The epic poem “The Seafarer” revolves around a man who is in exile in the sea. His exile is self enforced because of his desire to explore new places through travel at sea. His travels happen in the middle of winter. He greatly wishes to return to his homeland where he would be able to socialize in the mead hall with his comrades. Instead, he bares through winter, alone. When spring comes, the seafarer only feels worse because of his wunderlust. He wishes to travel to faraway places. No matter his surroundings, he finds no satisfaction because his soul is dark and lonely. The seafarer expresses his sadness through these lines in the poem: “No passion for women, no worldly pleasures, nothing, only the ocean’s heave; but longing wraps itself around him” (lns. 45-48).
Being lost at sea was a real fear for the Anglo-Saxon people. To ...
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Exile in Old English literature was a common theme. This theme was used so commonly because of the fearful role it played in all lives of Anglo-Saxons. There were many ways to interpret exile in their lives whether it be Earthly or Heavenly. Being in exile meant many things to Anglo-Saxons including pain, both emotionally and physically, loneliness, and suffering. These people relied so heavily on their community. If they did not have other people to lean on, they would not survive. As we see in “The Seafarer”, “The Wanderer”, and “The Wife’s Lament”, exile is a tremendously horrible happening in a life. However, while in exile each narrator reflected on the good and bad in life. They thought of how much they missed the company of other people. The fear of being sent, either by force or self enforced, into exile was a common fear of the Anglo-Saxon society.
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