To better understand the famous Anglo-Saxon elegy, The Seafarer, you must have knowledge of the time period that it was written. Anglo-Saxon paganism was polytheistic, which means they worshipped many gods. During the 5th century in Great Britain the Anglo Saxons strongly believed in fate and that life is predetermined. This caused them to have a very grim outlook on life. They behaved as if they were waiting for their death, that a higher power was controlling their everyday lives as if they were puppets. A man named Pope Gregory the Great was sent to Great Britain at this time to convert the Saxons to Christianity. Many adopted this religion however most clung on to their original pagan beliefs. This created a community that shared the belief of fate and the power of God in Christianity. For example in the Seafarer it states, "But there isn't a man on earth so proud, so born to greatness, so bold with his youth, grown so brave, or so graced by God, that he feels no fear as the sails unfurl, wondering what Fate has willed and will do." This is a perfect example of how in only one sentence, it represents the pagan belief in fate and also the Christian beliefs.
Throughout the poem the main character is complaining about the isolation, despair, and hardship of the sea life. He then contrasts to how wonderful life on land is compared to life at sea. Although he hates the sea, he continues coming back to it. I believe the reason he continues to return to the sea is to become closer to God and to attempt to dismiss the once ruling pagan beliefs. .
The speaker is an individual in fifth century Great Britain that believes more in Christianity than in paganism. For example, Rosemary Woolf, a famous English Scholar of Medieval literature exclaims, ".the man who lives a life on land is always in a state of security and contentment: he is therefore mindless of the Christian image of man as an exile; .