Dream Of The Rood

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“The Dream of the Rood” was written in the late tenth century in an environment that was nearly exclusively pagan presenting the Christian dogma in a highly esteemed manner in order to set into motion the blending of Christian and pagan value in the early England. “The Dream of the Rood” was written during a time when pagan ideology, the warrior code, and machismo defined one’s existence. Reputation mattered greatly if not solely on one’s ability to achieve victory in battle. These tales of heroism were fundamental to one’s prominence or the lack of within society as oral tradition remained the only form of transmission for history. Oral tradition played a massive role not only in the transmission of historical accounts but it was woven…show more content…
Being at the centerpiece of Anglo Saxon religion, the author was careful in his portrayal of the rood as he states, “most rare tree, wound in light, wonderful was the triumph of the tree,” (2-8). By beginning the poem in such a way, the author presents a false theme that would’ve engaged the audience of the time and distracted them from the Christian intention of the poem. Within this text, emphasis was placed on the “use of patterns of identification to associate vengeance with devotion,” to God instead of vengeance of one’s enemies (Heckman 1). This change represented a subtle shift from pagan values to Christian as the idea of vengeance itself was not disregarded; however, the way in which it we ought to manifest it does. The poem also “connects heroic behavior to its account of the passion” a theme that was infrequently a priority to be discussed (Henderson 1). The great significance on the heroism demonstrated by Christ as the lone sacrifice for the world appealed to the idea of heroism or glory/lof within Anglo Saxon society, that one’s actions are “worthy of praise, and thus worthy of imitation,” furthermore this suggested the actions of Christ are a model for behavior further perpetuating the goals of church (Baker 1). Another prominent feature is the way in which the conclusion is conveyed. “The Dream of the Rood” closes by empathizes the actions of the dreamer who dreamt of the rood. As it states, “Then I prayed to the tree…May the Lord be my friend,” representing the true theme of the poem that Christ and his actions are worthy of praise as a model of behavior that each man should emulate
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