Beuwuld, the Wanderer and the Seafarer

Topics: Paganism, Beowulf, Anglo-Saxons Pages: 3 (908 words) Published: October 24, 2012
Beowulf, The Seafarer, and the Wanderer accurately reflect the values and ideals of Anglo-Saxon society by illustrating what happens when the chain of loyalty is broken, when a society is without a lord, and the conflict of Christianity and paganism. Out of the four values most important to the Anglo-Saxons, loyalty was the most important; when men are no longer loyal to their lord their society collapses. Loyalty formed the backbone of Anglo-Saxon society and was the only way in which law and order could be maintained and people protected. Loyalty was also the only way through which men acquired wealth and fame. When a man's oath of loyalty is broken, it is a betrayal to the highest value of the society. This is clearly illustrated in Beowulf. When Beowulf goes to fight the Dragon none of his chosen warriors will help him, except Wiglaf, A beaten warrior. None of his comrades Came to him, helped him, his brave and noble followers; they ran for their lives, fled Deep in a wood (746-749). This contrasts starkly to the beginning of the epic where Beowulf's followers and eager to help him fight Grendel. The men's gradual loss of loyalty signifies their society's impending collapse. After Beowulf's death they bury the dragon's great treasure with him. Although the Geats have a brave and noble leader in Wiglaf, he can no longer be confident in his men's loyalty, breaking the backbone of their society. The lord was the most important figure in Anglo-Saxon society. The lord gave rings, laws, and protection to his people. When a society is without its lord, nothing good is possible. As seen in the Seafarer and the Wanderer, when a man loses his lord he wanders around helplessly, doomed to a life of weary exile. The Wanderer sails looking for a new gold lord but, When friends are no more, his fortune is exile.(27). The Seafarer is in self exile to the seas as, The days are gone when the kingdoms of earth flourish in Glory: Now there are no rulers, no emperors, No givers...
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