The Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, era of England lasted from about 450-1066 A.D. The tribes from Germany that conquered Britain in the fifth century carried with them both the Old English language and a detailed poetic tradition. The tradition included alliteration, stressed and unstressed syllables, but more importantly, the poetry was usually mournful, reflecting on suffering and loss.1These sorrowful poems from the Anglo Saxon time period are mimetic to the Anglo-Saxons themselves; they reflect the often burdened and miserable lives and times of the people who created them. The Anglo-Saxon poems, “The Wanderer,” “The Seafarer,” and “The Wife’s Lament,” are three examples how literature is mimetic, for they capture the culture’s heroic beliefs of Fame and Fate, the culture’s societal structure, and religious struggle of the Old English time period: making the transition from paganism to Christianity.
In order to understand how these poems mirror the Anglo-Saxons’ lives, one must know a little history about the culture. In the fifth century, the inhabitants of the island of Britain hired German mercenaries to defend them against their warring neighbors, the Picts and the Scots. 2 After having defeated the enemies, the pagan Angles, or Saxons, revolted against their former allies, the Britons, killing everyone, no matter what their status or occupation, destroyed towns and buildings, and drove out Christianity, the Britons’ religion. The conquerors were Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Franks, and Frisians, but they all had a similar culture so they became known as Anglo-Saxons. 3
Anglo-Saxons set up Germanic kingdoms, each one ruled by a lord. In the...
... middle of paper ...
...Norton & Company, 1975.
B. Journal Articles
Bruce, Alex. “Exploring the Soul: The Wanderer’s Search for Meaning.” Matheliende.
Volume III, Number I (Fall, 1995). http://parallel.park.uga.edu/~abruce/mathiii1.html
C. Web Sites
Anglo-Saxon England. Internet WWW page, at URL:
Anglo-Saxon Life—Kinship and Lordship. Internet WWW page, at URL:
The Anglo-Saxon Period. Internet WWW pate, at URL:
English Literature. Internet WWW page, at URL:
St. Vede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Internet WWW page at URL:
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Anglo-Saxon poems, “The Wanderer,” “The Seafarer,” and “The Wife’s Lament” The Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, era of England lasted from about 450-1066 A.D. The tribes from Germany that conquered Britain in the fifth century carried with them both the Old English language and a detailed poetic tradition. The tradition included alliteration, stressed and unstressed syllables, but more importantly, the poetry was usually mournful, reflecting on suffering and loss.1These sorrowful poems from the Anglo Saxon time period are mimetic to the Anglo-Saxons themselves; they reflect the often burdened and miserable lives and times of the people who created them.... [tags: Wanderer Essays]
3461 words (9.9 pages)
- The Wife's Lament Over the years, there have been many interpretations of who the speaker of The Wife’s Lament could be. These range from very interesting ideas to ones that seem a little rough around the edges. It is obvious that no sure answer can be found due to the fact that whoever wrote this poem is dead and that the answer will always be in speculation even if it is correct. Hopefully, at the end of this quest I will be slightly more enlightened as to who the true speaker may really be.... [tags: Poet Wife's Lament Speaker]
1530 words (4.4 pages)
- There is a great similarity between the three elegiac poems, The Wanderer, The Wife of Lament, and The Seafarer. This similarity is the theme of exile. Exile means separation, or banishment from ones native country, region, or home. During the Anglo Saxon period, exile caused a great amount of pain and grief. The theme is shown to have put great sadness into literature of this time period. The majority of the world's literature from the past contains the theme of exile. The Wife of Lament is another perfect example of literature with exile, and was written by an unknown author.... [tags: essays research papers]
907 words (2.6 pages)
- Finding Jesus in The Wanderer During the Middle Ages, banishment was a devastating occurrence which plagued many Anglo Saxons. Upon being exiled, men were forced to travel the barren world alone in hopes of finding a new lord under whom they could serve. From this point on, melancholy and loneliness stood as the emotional basis on which every thought and dream was based. Until successfully locating a new mead hall and fellow companions, these loners were forced to look to themselves for comfort, or if they were lucky enough to realize it, the Lord.... [tags: Wanderer]
1863 words (5.3 pages)
- Religion's Effect on The Wanderer “He who is alone often lives to find favor” (Wanderer), but is he searching needlessly. In short, “The Wanderer” is an Old English poem of a man who is exiled due to the loss of his liege lord. The man then finds himself traveling the sea in search of a new land in which he could remain. His travel is accompanied by a lament from his heart. His heart has little hope, and even that is overpowered by the lament for the land he had just been exiled from. Yet hope still manages to find a place in this sad tale, for this oral poem was made into a manuscript by the Christian Monks around the year of 975 (Wanderer).... [tags: Religion Clergy Wanderer Poetry Poem essays]
753 words (2.2 pages)
- The Wanderer: Life in a Transient World Upon their invasion of England, the Anglo-Saxons carried with them a tradition of oral poetry. The surviving verse, which was frequently transcribed and preserved in monasteries makes up the body of work now referred to as Old English Poetry. "The Wanderer," an anonymous poem of the eighth or ninth century, reflects historical Anglo-Saxon life as well as the influence of Christianity during the period. Because both Christian and Anglo-Saxon heroic elements exist in "The Wanderer," there is cause for analysis of the structural and textual unity of the poem.... [tags: Poem Poetry Wanderer Papers]
1814 words (5.2 pages)
- Heathen and Christian Elements in the Wanderer The modern word 'weird' bears only a superficial resemblance to its etymological descendent, wyrd. What now stands for 'strange' and 'queer' only has an archaic connection to its classical meaning of 'Fate'. During the process of evolution, however, the word went through many phases, especially during the formation of the English language by the Anglo-Saxons. Wyrd appears fairly often in Old English poetry and prose, indicating a certain importance in Germanic society. By following the changes the word undergoes, it is also possible to follow some of the changes that the culture undergoes as well. A fine example... [tags: Wanderer]
1754 words (5 pages)
- When exiled from society, loneliness becomes apparent within a person. The poems The Seafarer translated by S.A.J. Bradley and The Wife?s Lament translated by Ann Stanford have a mournful and forlorn mood. Throughout each poem exists immense passion and emotion. In the two elegiac poems there is hardship, loneliness and uncertainty for each character to live with. The Wife?s Lament speaks movingly about loneliness, due to the speaker projecting the lonesomeness of the women who was exiled from society.... [tags: essays research papers]
362 words (1 pages)
- The Absence of Women in Beowulf, The Wife's Lament, and the Battle of Maldon It could be argued that women are indeed present in the minority in surviving Anglo-Saxon poetry, and that therefore, they are made conspicuous through their absence. The fact they may appear less frequently in Old English Literature does not necessarily mean that women were any less significant in society at this time, although this is the conclusion reached by some. It is assumed that women did, in general, have less important and prominent social roles than men at the time, and the power that they did possess tended to be dictated to them by males.... [tags: English Literature]
1929 words (5.5 pages)
- The Wanderer: Christianity for a Pagan World The introduction of Christianity and its culture to the Anglo-Saxon culture brought about an intriguing blend of these two often opposing sets of beliefs. In literature this blend frequently manifests itself as an overlay--Christianity is simply imposed in short spurts upon preexisting works. The demonstration of this practice is not difficult to find in Anglo-Saxon literature. Scanning a section of Anglo-Saxon works from nearly any literature anthology will most likely uncover several such overlays per page.... [tags: Wanderer Essays]
2888 words (8.3 pages)