Contrasting Outlooks in Dream of the Rood and The Wanderer

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Differing Outlooks in Dream of the Rood and The Wanderer

Outlook defines our perception of reality. The characters in Dream of the Rood and The Wanderer maintain opposed perspectives that greatly influence the way they view their common state of desolation. The dreamer and the Cross in Dream of the Rood embrace a religious ideology that gives them hope, whereas the earth-walker in The Wanderer embraces an existential view that leaves him to suffer his loneliness. The characters' differing outlooks greatly influence how they view their exile, their ultimate destination, and the journey to this destination, their "homecoming."

The characters of both works face exile: the dreamer's friends have "gone hence from the delights of the world," the Cross is "taken from [its] stump," and the wanderer is "far from dear kinsmen" (Rood 20-1; Wanderer 69). This exile saddens all of the characters: the dreamer is "all afflicted with sorrows," the Cross is "sore afflicted with griefs," and the earth-walker is "wretched with care" (Rood 19-20; Wanderer 69). While the characters face similar desolation and melancholy, however, they differ greatly in their reactions.

Before the dreamer approached the Cross he was dispirited, but upon hearing t...

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...dle Ages," pp. 1-26; The Dream of the Rood, The Wanderer, (700/900), Five Old English Riddles (pp. 150-51), translated from Old English

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"The Wanderer." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993. 68-70.

Woolf, Rosemary. "Doctrinal Influences on The Dream of the Rood." MAE 28 (1958): 137-53.
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