According to the speaker of "The Wanderer," what main characteristic does a wise person have?

According to the speaker of "The Wanderer," the main characteristic a wise person has is years of life experience, particularly those of hardship and trials.

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Themes of loneliness and solitude are central to the meaning of "The Wanderer ." As the speaker reflects upon life's trials, including the slaughters of his kinsmen, he finds that he often awakes alone. This solitude provides plenty of time for self-reflection, and his weary spirit, often wretched and...

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Themes of loneliness and solitude are central to the meaning of "The Wanderer." As the speaker reflects upon life's trials, including the slaughters of his kinsmen, he finds that he often awakes alone. This solitude provides plenty of time for self-reflection, and his weary spirit, often wretched and full of sorrow, recalls better times before all the joy in his life was extinguished.

These are the words of experience, of a warrior who has faced tremendous loss. As he reflects upon the great losses in life, the speaker considers one trait central to the acquisition of wisdom needed to persevere through it all: age. A wise man has endured many hardships and therefore has a greater knowledge about faith and determination. The trials of life have provided the insights that lead to all other traits of a wise man: being slow to speak, having strength in battles, demonstrating a lack of recklessness, avoiding greed, maintaining a spirit that is not overly cheerful, and avoiding boasting. Only by experiencing the negative outcomes associated with these personality traits has the speaker arrived at these conclusions. Life experience, full of hardship and loss, has been the ultimate teacher.

As the poem concludes, the speaker again turns to the idea of wisdom, noting that the wise warrior only seeks consolation from God in the heavens, who has permanence, unlike the fleeting trials of Earth. The griefs of an earthly life produce wisdom, which over time leads to a dependence on God and strengthens the speaker's faith.

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According to the narrator of "The Wanderer," a wise person's main characteristic is their age. This is the first characteristic listed in the poem, and the narrator believes it is necessary that someone be old for them to have learned all the other lessons a wise person must carry. They must be balanced in many ways: both a warrior but also not too eager to destroy, not too afraid and also not too happy. The narrator implies that this kind of balance comes from having seen things destroyed when they should not have been, just as it comes from seeing things abandoned in careless pleasures. This wisdom is not something that can be taught—it can only be felt in the memories of regret of things done wrong in the past.

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According to the speaker in the Anglo-Saxon poem "The Wanderer," men aren't born wise, and to earn that title, they have a tall order to fill. The speaker explains that wisdom only comes with age and experience. It is only after witnessing war, death, and the destruction of beautiful things that a man comes upon the virtues that compose wisdom. He must be patient, display reasonable compassion and thoughtfulness of speech, and be confident and courageous without being irresponsible and reckless. He also notes that a wise man is allowed to brag about his accomplishments, but only after he is certain that he is right.

The speaker also spends a fair amount of time warning against greed. For several stanzas, he laments the damage that greed can do to people, towns, and the earth. Greed makes enemies of men in their quest for fortune, so they isolate themselves and go through whatever means necessary to remain in positions of prestige.

Here wealth is loaned. Here friends are loaned.
Here man is loaned. Here family is loaned—
And this whole foundation of the earth wastes away! (lines 108–110)

The speaker ends by reminding us that the heart of wise men belongs to God and God alone, for is it only in faith that he can live in a "fortress that stands for us all."

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The wanderer seeks to exemplify those characteristics expected of a noble Anglo-Saxon warrior. One of these is wisdom, which as the wanderer makes clear, only comes with years of experience. He then proceeds to reel off a list of examples of what makes a man wise, such as not being weak, reckless, or greedy.

But above all, the wise man, being a spiritual man devoted to serving God, must realize that all the things of this world are temporary and of no value when set against the treasures of the kingdom of heaven. Great halls decay; noble warriors die, some of them carried off by the seemingly endless conflicts in which Anglo-Saxons regularly engage. The wise man understands that all is troublesome in this earthly kingdom, all is fleeting and prone to decay, destruction, and death. In the midst of all this, the wise man knows that true wisdom lies, not in the acquisition of riches and worldly fame, but in seeking the mercy of God in heaven. For it is only in heaven that any kind of permanence can be found.

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In the Anglo-Saxon poem "The Wanderer", the speaker states a wise man must be many different things.

According to the speaker, a wise man must be patient and not too impulsive. He must also be thoughtful of speech, a strong warrior, and never too reckless. He must never be too reckless, fearful, or cheerful. The wise man must not crave materialistic possessions or boast. He must wait before making a promise given that his heart may tell him that the oath cannot be kept. A wise man must also realize that the earth will not last forever; it will eventually lie in waste.

Lastly, a wise man must always keep his faith. This, alone, is what gave the Wanderer the strength to carry on during his life of exile and his quest to find a new ring-giver (king).

 

 

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