Friday, October 12, 2012
The techniques in “The Seafarer” and “The Wanderer” relate to Anglo-Saxon literature. Exile and destiny patterns show up in the works of Beowulf, “The Wanderer,” and “The Seafarer.” In these three literary works the use of journey and exile are portrayed, showing the values of the Anglo-Saxons.
The use of exile is used in all three Angle Saxon works. In Beowulf, Beowulf exiles himself from his kingdom choosing to fight his battles alone. In the Anglo-Saxon belief those warriors of bravery and success are held in the highest regard. Beowulf believed that if he defeated his enemies on his own that he would boast himself as a warrior. In Beowulf’s final battle against the dragon ,he insists that “this fight is not yours, nor is it up to any man except to measure his strength against the monster or to prove his worth” (43 Heaney). In “The Seafarer” the speaker exiles himself because of the love for the sea. The speaker talks about how earthly life is a preparation for heaven and the hope for heaven is consolation. Although the speaker notes that he cannot meet this goal of reaching heaven by living on the land because land is inferior to heaven. In the hope of gaining the joys of heaven, the seafarer exiles himself from earthly possession and wealth to live out at sea. The seafarer states, “And who could believe, knowing but the passion of cities, swelled proud with wine and taste of misfortune, how often, how wearily, I put myself back on the paths of sea” (86 Raffel), explaining all the evils of living on land. Lastly the “The Wanderer” is about the speaker who exiled, from his home after a loss of his lord and friends after war time. The man is on a journey for a new lord and is sent out to sea. The speaker notes that “weary with winter I wandered out on the frozen waves, hoping to find a place, a people, a lord to replace” (104 Raffel), expressing his desire to no longer be lonely and to replace his lost friends.
Journey’s elements were used in all three Anglo-Saxon literature works. Beowulf goes on a journey from his land of Sweden to save the Danes from Grendel’s attacks. Beowulf through battle with Grendel gained glory and defeated evil. Beowulf took pleasure in being the hero because it boasted his character. Also, in Anglo-Saxon time those of heroism were seen as more honorable and remembered as a great warrior. In Beowulf’s battle with Grende,l his purpose was “to win the good will of your people or die in battle, pressed in Grendel’s fierce grip”(30 Raffel) this demonstrates the great courage that Beowulf had to give his life to save that of those innocent people. The Seafarer goes on a journey to sea to escape the evils and temptations of land. The Seafarers sees that the sea is a better place for him to get closer to heaven allowing him to maintain a holy character. The Wanderer is sent on a journey for a search to find a new lord and friends. This is because he has recently lost his home and is on the search to start a new life. The journey for the Wanderer creates a very lonely journey for him because he sees himself as isolated. All three Anglo-Saxon literary pieces use the Anglo-Saxon values of loyalty and heroism.
In all three Anglo-Saxon pieces Beowulf, “The Seafarer”, and “The Wanderer” make connection through the use of exile. The purpose of a journey in all three pieces is to search for purpose in their life. Beowulf’s purpose in his exile is to extinguish evil and to boast his character; this is to give him an image of heroism. “The Seafarer” exiles himself to get closer to the path of heaven. The Wanderer’s purpose in his exile is to create a new life after losing everyone including his lord after a time of war. The three pieces also create a journey where Beowulf goes on a journey to kill Grendel. “The Seafarer” goes on a journey to get closer to the heavens, and “The Wanderer” goes on a journey to find a new home.