The Role Of Loyalty In Anglo-Saxon Literature

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Generally speaking, the Anglo-Saxons enjoyed the company of their brethren. Masses slept and ate together in mead halls and clan members appreciated fellow aid in battle. Because of recurring interactions with one another, the Anglo-Saxons developed certain expectations of trust and partnership. In particular the Anglo-Saxons valued loyalty as one of most important qualities of a person—so much so that their works of literature frequently featured prominent acts of loyalty and faithfulness as major thematic concepts and underlying themes, eventually preserving those qualities and developing them into culturally accepted values and ideals.
The Wife’s Lament best exemplifies the magnitude of an individual’s desire to stay faithful. In the poem when the wife and husband vow that nothing should come between them “but death alone”, they stay true to their promise. The wife feels extreme sorrow
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In, The Seafarer, the narrator believes in being loyal to God in order to gain salvation, which means living a humble but miserable life. He says that “the wealth of the world neither reaches Heaven nor remains” and “the days are gone when the kingdoms of earth flourished in glory” (“The Seafarer” 90) therefore, there is no use in acquiring opulence through acquaintance with kings and nobles because instead of bringing one closer to God, those earthly desires will anchor one to the earth. Furthermore, the narrator avoids pleasurable activities because they are distractions. He prefers “drifting through winter on an ice-cold sea” (“The Seafarer” 87) and marveling at God’s creations rather than at man-made cities, in order to devote his loyalty toward God only. Thus, the narrator finds that suffering through life and being faithful to God will lead him to salvation and eternal life. He shows how loyalty is beneficial and why it’s so

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