In 450 C.E. the Anglo-Saxon conquered Britain and brought with them a warrior culture, a seafaring tradition and a pagan belief system, including a grim, fatalistic view of the world. The Anglo-Saxon also brought their stories of adventure and sorrow to share with their people. Some of the stories were written in The Exeter Book are of only a handful of poems obtain Anglo-Saxon poems. Two famous poems from The Exeter Book are “The Seafarer” and “The Wanderer”. Both of these have similar speakers and show the values of the Anglo-Saxon culture. “The Seafarer” is a poem about a man who loves to be on land but knows he must go into sea and sail. “The Wanderer” tells the story of a man who has lost all of his clan mates and now is alone and he is reflecting on the loss of his clan mates. The speakers of “The Seafarer” and “The Wanderer,” display heroism, fate and the concept of family or clan of the Anglo-Saxon culture.
Heroism is defined as the remarkable strength or moral courage. The Anglo-Saxons believed every successful warrior displayed heroism and would fight until the end to demonstrate such courage. In “The Seafarer,” translated by Burton Raffel the lines that best represent heroism are This tale is true and mine. It tells
How the sea took me, swept me back
And forth in sorrow and fear and pain
Showed me suffering in a hundred ships
In a thousand ports and in me (Raffel 1-5)
These lines describe the speaker adventures and are displaying his courage as he faces his worst fears of the sea. The speaker displays heroism by facing his challenges and fears head on. In “The Wanderer” translated by Charles W. Kennedy the lines that exhibit instances of heroism are “Men eager for honor/Bury their sorrow deep in the breast” (Kennedy 16-17). These lines represent heroism because the men wanted honor and were will to fight until the end to die with honor. These men put all of their worries aside and had courage to fight...