Survey of English Literature / Comparison between Beowulf and the Wanderer
10th October, 2013 / Esma Bike Bostancı
BEOWULF AND THE WANDERER
There are many factors to consider in comparing the two poems of the Old English society – Beowulf and The Wanderer. While they have many similarities; they have, within their structure and plot, many differences we can easily find or eventually make out. When we look at both the poems in terms of their genre; while they are both products of the traditional oral literature of the Anglo-Saxons; Beowulf is more of an epic poem elevated in a heroic style with supernatural events such as the defeating of the dragon Grendel by Beowulf, who is a character of noble birth. Whereas The Wanderer is a lyric elegy because it relates the sufferings of a man who has lost his king and companions. Due to the fact that Beowulf is an epic poem, there are dialogues between the characters which are long and ceremonious; relatively, The Wanderer, because it is an elegy, is made up of monologues which are sincere since those speeches are coming from the psychological inner world of the character. Beowulf is a long poem, because there are more events happening and the dialogues are between many characters; The Wanderer is, in comparison to Beowulf, a much shorter poem; due to it being about only one man and his inner emotions. The Wanderer is more direct in references to religious elements such as the god of fate (whom one can find easily in the text) and Beowulf is more indirect in mentioning religious matters (i.e. one would have to search the poem for the phrase ‘Maker of Mankind’1); even so, they both have religious faiths of both Paganism and Christianity; such as the tradition of Paganism of not believing in the world after which makes the people in both the poems bitter; or the fact that they were both written down by religious monks. Another similarity which stands out easily is the heroic code of Old English; for example,...
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