Comparing Beowulf And The Wanderer

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The Anglo-Saxon Era was one of transition from pagan beliefs to Christianity, which can be see interwoven in the literature of the period. By the time “Beowulf” was transcribed, pagan mythology and Christian truths were viewed as mutually exclusive ideals, but to many people these tales coexisted within their hearts and minds as is revealed by the story of “Beowulf” as the author transitions seamlessly between the two warring worldviews. The relationship of Christianity and pagan legends is complex and intertwined in literature; often, the pagan legends were recorded by Christian monks, who added hints of Christianity to the pagan tales. Looking back to the society and culture in history can provide valuable insights into today’s world and …show more content…
Even some of the qualities ascribed to a wise warrior are given to love: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (1 Cor 13:4). Patience is attributed to both charity and a wise warrior, as not puffing up oneself is comparable to refraining from a boast. Furthermore, the lamenting style of both “Beowulf” and “The Wanderer” is reminiscent of the writings in some of the Psalms and Proverbs, as well as the book of Ecclesiastes. The lone wanderer cries: “’Where did the steed go? Where the young warrior? Where the / treasure giver? / Where the seats of fellowship? Where the hall’s festivity? / Alas bright beaker! Alas burnished warrior! / Alas pride of princes! How the time has passed, / gone under night-helm as if it never was!” (92-96). This passage corresponds markedly to Ecclesiastes, which states: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour, which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose …show more content…
Lines between the pagan past and the Christian future became blurred as the people transitioned to the new set of beliefs. Today we are facing a similar transition, but we are moving in the opposite direction, moving toward the secular and away from Christianity. The “Beowulf” poet recognized that in the difficult times many people chose to return to their prior heathen beliefs in an attempt to cope, perhaps the people of today when faced with trials will return to the previous Christian beliefs of the near past. By looking to the past, valuable insight for the future can be gained. Pagan and Christian elements were beautifully woven together by the poets of many works of the time. This weave is complex and comes to light with various frequencies in the poetry of the day. Studying this transitional past proves beneficial for the future, giving wisdom for all aspects of life. The Anglo-Saxon era has produced beautifully written poetry that illuminates what life was like for those forbearers of todays

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