The Dream Of The Rood English Literature Essay

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The Old English poem The Dream of the Rood is an early Christian verse form written in alliterative poetry depicting a dream vision. Fragments of the verse form were found carved in the runic alphabet on the Ruthwell Cross – an Anglo-saxon memorial dating from the eighth century which is situated in present twenty-four hours Scotland. The verse form was written in a construction which was a popular convention in mediaeval literature called a dream vision. The dream vision allowed the poet to safely speak and depict things which, if they were non portion of a dream, could be considered demonic and profane because of their supernatural character. The dream provokes the imaginativeness, it creates new subjects and subjects, or can be used as a metaphor or a disclosure. The construction of the verse form is non the lone thing interesting about it. The Cross ( the crucifix ) appears in the dream of the talker and tells him of the crucifixion and its experience of it. In this dream, the Passions of Christ are presented from the point of position of the Cross which had ne’er been done earlier in its clip, therefore doing the verse form even more provocative and interesting to analyze.

The Dream of the Rood does non present Christ in the conventional manner. The writer has changed a batch non merely when depicting the scenes before and after the crucifixion but he has altered Christ ‘s character in ways which make him more adjustment for the period the verse form was written. It is a characteristic trait for every age to picture Christ in conformity with its ain character ( Jaroslav Pelikan, 1985 ) . That is why the Jesus Christ of The Dream of the Rood is described by the crucifix as a warrior, a hero and a male monarch. The poet chose on purpose these word pictures because they are consistent with the honor, strength and bravery which were valued extremely in the early medieval period. The relationship between the crucifix and Jesus from the point of position of the cross is one between a Godhead and his mighty, baronial knight. Jesus is seldom addressed as “ Christ ” throughout the verse form. He is “ the hero ” , “ the warrior ” and in some interlingual renditions even as a “ knight ” . These images and pick of words force the reader to tie in Christ with Beowulf. By portraying Christ as a warrior, the poet drastically changes the whole scene of the crucifixion and the really image of Christ. It makes the forfeit non merely stronger in the reader ‘s eyes but turns it into a conflict in which Christ has to contend as a warrior and the crucifix is beside him, non go forthing his side even when the nails struck. The crucifix is Christ ‘s retainer and its mission is to protect him.

Before The Dream of the Rood there had been many verse forms and dramas about Christ or other episodes of the Gospel and in them the image of Jesus Christ with its familiar submissive features unlike those in the verse form. This shows that the poet chose on intent to show the Saviour in a different visible radiation, one which would reply all the epic ideals of the Middle Ages. Like Beowulf Christ is strong and baronial. The poet has besides intentionally changed parts of the crucifixion in order to help this word picture. Christ is non seen transporting the cross or falling under its weight. Nor is he aided in transporting it to the top of the hill while being whipped and humiliated. He walks to the cross which is already in topographic point, and embraces it.

Then saw I mankind ‘s Lord

Hasten with great might, for

He would mount upon me.

The word “ hasten ” ( along with many others throughout the verse form, such as “ eager ” , “ ready ” , “ willing ” ) underline Christ preparedness to give himself for world. The crucifixion is seen as a sort of conflict, and Christ is non nearing the cross in an act of licking but this is the act that he must make as world ‘s Saviour and warrior. He is “ strong and austere of head ” and mount on the cross without any aid. This shows Christ who is in control of the state of affairs and willing to decease. The image of the warrior in the Middle Ages was that of a hero who was non afraid of deceasing. Diing courageously and publically in a glorious conflict was a manner to turn out their trueness and strength. This was besides the manner a warrior was certain to derive immortality and a topographic point at the Mead hall of the Gods. The crucifix takes the topographic point of Christ ‘s sure warrior who fights by his side and has sworn to decease by his side. For the warrior decease is better than a life of shame if they flee to salvage their ain lives. Both Christ and the crucifix are hit and pierced by the nails, both bleed on the right side. This item appears in the really beginning of the verse form and it is the first thing the talker notices about the cross after its wealths. It helps to bespeak that this is no ordinary cross or dream but an existent vision. Death in conflict for the medieval warrior was an act of personal triumph and Christ is winning in delivering world of its wickednesss. The poet ‘s attending is wholly on this triumph over wickedness. The scene is exultant and alters by minimizing the maltreatment Christ was supposed to digest before and during the crucifixion. He has omitted on purpose many inside informations of such nature, like Christ inquiring for H2O in order to strip him of the image of human failing and infirmity. This strengthens the image of Christ as the ultimate hero and brings him closer to the image of Beowulf. It even aims to show him as person who is higher than Beowulf or any other warrior of the Middle Ages

Alternatively of Christ, it is the cross who feels hurting and suffers throughout the crucifixion and afterwards. As Jesus is the “ Godhead ” and king ” , so is the crucifix his pledged warrior and knight. It is bound to function him, to digest and be his shield, to take away the hurting and laud the act of decease in the eyes and ears of those who will listen to its narrative. The crucifix has become witness to Christ ‘s rise and autumn, it describes how the organic structure of his maestro was taken down and buried in a manner suiting that of a warrior. This is once more another scene which the poet alters from the original one from the Gospel. Christ ‘s organic structure is non placed in the nearest available grave but a particular burial chamber is made for him. The entombment in the Gospel is performed in silence while in the verse form a coronach is being sang for Christ. This description echoes that of Beowulf ‘s entombment, doing the accent between the two stronger.

The verse form ‘s whole vision of Christ is one which contradicts the inactive participant wishing to derive salvation but here he is a hero and a sufferer. The really image of the medieval and heroic values. The Dream of the Rood shows how the Anglo-saxons were doubtless ready make the passage to Christianity. Their doctrine was entirely based on pagan religion and needed to spread out further and Christianity gave them that really chance. Such scenes like the crucifixion from the Gospel and other Christian moralss were easier to comprehend and understand shown through the visible radiation of the heroic values. These new values corresponded to the old 1s and their rules. The verse form besides has a more optimistic visible radiation than the original beginning. By turning Christ into a exultant warrior who fights a conflict with the crucifix, that really rood later becomes the really image and symbol of Christian religion and does non reprobate the cross as an instrument of anguish and shame.