get sin reduced by making a confession. He has learned magic for getting his work done according to his own wish and desire.

Q. What were the miseries the Mariners had to face after the death of the albatross?

A. After the death of the albatross, the wind came to a stop. The sail of the ship of the Mariners dropped and the ship was unable to move. The real ship appeared to be just like a painted ship in the painted in the ocean. They were about to meet with their death owing to thirst and starvation. The sea water began to change its color. Death fire began to dance at night at night. Their tongues became dry. There was no end to their sad plights and predicament.

Q. How did the Mariners escape from the South Pole?

A. When the ship of the mariners was unable to move owing to the ice, there came an albatross piercing the fog and the mist. The arrival of the albatross proved so auspicious that ice began to melt. The Mariners began to steer their ship and escape from the polar region.

Q. Why couldn’t the wedding guest attend the wedding?

A. The wedding guest was captured by the Ancient Mariner all of a sudden. First, the mariner held the wedding guest using his hands. Later on, he controlled the wedding guest by using his magic. The wedding guest was under the complete control of the Mariner and was unable to attend the wedding.

Q. Describe the circumstance under which the Mariner reached the South Pole?

A. The Mariner had commenced his voyage in a very favorable weather condition. The fellow Mariners were also very excited and happy. All of a sudden there came a storm and it was very powerful. It struck the ship as if it had wings and had overtaken it with its immense power. It chased the ship towards the South and the Mariner reached the South Pole.

Q. The Mariners were stranded in the silent sea with the hot sun above them. Describe their frightening experience at sea.

A. After the wind came to a sudden stop, the Mariners were under the scorching sun. The blazing sun appeared to be like copper. The real ship in the real ocean seemed to be just like a painted ship in the painted ocean. The Mariners were surrounded by water from all sides but they had no water to drink. The sea did not and was about to boil. The sea water was changing its color and slimy creatures were sprawling on the ship. Death fire was dancing at night. There was no end to the Predicament of the Mariners. Some Mariners dreamt that a spirit was plaguing them. Their throats became dry and choked. They felt themselves under the spell of a curse. They were of the view that their death was inevitable under the prevailing circumstances.

Q. Describe the circumstance under which the albatross was hung around the Ancient Mariner’s neck.

A. The Ancient Mariner had killed the albatross without any provocation. The fellow marines were of the view that the albatross had brought good luck to them. So they held the Ancient Mariner guilty of committing a crime. After that, there was an improvement in weather condition. The fickle-minded mariners told that the Ancient Mariner had done the right job by killing the albatross that had brought fog and mist. Then the wind came to a stop all of a sudden. The real ship in the real ocean appeared to be a painted ship in the painted ocean. The Mariners were surrounded by water from all sides but they had no water to drink. The rotting process started in the stagnant sea water. The slimy creature began to move on the ship. The Mariners began to think that they would die of thirst and starvation after finishing their limited water and food. Death fire began to dance at night. Some Mariners saw in their dreams that the spirit of the albatross was causing all these problems. Under these circumstances, all the Mariners decided to punish the Ancient Mariner by hanging the dead body of the albatross around his neck.

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