Exeter Book

The Wife’s Lament: Reconciliation Between One Man and One Woman College

Death is not the only way to lose a person. Often in life, people are lost to their career, to their friends, to their struggles, to their countries. Death is the physical end of one’s life, but people sometimes speak of losing a person who is not yet dead because their relationship has burned out emotionally. Such is the case within the Old English poem, “The Wife’s Lament.” This poem details a wife who is lamenting over the loss of her husband. She has not lost him to death, but to his career. She has lost him emotionally, not physically and the poem is an expression of her grief. Within the Old English poem, there is a strong sense of betrayal, disloyalty and a general loss of trust from the poet’s point of view. However, there is also a sense of forgiveness and understanding, perhaps even sympathy. This empathetic side of the poem gives the idea that not only is the author speaking of only one man/husband in her life, but also that there is a hope of reconciliation between her and her husband.

It has been argued that two men are depicted within this poem. Admittedly, the body of this poem is not very clear. There is a lack of transitions between a number of the lines and the poem is somewhat vague and very unclear,...

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