Exile and Community in Old English Poetry: A Thematic Study of Three Elegies and Beowulf
|Keywords:||古英文哀歌;《北獒武夫》;文學主題;流亡;社群;英雄;妖異;Old English elegies;_Beowulf_;theme in literature;exile;community;heroic warriors;monster||Issue Date:||2007||Abstract:||null
The treatment and display of the exilic theme in Old English poetry reveal certain Anglo-Saxon attitudes towards exile. A significant facet of such attitudes is that the Anglo-Saxons take both the personage and happening of exile as a crystallization of the unknown, which complexly arouses both disquiet and fascination. While exile is regarded by the Anglo-Saxons as one of the most miserable occurrences, it is feared because of not only the misery and torture it brings forth but also the sense of unknown it embodies. A warrior-member in community can never be sure whether or when he will fall into an exilic condition. He can never predict what those in exile will encounter and how they will react to community as well as to their exilic situation. Hence, the ways in which the Anglo-Saxons view exile are closely similar to, if not the same with, those in which they view the unknown: a sense of disquiet and fear yet meanwhile fascination. The last feeling derives from the knowledge of an answer behind the enigma, such as the possible solutions to the riddles and the explanation for the matter of life and death and of human fate provided by Christian faith. The sense of resolvability makes an enigma pleasing, just as the defeat and death of Grendel and Grendel’s mother render their existence rather desirable in Beowulf. The fact that the need for solutions becomes satisfied leads to pleasure and relief. Moreover, the process of solving an enigma itself is attractive enough to be expressed in Old English poetry. Such fascination can be found through the puzzles in riddles, the ambiguity in elegies, the construction and extinction of exile-monsters, and the display of the theme of exile.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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