The three poems work to move the reader emotionally through a variety of rhetorical strategies, some of which include the use of certain motifs, symbols, and moral values to evoke meaning for the reader.
Though the poems are individual works and not necessarily related to each other, what common aspects are featured in the poems? Compare either 2, or all 3 and look for common motifs, narrator traits, moral values, etc.
The Seafarer and The Wanderer both employed the first person lament of their woes during the beginning half of their poems. Both poems described, in detail how their natural surroundings were rough and tough on them both. Even the identity, and the names of the poems are essentially similar. A wanderer travels aimlessly, with no sense of direction, and the narrator implies that he wanders around mostly in the natural world/outside. The seafarer has a similar title to wanderer, except he travels by sea to make a living. Both people are intimately connected to the outdoors and the natural world. The religious vein of the second halves of both poems are similar as well. God is praised and the driving force through his nature. He causes destruction as well as beauty. Both poems seem to realize this and praise the Lord for his mighty display of power through man and nature.
All three of the poems include nature and how it relates to the narrator and setting. Religion is also considered part of nature in these poems as how the narrators must overcome their trials psychologically and physically. The narrators in each of the poems must go through hardships that test themselves. It appears that the hardships endured by these narrators are not intentional, and it eats away at their minds.
All of the poems take place within nature (the wooden Cross in “Dream of the Rood” even as a part of nature). While “The Wanderer” and “The Seafarer” are more closely connected in that either protagonist is exiled from their community and living in sorrow, the Cross is also ripped away from Jesus after the crucifixion. All poems go into great detail of the physical destruction of each protagonist, as the Cross recounts the horrors of being nailed and the Wanderer explains the cold death of winter he faces, and the Seafarer describes his starvation and cold as well. All poems also have themes of Christianity, which are in focus toward the end of the poem, wherein the narrator find hope in God.