The Seafarer Questions and Answers

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In "The Seafarer," what causes the speaker's heart beat and is he at home, on land, or the sea?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The speaker in "The Seafarer" is a sailor with a deep and abiding love for the sea. While the land might call out to him to settle down and leave his seafaring lifestyle behind, always the ocean successfully beckoned him back.

And who could believe, knowing but

The passion of cities, swelled proud with wine

And no taste of misfortune, how often, how wearily

I put myself back on the paths of the sea. 

The narrator speaks of the horrors of a life at sea. He mourns the lack of laughter or a shared draught of mead, hearing instead the "death-noise of birds" or the cry of seagulls. He faces harsh weather with a bone-deep chilling from snow and ice. There seems little pleasure in sailing for this man. However, he finds no peace or abiding comfort on land.

And how my heart

Would begin to beat, knowing once more

The salt waves tossing...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 485 words.)

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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write3,513 answers

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