Jay Smith Mr. Tonnies British Literature P. 1 September 11th, 2012 A Comparison and Contrast of the Wanderer and the Seafarer Two different men, in Anglo-Saxon time, traveling, wandering the earth. One, hoping he was with family, wishing death would come to him and the other, enjoying the feeling of being alone, free from society. In the poems, The Wanderer and The Seafarer, both men begin without Christianity and as the poem comes to a close, they both find God and learn why it is important to be loyal. Their journey started out having nothing to believe in, feeling alone in the world.
The Wanderer had no hope, he was just going around aimlessly, waiting for death to take him and the Seafarer was sailing around on the sea. But as their death drew closer, both men found God. “Fate is greater and God is mightier than any man’s thoughts. ”(line 115-116 in the Seafarer) “Well will it be to him who seeks favor, refuge and comfort, from the Father in heaven, where all fastness stands. ”(lines 117-119 in the Wanderer). Both of these men turned to God for their finally breath on earth recognizing that God leads to good things. Like it says in the quote from the Wanderer.
God gives comfort to those who seek for it. Both these men go through the loss of social society. They have no one to talk to. The man from the Wanderer was exiled because he failed to complete his duty to his lord. He was forced away from the ones he loves and the city he lived in. “He remembers hall-warriors and treasure-taking, how among youth his gold-friend received him at the feast. Cordle 2 Joy has all perished! ” (lines 35-37 in the Wanderer). He feels he cannot find joy without having his old life. The man form the Seafarer was alone because he preferred it that way.
He found comfort in sailing the sea. It captivated him, constantly grabbing at his attention. He didn’t want the things that everyone dreams of having. “Not for him is the sound of the harp, nor the giving of rings, nor pleasure in woman, not worldly glory. ” (lines 44-47 in the Seafarer). He would rather be alone than with anyone or have the best of the best. Loyalty was the most important value in the Anglo-Saxon culture. When men are no longer loyal to their lord, as seen in the poems the Wanderer and the Seafarer, their society collapses.
When a society is without their lord, nothing good is possible. The Wanderer is sailing around on the sea looking for a new gold lord to follow and hopefully not fail this time, while the Seafarer has decided that life at sea is what he wants. He believes that the days when the kingdoms flourish in Glory are no longer. In the end, these men are two different people with a similar story. When they began their journey, both were Pagan, not believing in a God. They went through the loss of social society, leaving all their things behind in their home, the city they grew up in.
They had no one to go to, no one to talk to, they were on their own. They learned why it is important to keep cultural values, because if you betray your king, then that makes everyone think that its okay, leaving the kingdom in chaos. But this is where the story differs. The Seafarer decided to make the best of his life as it was, living on the sea. While the Wanderer decided he couldn’t be happy without a city or his riches. He wasted the rest of his life trying to find happiness that couldn’t be found.