The Seafarer

Report
“The Seafarer,” “The Wanderer,” & “The Wife’s
Lament
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What is this poem about?
◦ A seafarer who drifts away from human
companionship
◦ Even though he is “drowning in
desolation” he continues to return to the
sea
◦ Life no matter where it is spent is exile
◦ The only home is heaven
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“This tale is true, and mine. It tells”
“But there isn’t a man on earth so proud”
Purpose to oral tradition: helps with
memorization of lines
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Eagle’s screams: caw
Summer’s sentinel: the cuckoo
The whale’s home: the sea
Purpose to oral tradition: poetic words used
for imagery and memorization
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“To the open ocean, breaking oaths”
Purpose to oral tradition: helps with rhythm
and memorization
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“This tale is true, and mine. It tells”
“My soul roams with the sea, the whales
Home, wandering to the widest corners
Of the world, returning ravenous with desire,
Flying solitary, screaming…”
Provides rhythm and repetition
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Wandering
With the Anglo-Saxon belief of home, to be
wandering was to have nothing
Exile
The Anglo-Saxons did not have patriotism to
their country, but to their lord, so to be
exiled was to be forsaken and they feared this
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Lyrical Poetry
expresses the thoughts and feeling of a
single speaker's life
Elegiac Poetry
a type of lyric poetry where the loss of
someone or something is mourned

How is “The Seafarer” an example of elegiac
poetry and lyrical poetry?

What is this poem about?
◦
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Wanderer has experienced a complete collapse
His lord died
He has no purpose
He has no one to promise his loyalty to
He is left to wander in search of a new lord
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Lines 20-26
How does the kenning “gold-lord” help you
infer the wanderer’s goal?
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Suggests wander’s livelihood is intimately
connected with his having a lord, or one who
will provide him with gold, or money.
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Read lines 87-92
What images and ideas do alliteration and
assonance bind together in these lines?
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Alliteration: “walls wondrous high,” serpent
shapes,” and “carnage…and conquering fate”
Assonance: “warriors” with “memorials”
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How are caesuras used in “The Wanderer?”
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Why are caesuras used?
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They are breaks in the middle of a line
Add to rhythmic element, add to meaning
they either echo an idea or oppose an idea
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Isolation
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Speaker has been sent into exile by her
husband.
She still longs for her husband
She is angry and bitter about her friendless,
lonely, joyless fate she must endure.
Be able to answer essential question on pg.
31

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