The Wife's Lament Analysis

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The Balance between The Implicit and The Explicit: “The Wife’s Lament” In “The Wife’s Lament” we see the blurred line between what is explicitly said and what’s inferred. Although some might disagree their degree of importance, I must say that they both make up the poem’s emotional aspect and finality. The poem allows us to make assumptions of women’s hard conditions during those times based on the text: “There I can weep over my exile / my many hardships” (38-39), but we also get the theme of the fickleness of love, which I’ll discuss later on. First of all, my speculations based on the text have made me believe that women were in some sort of helpless state in those ages. They were not able to be independent, thus creating a social…show more content…
She has no friends or company: “while I at dawn am walking alone” (35) , and she most likely has an economic crisis due to “the lack of her lord” (32) which “seizes her cruelly” (33). I suppose that people didn’t want to provide her with a job for infidelity was some kind of unforgivable crime which was dealt on a harsh way. Furthermore, the woman was not only outlawed but also ostracized. She was forced to live “under an oak tree in a den in the earth” (28), just like a witch. I make this parallel since both were social pariahs and it’s reminiscent of an Anne Sexton poem called “Her Kind” which deals with the different situations women were placed in. The difference is that in “The Wife’s Lament” the woman’s final resource was only to curse her husband because she couldn’t actually do something against her oppressor. “May that young man be sad-minded always / hard his heart’s thought” (42-43) and “Be he outlawed far in a strange folk-land— that my beloved sits / under a rocky cliff rimed with frost / a lord dreary in spirit drenched with water / in a ruined hall” (46-49), just like she…show more content…
The last lines of the poem : “Woe be to them / that for a loved one must wait in longing” (52-53) sum up what I think is the other piece of the essence of the lament. Grief and misery were the consequences of breaking the vow of love: “often we vowed / that but death alone would part us two / naught else. But this turned round now…” (21-23) We see that it wasn’t death who tore them apart, but rather the husband’s family. Moreover, I think that love is presented as a fickle yet bizarre thing. In the husband’s case, it wasn’t enough to trust his wife instead of his kinsmen’s suspicions, but we can assume that in some level he still loves her: “He remember too often / a happier dwelling.” (52) While with the wife, even though he banished her, hasn’t stopped loving him for she frequently repeats that she “is all longing”

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