The Dungeon - Key Quotes

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1. Coleridge uses punctuation such as, 'loathsome plague-spot;', 'their best cure!' and, 'what if guilty?' in the first stanza of The Dungeon to what avail?

  • The show his passion for the subject.
  • To create a more difficult structure for his common readership so that, by contrast, his simpler seconds stanza - about nature - will seem more appealing to them.
  • So that the poem stays close to its rhyme scheme without loosing meaning.
  • To increase the sophistication of his argument to impress his readership and win them to his side.
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2. 'dance', 'minstrelsy', 'healed', 'harmonised' and, 'wins' are part of a positive semantic field in the second stanza that juxtaposes the negative semantic field of the first stanza.

  • True.
  • True, it juxtaposes the negative semantics of stanza one in order to contrast the effects of the penal system and the effects of nature and god. However, the way in which Coleridge embraces the power of God can be seen as contradictory.
  • False, it juxtaposes the sceptical tone that Coleridge adopts when talking about God and religion in the first stanza.
  • False, it doesn't directly juxtapose Coleridge's lexical choices in the first stanza, but it does present god as being omnipotent and benevolent.

3. 'Merciful God?' can be seen as ironic because...

  • Coleridge's use of punctuation questions god's mercy.
  • All of these things.
  • It ambiguously extends the previous question whilst subtly questioning god's status as omni-benevolent.
  • Coleridge's use of lexicon and punctuation reminds a religious audience - at the time - that a system based on the bible is entirely devoid of God and religious teachings.

4. In the second stanza, Coleridge talks directly to nature; personifying it. Which of the following quotes would best support the argument of Pantheism?

  • 'Amid this general dance and minstrelsy;'
  • 'Healest thy wandering and distempered child'
  • 'Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters'
  • 'O nature!'

5. Which techniques are present in the quote, 'Thy melodies of woods, and winds and, waters'?

  • All three as well as personification.
  • Tule of three.
  • Alliteration
  • Assonance


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