"The Seafarer" and "The Wanderer"
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Both of these poems from ancient Anglo - Saxon origin, with no known authors, are examined in this paper. The following elements are compared tone, imagery, and theme. Even though the circumstances the main character faces within each poem is unique, many parallels can be drawn.
From the Paper:"The tone of each poem begins with Pagan elements and is ended by interjections of Christianity. In "The Seafarer," the first third of the poem does not mention God and instead focuses on the isolation of the main character. Also, a Pagan funeral pyre is included in the poem (line 114), and the Pagan values of pride and glorification after death are praised during the beginning of the poem. Several Christian elements offset this Pagan tone. A clear Christian interjection occurs when the poet writes "A man must conquer pride, not kill it" (line 109) because this statement was against Anglo-Saxon belief. In addition, the lines "Fate is stronger and God mightier than any man's mind" (lines 115-116) and "Praise the Holy Grace of Him who honored us" (lines 122-123) do not fit well with the rest of the poem which focuses more on the glory of man and his individual accomplishments. A similar pattern in tone is evident in "The Wanderer." From the lines "He claspeth his dear lord again, head on knee, hand on knee, loyally laying, pledging his liege in days long past" (lines 36-38) it is clear to the reader that the main character feels much more of an allegiance to his lord than to God. The Pagan concept of fate (line 54) reinforces the lack of Christianity in the poem. However, in the last few lines of the poem, "And happy the man who seeketh for mercy from his heavenly Father, our fortress and strength" (lines 107-108), a Christian concept is introduced which disrupts the Pagan tone of the poem. "The Seafarer" and "The Wanderer" have similar shifts in tone which attempt to Christianize otherwise Pagan poems."
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