Essay Example on Loreley and the Sailor: Heine's Poem & Its Controversy

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1212 Words
Date:  2023-01-23


Heine's poem possesses a lot of questions regarding its connections, artistic means, merits, meaning, and message, and whether it interestingly fits the content. The first controversy is on the first line, which eventually ends up becoming the interpreter's last words.

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The film interestingly fits the content since the poem itself is a narrative, with the storyteller framing the story of a beautiful woman and an unfortunate sailor. Loreley is sitting up on a cliff, combing her hair as she sings. A tiny ship is sailing along the Rhine beneath her, with the sailor being so distracted by her singing. He crashes his ship into the foot of her cliff.

Heine's Loreley is a simpler character in a number of ways; not speaking as Lore Lay does; lacking characterization and complexity. The fact that Heine's Loreley is obviously a symbol: of the alienation and separation, of identity contradictions which lead to hybridity, and uncertainty locations in terms of place, time, and tradition make the poem interesting. The title of the collection as well offers another angle on the poem. Heine's Loreley poem belongs solidly in the liminal space between cultures, countries, and times, belonging both everywhere and nowhere; which is interesting.

Heine's Loreley starts her poem from a separation point of view- from herself and the rest of the world. Being initially described as "above," she is physically separated from the sailor appearing at the end of the poem and from the narrator. Her exact location when it comes to towns or cities is never described. The poem does not state whether she is sitting on or above anything in particular. The only detail given is her being above the reader's perspective. With "Above" being associated with powerful, the royal, or divine; the film makes the content interesting. She is physically removed, being set up as something other than and apart from the narrator, reader, and the sailor's humanity.

How do the scene and the passage illuminate a crucial element of the work as a whole?

The Loreley has been alienated from herself throughout the structure of the poem. The six stanzas have been divided neatly into thirds, basing them purpose and characters. In the first third, the physical scene is set as the narrator introduces the poem. In the second third, "There sits a lovely maiden" is physically described and introduced. In the last third, the sailor appears in his little boat, disappearing beneath the waves. In the last line of the poem, at the end of the third section, the poem now gives the beautiful woman's name, "The Lovely Loreley."

Heine first describes Loreley as a woman and then eventually as a thing. As such, she also is in contrast to herself while she exists in contrast to other humans. The Loreley is not just other or human but is rather both other and human. She is both "There sits a lovely maiden" and "The Lovely Loreley." This sense of hybridity is added on to her physical description. She is described with feminine objects, classically human; a comb, long hair, and jewelry. All the things are, however, a glittering gold. Like her "Above" placement, her sense of being something beyond human is added by the gold. On top of that, singing a "That Lovely maiden sings," adds to the sense that Loreley is a supernaturally powerful figure. Existing in the human world, but yet connected to something divine and powerful.

Heine's narrator has given the Loreley every blame for causing the sailor's death when he writes, "And that did with her singing." That is the only moment Heine uses past tense in the whole poem. She had killed him with her singing, implying that she has killed him before and she was going to do it again. Her description as a "lovely maiden" portrays that she is human, but all her descriptions and actions demonstrate she is just a supernatural malicious human being inside of her and tries to be nothing more than what she is.

Heine makes the scene, and the passage illuminates a crucial element of the work by Loreley existing in an uncertain reality. Both in place and time, she sits in a liminal space between night and day, water and land, and France and Germany. As the poem commences, the light darkens 'Reflects the evening glow.' The poem happens in a space between the beginning of the night and the end of the day. Loreley sits, particularly over the Rhine. The Rhine for a long time served as a border between the non-German and Germans, forming a barrier between any other power in the German states and Western Europe.

Heine as well makes the scene and the passage illuminate a crucial element of the work with one perspective on the poem, which is unique to him being its presence in his collection. What does a murderous supernatural woman living on the Rhine banks have to do with a homecoming? Her association and that of place is very crucial, being a distinctly German character by being associated with the Rhine.

Finally, the scene and the passage illuminate a crucial element of the use of rhyme. In English the rhyme scheme is ABCB. The Loreley employs the use of allusions, with Lorelai herself being seen as an allusion to the sirens of the myths of the Greek. The poem has as well used vivid imagery describing the setting, for example, when the sun sets on the Rhine.

Another crucial element of this poem is death. The Loreley has lured sailors to their deaths, with the death stories haunting the speaker. Though death surrounds Loreley, she is still portrayed as a beautiful girl. This acts as a way of showing temptation, with men being lured in by her and unfortunately finding death. The narrator, therefore, uses the mentioned scenes and packages to illuminate the crucial parts of the work.

Is it especially indicative of the values of the era in which it was written?

When Heine wrote the poem, he was in his early twenties, with Rhineland being in its first independence decade in more than twenty years. Loreley is a Rhineland figure, being caught between two times and two worlds; the past and the present.

In 1824, Heinrich Heine adapted and seized on Brentano's theme in the famous poem, "Die Loreley." The poem indicates the values of the era in which it was written as it describes the eponymous female being some siren sitting on the cliff which is above the Rhine, and unwittingly distracting shipmen with her song and beauty. Men in the days used to sail on hand-crafted boats, and that explains their sudden collapsing, being that there were no modernized ships. The film, therefore, effectively indicates the values of the era in which it was written.

The song about the particular Rheine Maiden was written as a poem by Heinrich Heine between 1797 and 1856 and was published in 1827. The poem was set to music by Friedrich Silcher between 1789 and 1860. During the Nazi era, there was an attempt to suppress the poem, but the German people did not stand for that. Heine is thus amongst the most famous German poets in the world today. The poem is therefore indicative of the era in which it was written.

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Essay Example on Loreley and the Sailor: Heine's Poem & Its Controversy. (2023, Jan 23). Retrieved from

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