Posted at 10.04.2018
Old British poetry can be split into two main types: heroic poetry and Christian poetry. Christianity, as the utmost widely spread religious beliefs, is present in most literary works, including a few of the heroic poems, although heroic poetry is considered separate from Christian poetry. There are various analogies to Religious themes or templates in the poetry of the Old British period, since faith played a significant part in people's lives at the time.
'The Seafarer' can be an Old English poem which was documented in the Exeter e book, or Codex Exoniensis, a collection of Old British poetry, including 'The Wanderer' and 'The Descent into Hell', which dates back to the tenth century. It is a poem which describes the lonely, filled with hardship and battling life of the seaman. It could be logically divided into two parts. The foremost is an average elegy - the loudspeaker remembers his dismal life at sea, which he has chosen to the troubling life on land. He knows he is together, and he constantly has this inside turmoil about choosing the ocean to the land. The next part is more moralistic, or didactic. The speaker talks about the transience of riches and fame on the planet, and how nobody will manage to outwit death and God, no subject how glorious a life they may have led. Eventually all people will perish, life will end for everybody at a certain point, and no sum of money will help them avoid their destiny.
In the start of the poem the seafarer makes a music about his journeys and experiences at sea. He starts grimly with a description of the 'troublesome times' and unhappy life while he's sailing. This is a life which common people in the location know little or nothing about. They are simply safe on the land while the seaman perils his life at sea. The weather is frosty and stormy, the 'awful tossing of waves' rock and roll the ship, the seaman will soon freeze. He must endure the fierce storms, the snow and the hail. The beginning of the poem is not only a description of an fierce weather. It is a description of the interior state of mind of the seaman - the internal struggles and issues he has. He is not homesick, but he realizes he is alone in the sea. His troubles are represented as being caused by the ocean, but in fact the sea only represents what is already inside him, in his soul. The seafarer feels 'grim sorrow at heart and soul'. He's unable to feel any pleasure from the environment; he will not enjoy it as a result of darkness in his spirit and heart. You will discover moments where he holds life at sea in contempt.
Yet there may be something which pulls him back again to the sea. He is able to choose the safe life on land, at home, where there are his fellow men, possibly his family, and where food and warmth are made certain. However, he feels this constant urge to travel, to go back to the sea. The sea is strange - it is extensive and infinite; it contains many secrets; it provides a new lifestyle - it draws one away from everything familiar and safe, and throws them into a new, different world - the world of risk, uncertainty, constant change; a global with no boundaries or limits. This is exactly what the seafarer seeks, this is excatly why he constantly comes back to the dangerous journeys - he needs the challenge of the hard life at sea; he needs the challenges - either physical or emotional. His quest in the ocean isn't just a quest on the physical level. It signifies the quest which his spirit takes on the road to God. He has to go through hardship and struggles; he has to fight with the difficulties which God delivers him; he must welcome the obstacles of the ocean as challenges which God delivers to check his soul. He is sailing in the ocean which suggests that he's in the years ahead. His heart is, symbolically, about to walk the path which causes God, moving through severe tests. His kinsmen, who live on land, stay where they are simply, they haven't changed off their place not only physically, but figuratively as well - their souls have not taken the path to God, however they simply enjoy the transient goods in life while they have them. They live a stable, secure life with no dangers or tests. They strive for the products and the glory which earthly life offers, rather than think with their spirituality and morality. They don't really recognize that everything on Earth is fleeting and that life as they know it - rich, glorious and bountiful - will only keep going until their death rather than in the afterlife when their souls will meet God.
This is a light changeover to the second part of the poem which is a moral criticism of people, especially the abundant, who rely on their riches and glory only. They could lead a sinful life, they could oppress the weaker or the indegent people, but their deeds will be the only thing which will go with them in the afterlife, not gold or money, not friends and kinsmen. There is a similar strategy in the English morality play 'Everyman', where wealth and fellow men abandon Everyman on his voyage to death, in support of good deeds stick with him before end. There is the Christian affect, which is present in nearly every good article in the medieval literature. According to the Christian religious beliefs God is the only real truly eternal and enduring part of the Universe. The speaker firmly criticizes the sinful life of common men - instead of living a good, honorable and humble life, they only count on wealth and bounty, plus they think these earthly goods can help them or profit them in some way in the afterlife. They never challenge their souls, plus they never even pray to God. The presenter tries to imply that the abundant need to change their lifestyle but he realizes that they can not, because they do not know how their sins and idleness will only damage them later. They don't really realize that wealth is transient and they'll not have the ability to take it with them after death. God will not take in head how powerful a guy was on the planet or how much money did he maintain, but will only consider his good and fearless deeds and his sins. Life in Heaven is eternal and Heaven is sort of reward for leading a faithful, honorable life. The seafarer claims that 'earthly contentment will not go through'. He mentions that 'time comes after him' eventually, which suggests that glorious life is merely there for some time and then one gradually loses everything they have got, including their vitality, and outside things such as their friends and kinsmen. The way one spends their life on Earth determines where they will spend their afterlife. The loudspeaker urges visitors to think carefully what afterlife they wish to have and then decide what your path to there may be. He will try to clarify to them that they will all be similar after fatality, no subject how prosperous some were and exactly how poor others were on the planet. Moreover, all are equal even now in God's eyes. It does not change lives to God whether you are rich or poor; whether is famous or not. What will distinguish them after loss of life is that they led their life, what they do and what their deeds resulted in. This is actually the point of which some will be delivered to Heaven and more will be delivered to Hell. Afterlife will be eternal, that is why people have to believe now how they want to spend it. The seaman has abadndoned all earthly goods and bounty because he has became aware they are not important, they will be lost with time and in the long run nothing will remain, only recollections of the glorious days and nights and outcomes from the deeds, good or bad.
'The Seafarer' isn't just a poem about life and loss of life. It concerns transience in life and eternity as a concept mainly in the afterlife. It shows that life on its own has no other interpretation but to reward God and prove that is noble enough to visit Heaven. In addition, life is a test for the heart and soul whether it should be sent to Heaven or even to Hell. Life after fatality is what really matters, since it will be for eternity, in contrast to life on the planet which lasts just a few decades. The idea of eternity is important for the moral to reach the common people. If the common man will not dread God, or does not at least think about what will happen to him after his loss of life, he will not make an effort to live an improved, commendable life, but he'll only retain in head his earthly things, which will lead him to impious, even ignoble deeds. Thus 'The Seafarer' can be considered a moral poem which educates man how to have and how to save his heart and soul, so that he deserves afterlife in Heaven.