Song of Roland Notes

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Roland essay notes

Citation:
Prompt:
In what ways did Ganelon’s character as a feudal warrior conflict with his role in Christian feudal society? What can those conflicts tell us about the writer’s ideal view of society? Thesis:
Ganelon’s traitorous actions against Roland, Charlemagne, and ultimately God reveal the writer’s ideas of the perfect Christian feudal society. While Roland and Charlemagne serve as archetypes of perfect servants of God, Ganelon plays the part of the bad, which accentuates the good.

Misc notes:
Rear guard sacrifice necessary to bring Charles back into picture Roland sacrificed himself to edify Charles
Ganelon was after his own selfish interests, while his loyalty should have lied with Charles, who represented the will of god. Ganelon = Judas, Roland = Jesus

Quotations:
//“No crusading intent can be detected in this enterprise, though there were attempts… to give it such a //coloring, as though Charles had entered Spain to protect the Christians from the cruel yoke of Saracen //oppression – an oppression that in face did not exist.” (SOR, 4)

“The poem… has retained little of the historic event… This non-event has been enlarged into a great epic of treachery and loyalty, and this humiliating defeat at the hands of unknown brigands transformed into a holy crusade, a glorious martyrdom, a great apocalyptic victory ordained by God.” (SOR, 4)

“It was looked upon as the time when the great dream of Christendom had come true, when a worldwide Christian community was established under a pious and crusading Emperor, and all men were bound in ascending loyalty to each other and to the Lord of all. The Carolingian Empire was seen as the fulfillment of a divine intention.” (SOR, 5).

“We see in the Charlemagne of the epic, not the historical king and emperor, but the true and accurate representation of an ideal ardently praised at the time the poem was cast into its present form… all men were in their right places… when all...
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