About this sample
About this sample
Words: 595 |
3 min read
Published: Aug 14, 2023
Words: 595|Page: 1|3 min read
The story of “The Wife’s Lament,” who’s author is to this day unknown, tells a tale were a husband and a wife had a strong and timeless marital relationship based on romance and a lifelong commitment, until death pulled them apart. In a similar manner, the epic poem, “Beowulf,” by another anonymous author, the character’s relationships to their families are deeply regarded and prioritized. The familial relationships in “Beowulf” and the relationship of the married couple from “The Wife’s Lament” both exhibit how people are very committed to their marriage and show loyalty to family in this time period, which is analyzed in this essay.
Romance is a vast part of “The Wife’s Lament,” and it shows as the wife realizes that her husband is gone, she was “never able to quiet the cares of her sorrowful mind” (38-39). She recalls swearing “that nothing would ever divide them” (21-22). The husband and wife deeply loved each other and were both profoundly devoted to their relationship. This proves that their connection is based on romance rather than other heartless factors. On a side note, the husband misses and wants to be with his wife. While his wife doesn’t know where he is, she knows that he, “recalls a happier home” (49). Despite the husband’s blood feud, the wife’s uncertainty if she will ever be able to see her husband again, and the fact that he could just leave and his wife would never be able to find him, the wife remains loyal and knows, without a doubt, that her husband would rather be home with her.
This theme of loyalty to family can be traced to the very beginning of Beowulf. When King Hrothgar is referring to his encounter, he says that Beowulf is, “here to follow up an old friendship” (376). Although it is not directly stated, this infers that Hrothgar assisted King Ecgtheow in the past, and that King Ecgtheow family owed King Hrothgar’s family a great debt because of it. Beowulf came all the way to Denmark and risked his life multiple times just to remain loyal to his family and pay off its debt to King Hrothgar. Another aspect of this theme of loyalty to family comes into play a little further into the epic poem when Hrothgar was recounting his past encounters with Beowulf. He says that the king of another clan, “Hrethel the Greath, gave Ecgtheow his daughter in marriage” (374-375). She ended up becoming Beowulf’s mom. However, on the topic of loyalty, this cross-marriage is a prime example of how loyalty to family can be used for political gain. Because Hrethel the Greath’s daughter got married into the Ecgtheow family, that family is likely to become allies with Hrethel’s family rather than attack them or cause any harm to the family.
In the Anglo Saxons time period, loyalty to family was not just a theme, but a powerful trait of humans as a whole. In “The Wife’s Lament,” because of their shared romantic love, the wife was loyal to her husband. In “Beowulf,” members of families remained so loyal that this idea of loyalty was used to strengthen relationships between families. Loyalty is an allegiance to something greater than what we can do on our own. It is something that bonds humans together. Loyalty is a factor that allows us to be human.
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