“The Dream of the Rood”
In “The Dream of the Rood”, the unknown poet uses lines 125-156 to develop the theme of triumph achieved by Christ as a warrior king, bringing the dreamer to realize there is hope for a better life after death. The poet develops these notions by the use of heroic diction, symbolism, and irony. These lines are significant to the text as a whole because they allow the dreamer to summarize the sermon of salvation that the rood has preached. They also mark the change of reaction given by the dreamer from hopeless to hopeful. One of the major themes developed throughout “The Dream of the Rood” is triumph. In lines 13-16, the dreamer described the tree as being a jewel covered tree of triumph. This brings out the juxtaposition of triumph and glory in which Jesus’ crucifixion had resulted in-He is now seen as the King of Glory (133). In the Anglo-Saxon culture, a warrior is given a token of triumph to indicate what he has accomplished. In this case, it is Jesus receiving the jewel and gol covered rood as a token of triumph. Through the crucifixion, Jesus achieved victory on his journey of redemption of mankind. The rood is now ironically described by the dreamer as the “victory tree”-no longer the “death tree” (127). The cross has become a worshipped symbol of Christ’s triumph in victory. In lines 146-149, the dreamer is reminded of how mankind has been delivered from their sins. Jesus’ suffering brought the dreamer to be optimistic and hopeful for a better life after death. “Hope was made new/ and blossomed with bliss to those burning in fire”. This line refers to the Harrowing of Hell; after Jesus’ death on the cross, He descended into hell from which he released certain souls, conducting them into heaven. Hope was given to those who had lost it and felt were doomed to burn in the fires of hell; to those who felt unworthy to be in the site of God, not having the courage to ask for forgiveness of their sins. The act of Jesus’ crucifixion...
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