The Comparison of the Wanderer and the Seafarer
The Wanderer and The Seafarer belong to elegies, which are ´the most subjective and emotional part of Anglo-Saxon poetry being otherwise much restrained in real feeling and emotion´ . The word elegy is derived from ´the Greek elegos meaning funeral song´ and like all elegies both poems are full of melancholy, mournful mood. The influence of christianity, which penetrated into Anglo-Saxon society in the sixth and seventh century, is evident in both poems. I decided for the analysis of these two poems because they deal with suffering and I wanted to learn how other people, in this case Wanderer and Seafarer, perceive life while suffering and how they solve their misery. This essay will concentrate on the comparison of the poems in terms of these issues: impact of society on heroes, their relation to God,fate, their attitude towards life on Earth, their perception and reaction to suffering.
This aim will be achieved by the analysis of poetic images, explaining metaphors and other poetic devices. Old English poetry contains both religious and heroic elements , the reason for that fact is that ´while the Anglo-Saxons adapted themselves readily to the ideals of Christianity, they did not do so without adapting Christianity to their own heroic ideal´ . So the hypothesis is that both poems present mixture of heroic and religious elements.
The attitude of heroes towards fate is demonstrated in both poems. The Wanderer believes in fate but he does not agree with the course of his fate, which is clear from the line ´Fate is full stubborn´ . He wants to resist fate, he does not want to submit to it, which indicate these lines:
A weary mind cannot resist fate,
nor can a sad soul afford help:
wherefore they who yearn...