In the poem "Sea Fever" by John Masefield, why is "Sea Fever" a good title for the poem?

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The title is appropriate because of the implications of the word fever. A fever is something that afflicts someone, something to which they fall victim, something over which they have absolutely no control. The speaker seems to feel likewise powerless against his sea fever, as he repeats the phrase, "I must go down to the seas again . . . " over and over, at the beginning of each stanza. The word must implies that he feels compelled to return to the sea, that it is a desire that takes him over and will permit no other action. He can only recognize his desire to steer his own ship in the gray mist of the morning on the sea, to feel the pull of the tides and hear the sea gulls crying, to hear a happy tale told by a fellow seaman. His fever is all-consuming, so that he cannot even have a desire to do anything but return to the sea.

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"Sea Fever" is an excellent title for this poem because it refers to the way that for some people the desire to see the sea and be close to it and sail upon it can act in the same way as a fever, which cannot be shaken off. Note how the all-consuming desire of the speaker dominates the poem, with each stanza beginning with the same phrase:

I must go down to the seas again...

The repetition emphasises the way that this desire dominates the speaker and he is unable to think of little else except for the sea and how it sounds, feels, looks, tastes and what is associated with it. If you think of other kind of "fevers" that we can get, we can be in a "fever" for love, when all we do is think of the object of our affection, or we can be in a "fever" for a particular sport when an important match is being played. It is this kind of single-minded focus to the exclusion of everything else that is captured in the title of "Sea Fever."

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