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Study Questions

The Seafarer Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. Check out other translations of "The Seafarer" (See "Best of the Web" if you need help finding some.) Which one do you like best? Why?
  2. The poem we know as "The Seafarer" doesn't actually have a title in its manuscript. Its title was given to it by later editors of the poem. What do you think of this title? What would you name this poem if you were the editor in charge?
  3. Why is the speaker in "The Seafarer" so restless and unhappy? Why is he forced to travel "the paths of exile"?
  4. A lot of people think "The Seafarer" is an extended metaphor about the spiritual journey of the Christian soul. Do you agree with this interpretation? Why or why not?
  5. Who are the "kings and Caesars" the speaker mentions in lines 81-85, and why is he so in awe of them?
  6. What kind of life do you think this speaker wants a person to live? What, exactly, is he telling us to do?
  7. Which modern genre of music would make a good soundtrack for "The Seafarer"?
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