ENG 260 Week 1 Assignment Old English Language
Write an essay (500−750 words) that addresses the following:
The Anglo-Saxon culture arose out of a blending of various tribes, all of whom spoke a similar language. Briefly discuss the evolution of the dialects into the language you know and are familiar with today. Give examples of at least five words (not found in the lecture material) and show how they have changed and evolved into words that you now use.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the GCU Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
This assignment uses a grading rubric. Instructors will be using the rubric to grade the assignment; therefore, students should review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the assignment criteria and expectations for successful completion of the assignment.
Old English Essay
Both “The Seafarer” and “The Wanderer” are old english, Anglo-Saxon poems. Many poems of the time had very similar themes and subjects. “The Seafarer” and “the Wander” are similar in that both subjects have been exiled, both poems have biblical allusions, and both share a theme of the lack of importance of wealth, however they differ in their protagonists’ feelings on exile and desires.
In both poems the subject of each poem has been exiled from their homeland, but differ in optimism towards their situations. In “The Seafarer” the protagonist was sent to sea where he would be alone and nearly unable to return. Although he enjoys life on the sea, he was sent “…Drifting through winter on an ice-cold sea” where he would grow cold and hungry, and inevitably miserable. “The Wanderer” was forced to abandon his homeland “when the dark earth covered [his] dear lord’s face…” He feels that his entire community is “Homeless and hapless,…” and can never thrive again without a King. He lives out his days in search of a new ruler, all the while feeling pity and despair for his King and himself. “The Wanderer” evidently has a much greater sense of gloom, in contrast with “The Seafarer” who is optimistic for his situation despite it’s hardships. “The Wanderer” misses his old life before “his fortune [was] exile…” left without “…gifts of fine gold; a heart that is frozen, earth’s winsomeness dead.” In contrast, “The Seafarer” was content with life at sea, even enjoying “the passion of…the towering sea!” The concept of the characters feelings drastically affects the tone of the poem as a whole, leaving readers more gloomy and sorrowful in “The Wanderer.”
Both the poems and the characters in them have strong influences of Christianity, but differ in their desires. “The Seafarer” in particular sought a God when he was all alone, and realized that He is the most important thing. “The Wanderer” would pray to to his God, asking for “wassail”, or good health, and “feast.” Although “The Wanderer” did not desire a strong relationship with a God, he did hope that something was listening and looking out for him. They both found a connection to a God through their exile. However, “The Wanderer” sought mostly for a King, rather than “The Seafarer” who just wanted a connection to his God.
Both characters realized that wealth was not worth it once they were exiled, although “The Wanderer” still desired the wealth that he once had before he lost his King. “The Seafarer” recollected that “the wealth of the world neither reaches to Heaven nor remains” and would be useless to him in the future. “The Wanderer” also agreed that “here…,” on Earth, “…Wealth is fleeting, friends are fleeting,” but he still desired “gifts of fine gold.” “The Wanderer” lost his wealth, realized it was not as important as he had once valued it, but still desired to one day regain some of the wealth that he once had along with all that came with that wealth.
“The Seafarer” and “The Wanderer” share similar themes of loneliness and abandonment, as well as similar tones of recollection. Both poems have been exiled, but feel differently on their situations, both found a God through their exile, but sought different things from their God, and both found the lack of importance of wealth, but differed in the extent of that belief. Although the poems have subtle differences, their overarching themes and teachings are very similar.