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Analysis


Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Red Alert! This analysis refers to the poem in its original language. Translations may or may not preserve the following features.OK, hold on tight, because we're about to get technical. Unlike the...

Speaker

The identity of the speaker in "The Husband's Message" is actually kind of a literary mystery. The poem is written in a manuscript called The Exeter Book, and it comes right after 60 riddles – sh...

Setting

"The Husband's Message" is divided between two settings – the location of the lord and that of his lady – but its purpose is to bring them together.Once upon a time, the lord and lady of "The H...

Sound Check

Since it's structured around alliteration, or matching first sounds of words, most Anglo-Saxon poetry, including "The Husband's Message" sounds a lot like a tongue-twister. "She sells seashells dow...

What's Up With the Title?

"The Husband's Message" is a title given to this poem by later scholars. Most Anglo-Saxon poems like this one are anonymous (we don't know who wrote them), and they don't have actual titles. This...

Calling Card

"The Husband's Message" isn't technically a riddle, but in The Exeter Book it's preceded by a series of short poems in which inanimate objects or animals ask the reader to "say what I am." This –...

Tough-o-Meter

If you want to read "The Husband's Message" in its original language, Old English, get ready to hit the books. (That is, unless you're already a skilled Anglo-Saxonist, in which case, we salute you...

Trivia

"The Husband's Message" is an example of prosopopeia, a fancy Greek word to describe a type of personification in which an inanimate object speaks (source). Now, aren't you glad you learned a fancy...

Steaminess Rating

Considering it's a love poem, you'd expect "The Husband's Message" to be at least a little bit steamy, right? Maybe something about how hot the lady is, or how the lord wants to take her in his arm...
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