Dream of the Rood

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Literature 146A
29 August 2012
Response to The Dream of the Rood
In the poem The Dream of the Rood, many parallels between a seemingly inanimate object directly correlates with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Although, Christ is mentioned in the poem he is never the speaker, rather the Rood is personified and is the central speaker and theme of the poem. The poem begins with the dreamer’s account of what he experienced as he saw the rood “gloriously graced” then bleeding as the tree spoke directly to the dreamer. Like Christ has done in biblical stories, the “tree” speaks him in a dream, depicting the first parallel of the Rood and Christ.

The rood tells of how soldiers were forced to carry “him” on their shoulders and set him up on a mountain, just as Christ was forced to do before his crucifixion. The rood continues to display his bravery as he stands steadfast even though the earth was trembling, for he “dare not act against the Lord’s word.” This depiction of bravery in the rood is to parallel the bravery Jesus showed and his experience as there was an earthquake during his crucifixion. He expresses how he was “pierced” just as Christ was pierced, and how he was mocked just as Christ was mocked by onlookers. The cross seems to physically suffer as it “raised up a mighty king, the heaven’s lord; I dared not bow in homage.” This scene represents all the suffering that Christ endured, yet his bravery prevailed.

The rood continues his account as he illustrates his and Christ’s death; “Finally men brought axes to fell us to earth. That was a frightful destiny! They buried us in a deep pit.” Although in the biblical account of Christ’s crucifixion the cross was not buried, the author choose to show a connection between Christ and cross by showing they both perished that day. In the same likeness as Christ, the rood is resurrected and adorned by “friends “who learned about him, just as Christ was adorned after his resurrection. The...
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