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The Inchcape Rock Questions Answers & Summary 2023

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NameThe Inchcape Rock
AuthorRobert Southey
the inchcape rock questions and answers

The Inchcape Rock by Robert Southey-Brief Summary

“The Inchcape Rock” is a poem by Robert Southey that tells the story of a treacherous rock off the coast of Scotland known as the Inchcape Rock. The poem describes how the Abbot of Aberbrothok, a benevolent and kind-hearted man, placed a bell on the rock, which would ring as the tide receded, warning ships of the danger. The bell was a godsend for the sailors, who would hear its sound and avoid the rock. The Inchcape Rock was feared by all, as it was covered by water at high tide and hidden from view.

However, a pirate named Ralph the Rover, who was known for his greed and ruthless actions, cuts the bell off, allowing ships to crash on the rock and sink. Ralph believed that the bell would make his raids more successful, as the ships would not be warned of the danger ahead and he could easily plunder them. He was convinced that the Inchcape Rock was the key to his success, and he never imagined the fatal consequences of his actions.

Years passed, and Ralph grew old and retired from his life of piracy. One day, he decided to sail again, and as fate would have it, his ship was caught in a storm and shipwrecked on the very rock he had made treacherous. He realized too late the error of his ways and the terrible consequences of his actions. He and his crew drowned, and the poem ends with the moral that “no man is an island”, and “a man’s worst enemy is himself”.

The poem serves as a warning against the dangers of greed and the consequences of selfish actions. It highlights the importance of thinking about the well-being of others and the impact of our actions on society. The poem also emphasizes the idea that actions have consequences, and that one’s actions can come back to haunt them in the end. It is a reminder that we should always strive to do good and to think about the greater good, rather than being driven by our own selfish desires.

The Inchcape Rock Questions and Answers

Question 1: What does the poet describe the Inchcape rock?

Answer: The poet states that the Inchcape rock was a few inches high above the rock at the surface of the sea in low tide and was completely covered by the sea in high tide or when the sea was rough.

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Question 2: Where was the rock?

Answer: The rock lay hidden in the sea off the east coast of Scotland.

Question 3: How was it sometimes hidden?

Answer: It sometimes remained hidden under sea water during the high tide.

Question 4: What is meant by warning bell?

Answer: The warning bell refers to the bell placed on the Inchcape Rock by the Abbot of Aberbrothok, to give a warning to the sailors about the danger from the rock.

Question 5: Was the Inchcape rock dangerous? Give your reasons.

Answer: The Inchcape rock was dangerous, because during sunny days the huge stone could be easily noticed, but it was completely covered by the sea in a high tide or when the sea swelled. As a result, many ships had been wrecked.

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Question 6: Read the paragraph and answer the following questions:

‘When the rock was hid by surge’s swell

The mariners heard the warning bell;

And then they knew the perilous rock,

And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

(a) How was the ‘Inchcape Rock’ sometimes hidden?

Answer: The ‘Inchcape Rock’ sometimes remained hidden under sea water during the high tide.

(b) Why was the warning bell placed on the Inchcape Rock?

Answer: The warning bell was placed on the Inchcape Rock to prevent the sailors from colliding with the rock.

Question 4: Why did the Abbot place a bell on the Inchcape Rock?

Answer: The Abbot placed a bell on the Inchcape Rock to warn the sailors of the presence of this fatal rock nearby.

Question 5: When did the Inchcape bell ring?

Answer: The Inchcape bell rang during a storm or when the sea swelled.

Question 6: Why did mariners bless the Abbot?

Answer: Mariners blessed the Abbot because he saved many imminent ship-wrecks during the storm by placing a bell on the perilous Inchcape Rock. In other words, humanitarian deeds gave them strength where nature was inhospitable.

Question 7: Narrate in groups the scene described in the begining of the poem.

Answer: The scene described in the beginning of the poem is best captured in first two stanzas, wherein calm scenario has been depicted. The air, the sea and the ship are in a peaceful state. The sea-waves are so feeble that they don’t send any sound or shock. They do not rise or fall enough to cause the Inchcape bell to ring.

Question 8: Complete the following sentences:


a) The Abbot of Aberbrothok placed a bell on the Inchcape Rock because he wanted the ships to stay away from collision with the Inchcape Rock that used to be submerged in the water during hid tide.

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b) The marines were grateful to the Abbot of Aberbrothok because he saved them from possible shipwrecks by installing the warning bell on Inchcape Rock.

c) The result of the thick haze that covered the sky was that Sir Ralph and his crew couldn’t see the sun on high.

d) The Rover in frustration pulled his hair and cursed himself because he was going to meet his death only because of his own wicked act of cutting off the Inchcape Bell.

Question 9: Given Below are the events that give the theme of the poem in a jumbled form. Arrange them in proper sequence as per their occurence.

a) The waves were so small that they did not move enough to ring the bell at the Inchcape Rock.

b) The Abbot of Aberbrothok had placed the bell on a buoy pn the rock.

c) There was a thick haze spread over the atmosphere.

d) Ralph bent over from the boat

e) Sir Ralph cursed himself in despair and in his frustration tore his chair.

Answer: b, a ,d ,c, e.

Question 10: Point out the qualities of the Abbot of Aberthorok in your own words:

Answer: The qualities of Abbot of Aberthorok are:

  • Benevolent.
  • Big-hearted.
  • Well-wisher.
  • Caring.
  • Practical.
  • Clever.
  • Selfless.

Question 11: “Jealous” is the most incurable defect. Justify.

Answer: “Jealousy” means “envy” in its most negative form. It originates primarily from lack of self confidence to get rid of. Another reason for jealousy is poor self-image. The insecurity arising aout of the fear being rejected by someome leads to jealousy too. It upsets our social circle and turns into foes. This can further alienate a person, making him/her even more jealous of the other people due to one’s own sense of inadequacy. All these insecurities, which stem from jealousy, can drive a person to cause harm to others. A lot of self-training is required to get rid of the negative emotion of jealousy. As long as a person holds a low opinion of self, he/she can never be immune to this defect. Even with a lot of practice, one is bound to feel this emotion at some point in their lives. Thus, jealousy is the most incurable defect.

Question 12: “But the Rover’s mirth was wickedness”. Explain this line in your own words with the help of the poem.

Answer: Though Sir Ralph was in a cheerful mood, his heart was full of joy, the reason behind his happiness was a wicked plan that he had just devised.

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Question 13: Write an appreciation of the poem, “The Inchcape Rock”.

Answer: “The Inchcape Rock” by Robert Southey is a ballad of sventeen stanzas, aslo called quatrains as they are made of four lines each. The primary theme of the poem is that those who do bad things meet with a bad end at the hands of fate. The idea of ‘what goes around, comes around’ is at the core of the poem. The ballad is composed in a narrative styleand the rhyming couplets follow the rhyme sceme ‘aabb’. The poem embellishes his composition with a number of figures of speech such as Alliteration, Antithesis, Sonsonance, Apostrophe, Onomatopoeia, Metaphor, Inversion, Transferred Epithet, Synecdoche, Simile, Personification and Exclamation. Thi highlight of the peom is teh vivid imagery of the ‘bright,shining sun’ at the begining to that of ‘hazy sky’ at the end, or that of the ‘steady ship’, ‘light waves’, ‘green ocean’, ‘birds wheeling around’, ‘sinking ship’ and many more that the poet employs to convey the message of poetic justice. Its smart usage makes the readers feel like they are a part of the scene being described.

The use of symbolism also adds to the beauty of the poem where the Abbot is presented as the symbol of all that is good. while Sir Ralph symbolises evil. The Inchcape Rock is symbolic of the trap that Sir Ralph had laid down for others, which he himslef fell into. Though the poem ahs been composed in the 18th century, the message conveyed by it is relevant even today- that one shoukd steer clear of wickedness and malice towards, as that could be the cause of one’s own doom. The poem is didatic in nature, meaning that it conveys a moral through the story depicted in it. The moral of this poem is ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’.

In my opinion, the poem is timeless, as its relevance can never diminish. For as long as humans suffer from the vice of jealousy, this poem will keep reminding them of its consequences.

Question 14: Prepare a word register related to marine life.

Answer: Sailors, Ocean , Coast, Seashore, Ships, Waves , Fish, Salty water, Pirates.

Question 15: What are the functions of Lighthouse?

Answer: The functions of Lighthouse are :-

  • To show direction.
  • Warn ships about dangers in the sea.
  • Guide sailors to reach the cost.

Question 16: Discuss the various famous rocks in the world and mention the places where they are found.


Famous RockPlace
Balancing RockMahabalipuram
Wave RockArizona USA
Rock of GibraltarMediterranean Sea
Split Apple RockNew Zealand

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