Thursday, September 16, 2010

Journal #7: Recurrent Motifs in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Anglo-Saxon literatures contain many recurring motifs. In “The Seafarer,” one of the motifs is exile. The main character in the allegory is living an honest life out in the sea in exile. In another poem “The Wife’s Lament,” the poem describes an exiled woman who has been separated from her husband. These two poems are related because they both explore a happy past that is clouded by a desolate present. The character in “The Seafarer,” says, “How the sea took me, swept me back and forth in sorrow and fear and pain (3-4).” This shows how the character feels that the sea has taken him, and caused him suffering. His suffering stems from the isolation he feels, “Alone in a world blown clear of love (16).” In the poem “The Wife’s Lament,” the woman exclaims that her suffering is caused by her banishment. She describes herself as a “friendless exile (10)” in her sad story. The idea of being exiled and alone on a journey is common prevalent theme and motif in Anglo-Saxon literature. Being exiled symbolizes characters learning from being alone about their life, and allows them to question life itself.

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