The Wanderer

Start Your Free Trial

What Christian attitudes are found reflected in the following elegies: "The Wanderer" and "The Seafarer?"

Expert Answers info

Margarete Abshire eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

calendarEducator since 2016

write977 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Like many of the Anglo-Saxon texts that have been preserved, these poems come out of a pagan oral tradition. When Christianity spread to Britain and Northern Europe, the old poems acquired a Christian element that sometimes stands in contrast to their pagan roots. 

Both poems reflect on the bitter lonliness of the life of the traveller and the hardship of sea voyages. In “The Wanderer ,” the poet has lost his people; he is utterly alone in the world: there is none alive to whom he dares express his “innermost thoughts;” he contemplates the fallen state of the world—“Indeed I cannot think / why my spirit / does not darken / when I ponder the whole / life of men / throughout the world, / How they suddenly left the hall, / the proud thanes.” In The Wanderer, the ultimate evil of the pagan world—to be without kinsmen, utterly forgotten—is conflated with a kind of cosmic or spiritual destruction: “all the foundation of this world / turns to waste!” The Christian god is...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 618 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write4,625 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial