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Burton Raffel. Presented By: Jeremy Gutierrez and Emily Salinas. Burton Raffel.

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burton raffel
Burton Raffel

Presented By:

Jeremy Gutierrez and Emily Salinas

burton raffel1
Burton Raffel

Burton Raffel was born in 1928. He has lived and worked in four different countries. Raffel has taught English, Classics, and Comparative Literature at universities in the United States. Throughout his lifetime, Raffel has published many works of literature. Much of his books include fiction, poetry, translations, literary and historical criticism, teaching texts and anthologies. Some of his translations include; Beowulf, Horace: Odes, Epodes, Epistles, and Satires. Burton Raffel is currently living in Louisiana where he was a distinguished professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette until 2003.



"How wretched I was, drifting through winter on an ice-cold sea, whirled in sorrow, alone in a world blown clear of love, hung with icicles. The hailstorms flew. The only sound was the roaring sea, the freezing waves.” (line 14-19)

The setting of this poem is on the ocean during the drastically freezing winter season.

“My feet were cast in icy bands, bound with frost, with frozen chains, and hardship groaned around my heart.” (line 8-11)


The Seafarer is a poem that provides in depth visualization to suffering, endurance, loneliness, and spiritual yearning.

The first section is painful and personal. It’s a description of the suffering and the attractions sea life.

The second section abruptly changes into the seafarer’s journey towards faith and religion.



The speaker of this story is the Seafarer. He is addressing people in general.

This poem originates from the Old English period of English Literature 450-1100

The speaker urges the reader in the second section to forget their accomplishments and anticipate God’s judgment in the afterlife.

The poem addresses both pagan and Christian ideas about overcoming the sense of suffering and loneliness.



The basic theme of this poem generally focuses on sorrow and longing for the better days, or the old days the man once had.

The speaker describes a world of exile and loneliness and his feelings of alienation physically and his suffering both physically and mentally.


Literary Devices




Lines 39-41

“ But there isn’t a man on earth so proud, So born to greatness, so bold with his youth,”

Lines 44-45

“No harps ring in his heart, no rewards, No passion for women, no worldly pleasures,”

Lines 82-83

“Now there are no rulers , no emperors, No givers of gold, as once there were,”


Line 69

“three threats”


Line 90

“Bent like the men

who mould it.”


The sea throughout the

entire poem is very symbolic.

It’s like a metaphor

for life itself.