"The Wanderer" is an elegaic poem. Describe the scope of his lament.

1 Answer | Add Yours

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

"The Wanderer" is a typical Anglo-Saxon elegy. Elegies are meant to lament the loss of a loved one--providing a reflection of the loss. The scope of the Wanderer's loss is huge. Not only has he lost all that he has loved, he tells of the loss of the all he has known in life--from kings to great walls.

In the first part of the tale, the Wanderer defines how the loss of his homelands (in his exile, a theme common in Anglo-Saxon texts), his friends and family, and his king have forced the Wanderer to reexamine his life. Compounding the loss of the people around him, the Wanderer recognizes the loss of everything he has ever known in life. The poem depicts the "wealth of the world" lying in waste, decaying walls, and the death of both the winners and losers of battles.

Essentially, the scope of the Wanderer's lament is all encompassing. All has been lost to him but one thing: God. While faced with losing everything he has ever known, the Wanderer realizes that one's faith is all that matters in the end. Therefore, while all material things and life may end, one may stand strong in the fact that faith will never end. It is eternal.


We’ve answered 317,820 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question