What would you say is the predominant mood in "The Seafarer"?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The predominant mood is one of suffering and discomfort.  He has endured many hard winters on the cold seas.  The Seafarer speaks of the "frozen chains" and "icy bands" that hold him to the ship--a double meaning.  He loves the sea and would rather be there than anywhere, but he admits that when the weather turns and the sea is cold and uncalm, it is not the most fun.  He is aged prematurely because it is often cold and uncomfortable, but when he is on land among warm houses and female bodies and loads of food and drink, all he wants to do is return to the sea. Life on land is more comfortable, but there are no heros produced on land anymore...not enough dangers or challenges there for him.  He loves the danger and the challenge of the sea, it thrills him and calls to him when he is not sailing.

The ocean is a metaphor for life--he wants to live and longs to be in the thick of things, but it is not always going to be easy or comfortable.

Then the mood changes and moves from individual experience to encompass all people.  It becomes more of a prayer, and has a positive outlook.  The Seafarer thanks God for His love and protection and he tells all people that we should live modestly, control our pride, and hope for heaven.  He says, "Praise the Holy Grace of Him who honored us, Eternal, unchanging creator of earth. Amen."

Love God, who loves us for who we are and who is always there for us in danger and peace.