The Wanderer And The Tempest Essay

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The powers of fate and the struggle of free will against it is a concept that has fascinated humankind throughout its history. From the early Greek oral poems to modern cinematic films; the forces that seemingly drive our lives forwards has inspired authors and artists to contemplate its place in our world. There is a clear divide – influenced by changing attitudes towards religion and scientific, rational thinking – between those who view fate as a force that is uncontrollable and immutable, and those who believe it is within man’s grasp to manipulate and impose. This divide is demonstrated through the differences between the Old English poem The Wanderer and Shakespeare’s play The Tempest; two literary texts set within distinct…show more content…
Regardless of which interpretation is used, it is evident that in Old English poetry wyrd is used to represent a concept relating to the way the future of mankind was appreciated as being out of the control of man and instead the result of the imposition of a higher power. The elegy The Wanderer explores an unnamed individual’s psychological experience of being in exile while reflecting on the past and the future of mankind. This theme of the fate of mankind, and indeed the fate of the individual, plays a key role in creating the mood of the poem through its unequal distribution of power. This idea of the wyrd, sometimes attributed directly to God, otherwise simply implicated to being related to a higher power – rather than to another mortal individual - generates an imbalance of power in favour of the greater forces, and consequently has dire psychological effects on the protagonist. Fate is first introduced in the opening five lines of the poem, ending in, “Wyrd bið ful aræd!” Taylor suggests these lines “establish the bound state of things” of which “wyrd is the despairing summation of the effect”. The speaker’s winter setting, status as an exiled loner and despairing tone are all bound together by and a directed effect of the forces of wyrd. The final line suggests that fate is fully established and immutable, it introduces the idea that mankind is unable to escape the events laid out for them – in the

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