The poem "The Seafarer" is like a dialogue between two opposing attitudes. Which lines convey these attitudes?

Expert Answers
Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The speaker of the poem is both drawn to the sea and repelled by it. As the poem begins, we sense the latter attitude as he describes his experience battling nature:

In icy bands, bound with frost,

With frozen chains, and hardship groaned

Around my heart. Hunger tore

At my sea-weary soul. No man sheltered

On the quiet fairness of earth can feel

How wretched I was, drifting through winter

On an ice-cold sea, whirled in sorrow,

Alone in a world blown clear of love,

Hung with icicles.

As difficult a mistress as the sea can be, just a few lines later the speaker describes his compulsion to return to the sea again and again:

And how my heart

Would begin to beat, knowing once more

The salt waves tossing and the towering sea!

The time for journeys would come and my soul

Called me eagerly out, sent me over

The horizon, seeking foreigners' homes.