The Elegiac Quality of the Wanderer and the Seafarer

Topics: Exeter Book, Elegy, God Pages: 4 (1762 words) Published: December 14, 2012
Jessica Hoyt
ENG 297
Professor Felsen
The Elegiac Quality of The Wanderer and The Seafarer
When interpreting the inherent relevance/meaning of the two elegy poems The Wanderer and The Seafarer it is especially important to take note of the context in which they were written. For example, if a literal approach were utilized when analyzing these two poems it would have a considerably negative impact on the perceived intrinsic meaning conveyed by the text. It is thus crucial not only to consider the mental attitudes of the authors/orators but also the time period and society within which these elegies were written. In the case of The Wanderer and The Seafarer it is important to observe that these two poems were written/orated during the Anglo-Saxon era of England. This era is estimated by scholars to have occurred somewhere between 450-1066 anno Domini. Therefore, both The Wanderer and The Seafarer represent the amalgamation between the ideals of Paganism and Christianity which took place in England at that time. In other words, the significance of Christianity as it relates to Paganism within the texts of The Wanderer and The Seafarer should not be ignored. However, before conducting this precise examination it is important to take into account the meaning of several pertinent terms, the understanding of which is central to the comprehension of these two poems. In the first place elegy is the most important term to properly define and comprehend while reading these two poems. An elegy (in this case) is a poem used to articulate the sorrow felt by the writer who is mourning the death of something. This term should not be confused with the term eulogy which in this case would be a poem that honors the something by glorifying it. It is important to realize that in relation to these two elegies the something being mourned can be a person, a civilization, a way of life, youth, a belief system, or in this case a former self. The more generic definition of an elegy is...
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