Old English Elegy In 'Wulf And Eadwacer'

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‘Wulf and Eadwacer’ is a poem that has been widely reviewed and translated as part of the genre of old English elegy. “The poem has a good deal of ambiguous language which, since the poem has no obvious consistent plot or clearly defined emotional context, allows several possible readings” (Jensen, 374) This can be seen firstly through the uncertainty of the number of characters and their roles within the poem. The separation or absence of a loved one, heartbreak and waiting are also talked about in the poem and are of great importance to old English elegy. Finally the structure of an old English elegy is in the form of a riddle and this is seen in the poem also. One aspect of old English elegy is the uncertainty of identification of characters both in numbers and of their roles. Henry Bradley’s interpretation in 1888 suggests that the poem is a dramatic monologue spoken by a woman and that there are three characters in the poem – the speaker, her lover and her husband Eadwacer. It is certainly possible that this may be the case as one can hear the disparity in the speaker's voice as she longs to be with her lover. The speaker talks about Wulf her lover throughout the poem and only mentions Eadwacer once in the poem. One might think that in this case her marriage has broken down and the love that she once had for her husband has vanished. The…show more content…
How differently it goes for us… (1-3) In conclusion the poem ‘Wulf and Eadwacer’ does fit into the genre of an old English elegy as its language, themes and structures show in the writing. Bibliography: Adams, John F. "Wulf and Eadwacer: An Interpretation". Modern Language Notes 73.1(Jan1958): 1-5.web. Strand Mark, Boland Evan, The Making of a poem: a Norton anthology of poetic forms, New York: Norton, 2000.Print Jensen, Emily. "Narrative Voice in the Old English Wulf". Chaucer Review 13 (1979):
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