Exeter Book

The Significance of "The Wanderer" 12th Grade

The Wanderer is a staple of Anglo-Saxon storytelling and has been recited over countless centuries to new audiences. The poem follows the story of a former warrior who is currently living a life of solitude. After the loss of his lord and kinsmen, the warrior (the titular “wanderer”) sets out to sea in an attempt to find some sense of spirituality and understanding after all the tragedy he has endured. The actual protagonist in the poem is a very fascinating, in-depth character who many have surely studied. During the Middle Ages, protagonists of Anglo-Saxon works would often reflect the ideal qualities of a heroic man in society. The Wanderer provides a quintessential example of this aforementioned archetype. The protagonist of The Wanderer is an example of an ideal Anglo-Saxon man because of his honor in regards to nobility, as well as his feelings of religious questioning. These two aspects act as umbrellas and ultimately group together many perfect traits of an ideal Anglo-Saxon, displaying the concept in a more refreshing way than many epic poems of the time.

One of the foundational traits of the Middle Ages was honor, particularly as it pertained to nobility. The relationship between the noble and the thane was an...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1126 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8653 literature essays, 2335 sample college application essays, 378 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in