Dream of the Rood & The Bible
The crucifixion of Jesus in the Dream of the Rood varies considerably from the depiction given in the Biblical account of John. Mainly the perspective is different in the sense that the “Dream of the Rood” is told, in part, from the perspective of the cross itself. Referred to only as the “tree” in Dream of the Rood, the author puts considerable attention and detail into describing the eloquence of the cross. “It seemed to me that I saw a very wondrous tree, lifted into the air, enveloped by light, the brightest of trees. That beacon was all covered with gold” (4-6). In the accounts of John, the cross is mentioned only to tell that Jesus carried it himself.
The cross begins to speak to the author in “Dream of the Rood” and tells that its journey “was years ago” and “that [I] was cut down from the edge of the forest, removed from my foundation. Strong enemies seized [the cross] and made me into a spectacle for themselves, commanded me to lift up their criminals. Men carried me there on their shoulders, until they set me on a hill, many enemies secured me there.” (30). The author seems more concerned with the fact that the cross was a sort of vessel or tool, being used by the Lord to fulfill his crucifixion, and therefore pay the debt of sins for mankind. In the story of John, the Bible seems to depict the crucifixion (as do most) as a heinous act against Jesus. The “Dream of the Rood” almost feels that the crucifixion is necessary and should be seen as a joyous occasion. The author goes so far as to tell of how the “tree” had the chance to kill those who were tormenting Jesus, but instead “stood firmly” out of respect for the Son of God. The Bible tells of how the Lord was stripped of his clothing and his garments divided among the men, as a way to shame Jesus. The cross in “Dream of the Rood” however, says, “The young hero stripped himself then (that was God Almighty), strong and resolute. He ascended onto the high...
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