Exeter Book

The Role of Weather in the Wanderer College

The weather in “The Wanderer” is reflective of the author’s view of the world following his exile. Throughout the poem, weather is utilized in an effort to paint a picture as wretched and sorrowful as the persona’s view of life. As I read through the elegy, my initial thought was that man was in conflict with nature; however, I now believe weather to be a means through which the poet conveys his thoughts in response to his woes.

In the beginning of the poem, it is revealed that the “one alone” must “stir with his hands the frost-cold sea” as punishment for past transgressions (1,4). This sensory language immediately creates an unpleasant scene that appeals to the senses: exiled, the Wanderer is forced to row through wintry waves using only his bare hands. In search of a new lord, the “ice-locked waves” are problematic for the banished Wanderer as he has no means to shield himself from the unforgiving bite of winter, just as he has no Lord to shield him from harm (24). Mother Nature shows no mercy to the scorned warrior, unleashing the full force of her frigid arsenal. Initially, I labeled this harsh weather as the Wanderer’s main problem, but I concluded that, instead, the source of his strife is his exile. The frigid,...

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