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The Seafarer

The Seafarer

by Anonymous

The Seafarer Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Note: This analysis refers to the poem in its original language. Get ready for some Old English, people.Okay, awesome readers, hold on tight, because we're about to get a little technical. Unlike...

Speaker

Our speaker tells us right off the that bat he's going to "make a true song" about himself. Sounds pretty straightforward and autobiographical, right? We're primed and ready for the story of his li...

Setting

Well, we call him the seafarer, so it only makes sense that this poem takes place at sea. Adrift in the middle of a relentlessly stormy ocean, all the speaker can hear are the sounds of the surf an...

Sound Check

We'll tell you straight up: it's pretty darn hard to talk about sound in a poem that has been translated. Anglo-Saxon and modern English are so wildly different that they're basically two totally s...

What's Up With the Title?

As it turns out, "The Seafarer" is not the title of this poem. In fact, the poem doesn't have a title at all. We know we just rocked your world, so let us do a little explaining to ease your mind....

Calling Card

Anglo-Saxon poetry is famous for its "kennings" – highly figurative compound noun constructions. That's just a fancy way of saying that kennings squash together two related nouns, so that they me...

Tough-o-Meter

If you want to read "The Seafarer" in Old English, get ready to put in some serious study time. Unless you're already an Anglo-Saxon scholar, you're going to need to learn the language first. That...

Trivia

The Exeter Book, the manuscript in which "The Seafarer" is found, was used and abused over the course of its history as everything from a cutting board to a coaster for a beer mug. It was also dama...

Steaminess Rating

Sex is one of those "earthly" things that travelers like the seafarer just can't take pleasure in, despite the fact that all those "city-dwellers" seem to be able to. He calls it "pleasure in woman...

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