The heroic traditions of The Wanderer were based on Fate and God. He was believed that they controlled people’s lives and could “put men into positions where it seems impossible for them to emerge with honor”.They are judged by their choice which they carry out their chosen aim, never looking back. The courage to resist one’s fate brought about the idea of Fame, which “is something greater than Fate”: the strength of will and the courage of human beings, and the memory which could preserve their deeds. If he resisted his fate, he had to have courage because it often meant facing great physical hardships, knowing that he would most likely die. But the Wanderer would rather die in an early, courageous death, trying to achieve Fame rather than sitting back and doing nothing, because “Fame dies never for him”.
The lonely wanderer prays often for compassion
And from mercy from Lord God; but for a long time.
Destiny decrees that with a heavy heart he must dip.
His oars into icy waters, working his pasaje over the sea.
He must follow the paths of exile.Fate is inexorable! .
The Wanderer’s religion included the belief of an afterlife in Heaven or Hell; where one went depended on the sins he had committed during his earthly life. Because where one went in his afterlife resulted from his actions, Christians did not believe in the pagan concept of Fate. Instead they trusted in the justice of God. Defeat and misfortune were easier to understand in this religion. If one suffered on earth, but led a good life devoted to God; that’s why the wanderer believed that he would be rewarded for his suffering in the Heaven.
Memorial is the praise of living men
After his death, that he must depart
He shall have done good deeds on earth against
The malice of his foes, and noble works
Against the devil, that the sons of men
May praise after him, and his glory live
For ever with the angels in the splendor.
Where has the horse gone? Where the man? Where the giver of gold? Where is he feasting place? I mourn the gleaming cup, the warrior in his corselet. The glory of the prince.
As regards to the setting, feelings of the wanderer after death of his lord distinguish two kinds of settings: a physical setting, which implies loneliness of place without his Lord, a lonely place rounded by dark waves, sea birds, etc.
And a spiritual setting, which makes reference to the loneliness of wanderer’s heart, who remembers his friend: his Lord and God.
For the wanderer, all the delights of the physical world are gone. He has no mead hall to call his own, no lord to serve, and no fellow kinsmen to protect him. His entire world has been transformed into an unknown and mysterious entity. He realizes that the only true companion to one who is exiled is cruel sorrow and he decides that he is no longer going to look to the past and feed sorrow’s flame, but rather look to the future and extinguish sorrow from his mind.
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Their only hope is to eventually come to a new kingdom where they are welcomed and able to reestablish their life as a fellow man of the mead hall. The wanderer fully understands that his fate is fixed. He will travel relentlessly in search of a new people using hope as his only means of salvation.
He who has had long to forgot the counsel of a beloved lord knows indeed how, when sorrow and sleep together bind the poor dweller-alone, it will seem to him in his mind that he is embracing and kissing his liege lord and laying his hands and his head on his knee, as it some times was in the old days when he took part in the gift-giving.
This passage show us that the wanderer’s sorrow makes him realizad that he is becoming his own victim by allowing sorrow to “bind” him alone while he sleeps. He must stop lamenting about his old lord and find a new one which will never desert him and always be there when he needs him. He will soon come to the realization that the only lord he will ever find which will welcome him with open arms is Christ.
The wanderer is basically casting away his want of a physical world and concentrating on the establishment of a spiritual escape route from all the hurt and pain which has afflicted him. It took being exiled for him to gain the wisdom of knowing that true contentment comes from within. “…this middle-earth each day fails and falls”.
He knows that he must strive to gain the acceptance of a higher being than that of the known world; or human existence continues to defeat him.
And he now must strive to become a part of the the Heavens: “No man may indeed become wise before he has had his share of wisdom in this world’s kingdom”
The code of a comitatus would care for the Wanderer; he allowed to dine in Mead Halls, and if a he was loyal to his lord, the lord would reward his subject with treasures. “The Wanderer” is mimetic when the speakers reflect on the dining halls and rewards during the Anglo-Saxon times.
Whether observation or personal experience, these are events that actually occurred in Anglo-Saxon time. They are not simply stanzas of fiction written by an imaginative author; this poem is reflections of the life of the Anglo-Saxon culture, experiences of the people, the situations that are written, namely, the exiles and separation from lords, are indeed trae of the Wanderer.
As pagan, they believed in many gods, but they also believed strongly in pagan heroic traditions that ruled their society and literature.
The wanderer seems to think that by doing good works and getting to heaven, one will gain fame for doing so. He also still believes in the pagan philosophy of Fate: “Yet fate is mightier, the Lord is more powerful than any man can know.”.Even though he thinks the one and only true God creates one’s destiny; that’s why he can not escape from the traditions of the Anglo-Saxon time.
As a conclusion “The Wanderer”, an elegiac poem give us, as readers in modern days world a glimpse about how life was for the Anglo-Saxons in the early centuries. This experience or observation of the time show how the Anglo-Saxon society was organized and the importance of the lord to his comitatus; traditions and the belief of God and Fate; the Wanderer asks about beliefs of his religion, and show the main struggle of the culture during that time: the transition from Paganism to Christianity.
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