What is the point of view of the ballad "Sir Patrick Spens" ?  

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karaejacobi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The point of view of the ballad "Sir Patrick Spens" is third person omniscient. The narrator is not a character in the narrative, and they are able to tell about all of the events in the poem and quote multiple characters.

During some stanzas of the poem, the narrator uses direct quotes to recount what the King says when he's trying to find someone to sail his ship, and what Sir Patrick says when he is commissioned to do the job. We can tell both through the direct quotes and through the third person omniscient narration what multiple characters think and feel. 

The poem ends tragically, with Sir Patrick's ship going down in a storm and everyone on board drowning. We also hear that there are loved ones waiting for them, but they are at the bottom of the sea.

The poem is a ballad due to its meter and rhyme scheme. It is also typical that ballads be narrated in third person point of view. 

susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The ballad  tells the story of Sir Patrick Spens being commissioned by the king of Scotland to go to Norway to bring the king's daughter home. This trip resulted in the boat sinking, and Patrick Spens and all his men drowning.

The ballad is told by an omniscient narrator who recounts the king's search for the best sailor of the sea and the answer from his knight: Sir Patrick Spens.  The point of view then shifts to Spens when he opens the letter from the king requesting that he sail the seas and his laugh in response, for he knows that the seas are not safe to sail this time of year.

Then the narrator shifts to an observer's view describing the hats of the sailors floating in the sea, the same sailors who were loathe to wet their shoes.  And lastly the narration focuses on the ladies of the lords and sailors who are waiting for their loved ones who will never return.