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To the short analysis of the seafarer and the wanderer to old english poems. Imagining imagining another time and place far distant from where a person currently lives can be popular culture and stories. Often confuse what the reality might be for those from long ago.
And far away anachronism zuv. People events clothing and how unlived are easy to add into any perceptions england during the period of old english is one time period. When those who are not familiar with it might be mistaken about what life was like for those who lived then mentioned old english.
And what comes to mind is often what existed of the island nation. Many generations later there were no knights in shining armor or damsels in distress wearing fancy dresses kings that ruled vast territories and commanded large armies on horseback wouldnt exist for a few hundred years such romantic scenes are much later during the middle ages. If they ever really existed outside of the imaginative works of art and letters.
The real old english time period was more humble and rather dangerous and chaotic. It was a place between the time that rome left the island because of internal and external threats to its own empire and alfred the greats son becoming the ruler of england the poems were written when tribes led by chieftains fought for land and survival often foreign invaders and a bit later the vikings sought to conquer the locals factions rose and fell with deadly skirmishes to take control or revenge. The common folk mostly either lived off the land when there was a good season of crop growth or fought in wars commanded by the local lords disease was rampant and death.
A basic part of life fortifications were often nothing more than the local church house or manor. There was no reliable safety from ray our soldiers. It was an untamed frontier filled with immigrant.
Most of the immigrants that make up the anglo saxons were of german descent. Who came and conquered. The locals and then themselves took root in the land dating.
When the seafarer and the wanderer were written is not exactly known as with most old english poems. Theyre preserved in the anglo saxon exeter book as part of its collection. They came from the time described above when living was hard and christianity.
Took over as the dominant cultural religion. Both of the poems have clear similarities in descriptions moods and themes in the texts. No doubt they were written by different authors.
But came from the same kind of life experiences voyaging away from their original homes. The commonalities are very intriguing and gives some insight into what life was like during a very chaotic period of history. When there were several transitions going on what stands out the most is the amount of cold.
That is mentioned the poems start out describing a chilling season in the dead of winter. Lone on a ship they feel sorrow and fear among the ice filled waves crashing against their ships the seafarer is brought by a night watch to the prow or above the deck to witness. The dangerous sea thrashing its waves.
The night watch is just as scared as they moved precariously next to the cliffs that could dash the ship into pieces in the wanderer. The poet says they are controlling the direction of the ship in the harsh winter ice waters. Both of them fear for their lives.
But they also have much more personal concerns more than just the cold weather and death on the seas. The reason. Why the seafarer is traveling is not spelled out in the poem.
He is much more concerned with the voyage itself the wanderer on the other hand is much more clear on what brought him across these cold winter waters to travel in exile at first it seemed that he might have killed his lord since i hid my lord in the darkness of the earth refuses to tell anyone later on in the poem. There is more handsome. What happened he sleeps and remembers all the good times.
He had before being forced to leave the home he once knew. But he wakes up to remember the terrible condition he finds himself in traveling alone on the sea as a stranger to everyone he describes how war took off some and destroyed a city bodies were ravaged by birds and wolves. That is if they werent buried first like what he did with his lord when he put him into the dark of the earth.
Most likely. The wanderer escaped during a violent invasion of his homeland and he goes on to live traveling in the cold waters. The poem might have been written as a declaration of survivors guilt.
Hence are dropped in both poems that the writers are old and nearing the end of their lives for the wanderer. All his friends and kinsmen are long gone indicating years have passed since he left home. He states that a man cannot call himself a wise.
Unless he has years behind them they need to learn how not to be too eager or too greedy in their behavior. They must think before they make promises or take any actions having gotten rid of boastful pride. The wanderer.
Most likely saw the results of a less wise life with the destruction of his homeland. The destruction left by a north hailstorm was most likely a metaphor suggesting the invaders who sacked his old home the seafarer is no less thoughtful about the past although unless specific terms he looks at the world around him and questions where all the great kings and the rulers have gone he longs for the days. When kings were doers of good and giver of treasures to the deserving those who remain are weak and live off the past actions of others.
He then describes the physical conditions of a dying. If not already dead man with pale face failing body graying beard and eventually losing all senses giving the dead gold buried with them does not improve their lost condition. The release of death is the end of exile for those who are worthy more than just what they get in this life excel in life for the seafarer is self determined not based on any force of evacuation by violence.
Despite all the cold and sorrowful outlook on life. Something internal draws him to take to the waters. The poems perspective is from the winter months.
But other seasons are mentioned he talks about the groves that blossom indicating the springtime and a new beginning. The crops in the fields grow along with the size of the cities. Theres a feeling of renewal that strengthens the resolve to once again leave the sedentary life and become an exile on a voyage again not that all is well with the springs starting a new season.
To travel the sound of the cuckoo bird in the summer is a sign of the hardships that lucky rich warriors cannot understand who remain in the same place that they do. But he the seafarer doesnt want that kind of life staying secure on the land is a kind of death. When he really wants to follow the whales path.
Wherever fate might take him he trusts in the lord of heaven more than the insecurities of mortal life underneath the hardships declared sorrows ice cold waters and hailstorms the poems are not about the physical journey of exiled sailors. There is a religious and moral message that both of them want to pass on to the readers. Once again.
What they have to say is very similar to each other with only slight disagreements or differences. The seafarer is much more direct in his approach to what he is wanting the reader to spiritually under and as a traveler who seeks to find a home in a foreign land. The least he has to worry about is his lord no earthly pleasures of music women glory or any such mortal experiences exist for him the treasures of the world dont last.
Very long all peoples lives and either with disease old age or at the end of a sword in a violent struggle living a life full of good deeds is all that remains those who do good in the world will be remembered by those who come after while the angels in heaven share. In the joy of an eternal reward for those who have done good deeds. The wanderer agrees the life is harsh and hardly worth the trouble he counsels to not talk about the grief and sorrow.
They are feeling unless they already know the remedy. Most likely that remedy is religious instructions the only one who can understand the inner turmoil and help soothe that the raw emotions is the father in heaven. Or god in both poems.
It is the next life for those who live good lives. Where true treasures and happiness can be found those who seek anything else will be forgotten and in the end have the sorrow of those who felt that in life in the modern western world communication allows people to instantaneously communicate to anyone far away from each other the idea that we can be exiled or do so on our own is not easily drop a bowl anymore for most of human history. It only took going a few miles away from a city or settlement to become lost those in the modern world who do search for an exile.
Often go to very remote places. Where life is more than just a struggle. But survival.
Depends on how well you know living off the land. Yes. Some studies have suggested that we humans are alone as individuals like never before the internet might be a place of infinite personal connections with those we know and people we will never meet by we remain like the wanderer hiding our true selves.
We keep our experiences locked within our hearts and our minds. Even when letting the world see our lives. It is a psychological exile.
Where the search for new information and experiences masks the loss or lack of real relationships. Considering the poems views the world has changed only cosmetically we still break up into factions while wars continue to destroy towns and cities. People seek self made exile and video games and other quasi reality entertainment while not paying attention to other people who surround us both strangers and close relations for many people it can be as lonely and sad in existence today.
As whats equal to the seafarer and wanderer as they travel along the cold sea looking for a new home or a new life. Consider these questions why do you think the two poems are so similar in theme and viewpoint how can you compare the personalities of the two excels by the differences. What might the reasons be today for a person to take a very long or seasonal journey music you .
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