The Wanderer Analysis

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1 Introduction Most of the canon of Old English Poetry is preserved in four main manuscripts: The Junius Manuscript (11th century), the Vercelli Book (10th century), the Nowell Codex (11th century) and the Exeter Book (10th century). While the Junius Manuscript is special, for it consists solely of religious verse, the other three also contain several poems focusing on religious topics (Keefer 17). Those topics can be separated into four distinct categories, each relying on a different focus: scriptural events, church ritual or practice, the life of saints and finally individual meditations on Christian life (Keefer 17). One specific poem in the Vercelli Book could be attributed to more than a single categorie. On one hand it deals…show more content…
Still, certain words or phrases can be iterpreted differently, resulting in signs of Pagan tradition. As an example, "gliwstafum" could either mean "joyful" or "with magic songs", changing the meaning quite drastically (Salmon 8). One could say that the line between Germanic and Christian elements in "The Wanderer" is blurred, while they lend themselves to the concluding Christian message. "Dream of the Rood" on the other hand is quite obviously very Christian in nature, even though Pagan values can be identified, too. Andrew Breeze highlights its rather original interpretation of the role of Virgin and Croos in the plan of redemption, seeing the poem as a part of a great tradition of Christendom (Breeze 60). Howard Patch also attests to the poets high degree of originality, while relying on almost no conventional Christian material, which shows his deep roots in religious belief itself (Patch…show more content…
The blending of values leads to the heroic triumph of Christ. In this sense, the Germanic tradition of heroism also lends itself to Christianity, but in contrast to "The Wanderer", the connection of Paganism and Christianity result in a combined victory. The traditions and values work together instead of contrasting each other. Both poems share similarities in themes, Pagan and Christian in nature. But while the similar and unique values of those two worlds work to each others benefit in "Dream of the Rood", the similarities in "The Wanderer" solely work for the benefit of Christianity (dramatic theme leads to moralizing message), The unique values of Paganism are cancelled out by the unique values of Christianity. In this sense the two poems are very much opposing in their representation of Christian and Pagan values. Since one of Gordon's statements was crucial to answering the underlying question of this paper, one of her quotes concerning "The Wanderer" seems as a fitting point of

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