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During the poem “The Seafarer” a sailor goes through a journey off at sea and discovers how his life’s journey through the dangerous sea is a factor that could bring him closer to God.The narrator depicts an overall message: in order to get to heaven you’ll have to go through the dangerous journey of life and forget all of your worldly pleasures, this is seen through imagery and symbolism of spring and winter to help us feel, hear, and see how he feels.
In the middle of the narrator’s journey he ventures off onto the land and discovered people drinking wine and enjoying its pleasures. He sees how the people of the land are fortunate and spoiled, experiencing no hardships equivalent to his, saying that “the passion of cities, swelled proud with wine and no taste of misfortune.” (Raffel 31-32). The narrator used imagery to show the beauty he experienced: the start of spring as “orchards blossom, the towns bloom, fields grow lovely as the world spring fresh”(48-49). For the seafarer this site represents a rebirth of a better life with less misery . Although, he realizes how life on land is filled with pleasures that could make his life better, he also realizes the land is filled with sin that draws man away from God and the hope of heaven. Knowing this the narrator decides to go back and continue his journey on the sea believing that it is his fate of his “soul [that] called [him] eagerly out, [and] sent [him] over the horizon” (36-38) to conquer the hardships that he is experiencing in order to obtain a closer relationship God and enter his true home of heaven.
In the beginning of “The Seafarer” the narrator speaks of his dangerous journey out at sea. He talks about the winter as if it’s a violent and powerful force. The narrator uses imagery of the cold frozen weather to symbolize how he feels trapped in this world, as if he is a prisoner saying, “being in icy bands, bound with frost, with frozen chains, and hardship groaned.” ( 9-10). He is also expressing how he feels physically cold symbolizing that he is living in this world of life bating loneliness and depression with no one to love speaking about how he is “ on an ice-cold sea, whirled in sorrow, alone in a world blown clear of love, hung with icicles.” (15-17). He uses visual imagery provoking the sense of sight, saying that he was “hung with icicles” (17) and that “hailstorms flew” (17) showing how he is not only physically cold, which is harsh, but metaphorically cold going through troubles of life that can ultimately bring him closer to God.
Overall the seafarer learns that remaining out on the hazardous sea aided him through his experiences of hardship in order to lead him down the right path to God and heaven. Through his journey he endures temptation with the beginning of spring along with the people of the land seeing the comfort of wine and having no misfortunes, however, he ventured on the right path and continued to follow God.
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