The Two Voices Of The Seafarer

1794 words - 7 pages

The Two Voices of The Seafarer

There is much argument in the literary field as to whether there is more than one speaker in the Old English poem The Seafarer. In this brief essay we will look at some of the previous criticisms of the last two centuries, and through them attempt to prove that the speaker of the poem is the same one throughout.
The author of The Seafarer is unknown. Its manuscript is untitled and unique, and is thought to have been inscribed around 975 AD. It survives on four pages of the Exeter Anthology which was given to the Exeter Cathedral in England, by the Archbishop Leofric, who died in 1072 AD.
The Seafarer is a poem about an Anglo-Saxon man who, having apparently been banished from his home, has taken to the sea. John Pope, one of the foremost critics of the poem, postulated, and it is now generally accepted, that it is composed of three parts. Part A1, covering lines 1 through 33a, is believed to be the story of an inexperienced young sailor who tells of his hardships at sea. Part A2, lines 33b to 64a or 66a, and part B, 64b or 66b through 124, is told by an eager young sailor who loves the sea. An epilogue is usually believed to be contained in lines 103 through 124 (Pope, 177). Jove Pope's greatest critical adversary, Stanley Greenfield, believed that A1 is details a voyage the speaker was forced to undergo, and that the purpose of A2 is to emphasize the speakers choice to undertake a current journey (Greenfield, 107).
The poem begins by telling us of how the young seafarer has "often suffered times of hardship / and have experienced / bitter anxiety." He is journeying into a world of loneliness and a destiny away from his comitatus, his meadhall, and his lord. At times he despises his life at sea: "Oppressed by cold my feet were bound by frost / In icy bonds, while worries simmered hot / About my heart, and hunger from within / Tore the sea-weary spirit..." (The Seafarer, Line 8). At others, he celebrates it: "...Even now my heart / Journeys beyond its confines, and my thoughts / Over the sea, across the whale's domain, / Travel afar the regions of the earth, / And then come back to me with greed and longing. / The cuckoo cries, incites the eager breast / On to the whale's roads irresistibly, / Over the wide expanses of the sea," (The Seafarer, Line 58).
In Anglo-Saxon society a warrior believed in lof: he received glory by his valor in battle; his accomplishments in life. If his deeds were sufficiently notable his name would live on long after he died, granting him immortality. The Seafarer believes that "Sickness, old age, the sword, each one of these/ May end the lives of doomed and transient men. / Therefore for every warrior the best / Memorial is the praise of living men " (The Seafarer, Line 68).
Halfway through the poem we see a drastic turn. Part A has mentioned almost nothing spiritual, only speaking of the hard life of a man who lives at sea. In the beginning of part B, in...

Find Another Essay On The Two Voices of The Seafarer

The American Voices Essay

1001 words - 4 pages . When analyzing two sources of information pertaining to that time, it is easily noticeable the comparisons and contrasts that eventually, shape history's course.Many aristocrat leaders such as Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine have, during American colonial times, delivered speeches whose voices greatly differed from the average man's perspective of that time. These political leaders would address the people, and

Journey on a Sinking Ship: A two paragraph essay comparing "The Seafarer" and Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay"

633 words - 3 pages The power of Mother Nature has always been envied, cursed, and awe-inspiring. In old Anglo-Saxon literature, most works were devoted to the sea, and in "The Seafarer" it applauds the sea, but at the same time the author has deference for its power. Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" also shows this devotion and despite the fact that their subjects differ, the ideas that the two poems are attempting to get across are not too different. In

Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History by Romila Thapar

2160 words - 9 pages ’ short term goals, but this course of action would leave long lasting effects on the people of these two cultures. All in all, Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History hopes to study the diverse perspectives and views represented in the various sources collected on the topic. The hope is that this will allow historians to better understand the various perspectives on the period. In order to get the true picture of an event one will need to analyze

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter and Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

2001 words - 8 pages concluding with how Potter and Browne illustrate their views on childhood. Voices in the Park has no page numbers thus for clarity they are strictly numerical (1-30) starting at first voice. Picture books unlike novels have a very limited amount of words to inform the reader about the characters and the plot (Scott, 2009)(ou dvd no7). The use of a picture to complement and enhance the story is paramount, combining with the experience of the reader to

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau and the Voices of the Oppressed

1830 words - 7 pages Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau and the Voices of the Oppressed        There have been many writers who dedicated much of their work towards representing the voices of the oppressed. Among them are Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry David Thoreau. Although these authors were dedicated to the same cause they approached the subject from their own perspective, reflecting on an issue that was relevant to their position in life. Their

Faith Versus Fate in the Poems "The Seafarer", "The Wanderer", and "The Wife's Lament"

707 words - 3 pages of leaving because if he did not he had no identity. The Seafarer differed from the other two by it being self imposed exile. In the poems the ways of life in the medieval times show that life styles were very different than times are now.

Vocal Classifications (Fach System) describes the many different types of singing voices.

2375 words - 10 pages Vocal ClassificationsMany singers find that the four basic voice parts are too general and may not always suit their individual voice. Even though there is a wide variety of musically literature available for each part, not all songs would be suitable for just one voice. The Fach System breaks down each voice part and serves as a much more useful way to classify singers' voices.Vocal parts are an easy way to categorize different voices and are

The Anglo-Saxon poems, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and The Wife’s Lament

3342 words - 13 pages The Anglo-Saxon poems, “The Wanderer,” “The Seafarer,” and “The Wife’s Lament” The Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, era of England lasted from about 450-1066 A.D. The tribes from Germany that conquered Britain in the fifth century carried with them both the Old English language and a detailed poetic tradition. The tradition included alliteration, stressed and unstressed syllables, but more importantly, the poetry was usually mournful

Oprah Winfrey - Disarming the Loud and Angry Voices

1932 words - 8 pages Oprah Winfrey - Disarming the Loud and Angry Voices         The large black man sitting on the stage had heard the demeaning reference one too many times. Suddenly and swiftly, he had his large hands around the tattooed neck of the white perpetrator. The large man was choking the scrawny skinhead who had called him a nigger on national television. Instantly the audience, mainly white supremacists and black militants, was at war

Pollution is a consistent demolition of the Earth., A persuasive paper on a hot topic that voices your opinion.

1185 words - 5 pages smell of the heaping trash and the air seems slightly off color. This is only one beach in the world that has these issues. ("Day in pictures: 12 July." BBC. 12 July 2008) If we don't try to solve this issue it will spread all over the world invading our beaches in Florida or California. The pollution in the ocean is increasingly high and shows no signs stopping. Certain places in the world have already been affected by this issue and it only

The Lesser Of Two Evils:

883 words - 4 pages The Lesser Of Two Evils: Why the Atomic Bomb Was Justified      As history has progressed, Man has always looked back and debated why certain actions occurred and whether or not such measures should have been taken. Though numerous such arguments take place, one of the most debated issues is that of the dropping of the atomic bomb at the end of World War Two. Critics of the atomic bomb argue that far too many people

Similar Essays

Title Comparative Analysis Of The Wanderer And The Seafarer.

2419 words - 10 pages Anglo-Saxon society in the sixth and seventh century, is evident in both poems. I decided for the analysis of these two poems because they deal with suffering and I wanted to learn how other people, in this case Wanderer and Seafarer, perceive life while suffering and how they solve their misery. This essay will concentrate on the comparison of the poems in terms of these issues: impact of society on heroes, their relation to God,fate, their

A Comparison Of The Sea In Beowulf And The Seafarer

1637 words - 7 pages “ a splendid mound” which “seafarers shall afterward call it Beowulf’s Mound when they pilot their ships far over the ocean’s mists.”   Another Old English poem, The Seafarer, has a deep connection with the sea. Though the latter poem is considerably shorter than Beowulf, nevertheless the sentiments expressed therein about the sea reflect some of the same found in Beowulf. The poet begins by reflecting on the miseries which he has

The Voices Of Women In Haiti

2153 words - 9 pages equality. In fact, women across the globe are still having trouble finding their own voices. One of the most volatile countries where women were constantly having trouble being heard and still are today is Haiti. Haiti is well known for the most unfortunate consequences such as their lack of healthcare and educational opportunities, corrupt government, and unspeakable tragedies. Apparently, the struggle of Haitian women finding a voice blends

The Theological Mandate—Voices Of Scripture Essay

2527 words - 10 pages The Theological Mandate—Voices of Scripture Organic intellectuals are “working academics who are intentionally connected to movements of social transformation and revolution, who permit their actual engagement in such movements to influence, shape, and provide categories for their academic research” (Antonio Gramsci). A peculiar question arises as one takes a theological leap into the nighttime of the ten virgins. Consider the