Like Nietzsche, Zarathustra suffers many physical ills and is accustomed to physical and mental hardship. He goes back and forth between spending time in the company of other people and in solitude. Despite a serious intent—he speaks a good deal more than he listens—Zarathustra is not without a sense of humor. The goal of his journey throughout the book is to find the "overman" so he can live in the future of his "children." He describes himself as "a seer, a willer, a creator, a future himself and a bridge to the future ... a cripple at this bridge."
The wanderer/shadow is identified in Chapter 69: The Shadow. This character represents Zarathustra's longings before they are known to Zarathustra. But because he is a "shade" of a man and not the substance, he is unable to become anything more.
This character is a representation of youthful feelings of isolation and separation out of which a quest to discover the self arises.