Compare and contrast the poems the "Wife's Lament," "The Wanderer," and "The Seafarer."

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These three poems are some of the better-known examples of Old English elegiac poetry. The theme of the outcast, someone who is now alone and outcast from his or her society, forms the basis for all three poems, with the alliterative language across the poems revisiting similar concerns such as "mod" (mind, or mindset) and "wyrd" (fate). Perhaps the major difference between "The Wife's Lament" and the other two is that it offers us an early example of the female voice in poetry, with the woman in question mourning for her "hlaford" in the sense of husband, rather than appealing to her vassal or lord.

It is also worth noting that "The Wife's Lament" can be placed with less certainty into the category of elegy than either of the other two poems. While it is generally thought to be an example of the "frauenlied", or woman's song, in the Germanic tradition, its placement in The Exeter Book has caused some to query whether it may in fact be a riddle poem of sorts. Compare "Wulf and Eadwacer,"...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1021 words.)

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