The Dream of the Rood

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The Combination of Elements to Suit a Specific Culture.

The Dream of the Rood applies medieval beliefs and concepts along with Roman Catholic values to allow the crucifixion of Christ to appear more appealing to the Anglo-Saxon culture. The Dream of Rood relates warrior-like qualities not only to Jesus but also the cross that bore the weight of the Saviour. The image of Jesus that is perceived in The Dream of the Rood differs in many ways from that of the Bible. The Bible portrays the crucifixion as a tragedy with Jesus dying for the sins of mankind, whereas The Dream of the Rood portrays the crucifixion as a bloody battle in which Jesus is a warrior and glorifies Jesus for his bravery. The poem uses a combination of applying heroic values and religious implications as a strategy to convert those individuals with Pagan beliefs to Christianity. Although it is strongly based on the story from the Bible it varies in different ways to suit its audience.

By applying the heroic and warrior-like qualities to Jesus and the cross, it makes the story of the crucifixion more appealing to the Anglo-Saxons of the medieval era. Not only does it makes the story more appealing but it also makes it easier for them to associate with. The Anglo-Saxons were a very warrior based society in which they highly valued strength and bravery. In The Dream of the Rood, the author refers to Jesus as: “a young hero”, “a warrior”, “heroic”, “fair”, “young knight”, “Saviour”, and a “mighty king” (21-23). All of these titles provide the readers with an image of a brave and virtuous warrior. Not only is Jesus portrayed as a warrior, but the cross too becomes personified with warrior like qualities. During the crucifixion the author describes the sufferings of the cross rather than the sufferings of Jesus. In doing so the author allows the readers to associate the pain of the crucifixion with the cross rather than with Jesus. This draws the reader’s attention away from Jesus and creates a...
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