In "Inchcape Rock" by Robert Southey, how does Ralph react when the ship strikes the Inchcape rock?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sir Ralph the Rover was utterly upset when his ship struck the Inchcape Rock. He was in anguish and regretted what he did because his malicious scheme caught up with him.

Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock,
“Oh Christ! It is the Inchcape Rock!”

Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,
He curst himself in his despair;
(Inchcape Rock, Robert Southey)

The Inchcape Rock posed a major threat to seafarers plying the coast of Scotland. The rock was partially submerged, making it invisible to the ship’s crew. The situation was worse during rough seas because any attempts to steer the ship to the coast would result in the destruction of the ship, which would be ripped apart by the rock. The Abbot of Aberbrothok decided to install a bell that would provide an audible signal to the seafarers. The bell helped to save many lives, until Ralph maliciously destroyed it. However, on his return trip, the sea was rough, and the signal he destroyed was unavailable to guide him to safety. Ralph’s ship struck the Inchcape rock, and he perished at sea.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial