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The Light at the End of the Tunnel:The Underlying Message of the Seafarer

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Brendan Geiger Mr. Moxy Honors English 8 20 September 2010 The Light At the End of the Tunnel: The Underlying Message of "The Seafarer" "The Seafarer", one of the few ancient poems of oral tradition to survive pre-Christian Britain, is anything but a fairytale. It tells the story of a lonely man, completely isolated as he struggles with the hardships of a life at sea. The seafarer tells of winters in which he was sent drifting through hellish storms not knowing if he would escape alive. He also tells how, not only he suffers physically from his life at sea, he also suffers emotionally from not having a soul to comfort him along his journey. Although the suffering he endures is plentiful and he longs for companionship, the seafarer continues to return to the sea because he knows that it is his destiny. Throughout his story, the seafarer expresses his strong belief in fate. ...read more.


As the seafarer confesses while on land, "My soul roams with the sea, the whales'/Home, wandering to the widest corners/ Of the world, returning ravenous with desire." (59-61) Regardless of all of the pain it causes him, the sea has essentially been the seafarer's home on his journey to heaven; therefore, he is grateful for the sea and the adventures it blesses him with. In the end, the seafarer proves that life is an ocean of sorrow; however, one must not let their grief get the best of them in order to be rewarded at the end of their life. Throughout the poem, the seafarer is able to conquer his sorrows because of his belief that God will bless him with eternal salvation, or a place in heaven. Many times, the sea left the seafarer unsure of whether he would survive the night or not. Because of this, he firmly relies on God to guide him through the "towering sea" (35). ...read more.


Through his efforts, the seafarer hopes to be rewarded one day by rising to the "eternal joy" and living a peaceful afterlife in heaven. All throughout "The Seafarer", life is revealed to be a prearranged voyage, inevitably full of pain and sorrow; however, the seafarer proves that one can be rewarded with a place in heaven by maintaining their faith in God. For the seafarer, life at sea deprives him of companionship and any sense of permanence during his life. On the other hand, he remains grateful for what the sea has given him, a home. The seafarer uses his faith in God and the hope that one day his soul will move onwards to heaven as motivation to carry on to wherever fate intends him to go. Like the seafarer, many of the Anglo-Saxons around the time of the poems creation were seamen. Fatalism was a prominent facet in Anglo-Saxon faith and one of the most common topics in their literature because many of their lives weighed in the balance at sea everyday. ...read more.

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