Imagery in The Wanderer
The Wanderer opens with an introduction or sort of prologue in which the narrator sets up the initial situation of the poem: There is a lonely person who is suffering “the paths of exile” (5a) and looking for the help of the Almighty. This opening stanza in fact contains the three most important images of the poem: isolation or exile, fate as a controller of life and God as a way to salvation and peace of mind.
Then follows what one would consider the real poem. The narrator introduces us to a second character, the so-called Wanderer, who starts to describe his feelings of solitude. He states that he is completely alone as “There is none now living to whom I dare speak of my innermost thoughts”(9b-11a) The reader then assumes that this person has been in a battle where he has been the only survivor. In this state, the wanderer starts a speech with himself in which notions of identity are deepened. The first image of this identity is to be found in lines 12a-13b, where he says that a man has to keep his thoughts inside of himself. The image of mind as a “spirit-chest” denotes that his thoughts are something really precious to him. Another reason for keeping his feelings and thoughts is because a “sorrowful mind do any good” (16). But here we can find a contradiction: he is not keeping anything, but saying it all. The sadness expressions since the very beginning with the image of winter, which is nothing but death itself, make the reader question what is the point of this poem, introducing a possible curiosity that maintains the reader reading.
After this, we approach to a more specific situation of the wanderer. The real reason of his sadness is the lost of his lord. As a survivor, he had to bury his lord “in the darkness of the land”(23a) and for a warrior this means a failure in protecting his superior. Without his master, the wanderer has completely nothing. This feeling of loneliness is again reinforced by the image of wintry...