The Wanderer’S Courage
Because of the problematic sequence of tenses that we find in the poem, The Wanderer might best be seen not as a narrative of how an exiled pagan warrior frees himself from the hardships of the path of exile and comes to know the consolation of the God of Christianity but rather as an act of courage, a self-affirmation in the face of the meaninglessness of his life after the death of his lord and the dissolution of his lord’s comitatus. Sitting alone in contemplation, this former warrior recognizes the ephemeral nature of all earthly things, and he realizes that he will find no lasting meaning in the hall of an earthly lord; rather, he learns to face the instability of earthly existence looking for meaning and purpose not in a hall of timber and its temporary joys but in heaven; he affirms himself by embracing the hardships of the path of exile and by declaring his faith in and allegiance to a Lord who transcends this world.
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