Monday, September 20, 2010

Anglo-Saxon Bonding

"So this bad blood between us and the Swedes,
this ... force when they find out
that Beowulf is dead."

             One of the most notable and vital bonds that existed within the Anglo- Saxon culture was that which occurred between a lord and his retainers. Two literary works of the Anglo-Saxon that embodied and placed a great deal of emphasis on that bond were The Seafarer and The Wife’s Lament.  Both of these works illustrate the importance of loyalty and portray the tragedies of separation and exile from one’s lord.   
The Seafarer tells the story of a sailor who was very adept at living on the ocean. For some unknown reason, the sailor feels driven to take to the ocean. Despite the sailor’s obsession with life in the ocean, he decides to attempt leading a life on land with the majority of the human race. Despite his valiant efforts, he could not develop an ardent and meaningful relationship with the human race. Ultimately, he determines that he cannot shy away from the ocean, and he accepts his inclination for life on the water as opposed to dwelling on land with the human race. He remains loyal to the water after feeling the lonely affects of deserting and separating from his calling.
The Wife’s Lament conveys the story of a woman who has endured a great deal of hardships throughout her life. Amongst her list of hardships was her forced separation from her dearly beloved spouse. Due to the spitefulness of her husband’s family toward the relationship that existed amongst this woman and her husband, she was exiled to a forest grove in great isolation from her husband. In this poem, the wife was very loving, caring, and loyal to her groom. The tragedy in this poem is that the wife was banished from her peaceful dwelling with her husband to a forest grove in great seclusion and isolation from human companionship.

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