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In what ways is the seafarer in exile in the Old English poem "The Seafarer"? 

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"The Seafarer" is an allegorical poem that charts one man's spiritual journey from a life of material ease and luxury to a state of blessed holiness. In this sense, the seafarer is exiled not just from society, but from his former self, a self mired in a world of meaningless, empty pleasure. The passing joys of the present are fundamentally worthless; achieving a future state of blessedness is what matters most of all.

The seafarer is very much a creature of his time. He is profoundly influenced by a developing monastic spirituality within Christendom. This growing taste for ascetic self-denial transformed the typical desires of Saxon pagans—the conviviality of the mead hall, the pleasures of the flesh, heroic adventures on the high seas—into a deep longing for the Christian heaven. Exile from our fleeting material existence here on earth leads to a permanent home in eternity in one of the many mansions in God's house.

Loyalty to home and hearth, one's kin, and one's liege, was of...

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