The Dream Of The Rood: An Outstanding Archetype Of Christian Influence On Anglo Saxon Heroism

1180 words - 5 pages

“The Dream of the Rood” is a prime example of Christian influence upon Anglo-Saxon heroism. It is a religious short story that recounts the crucifixion of Christ communicated from Christ’s rood to an unnamed visionary. The crucifixion of Christ is depicted as the ultimate act of heroism. However, it is via Anglo-Saxon tradition that Christian ideology manages to influence the definition and imagery of Anglo-Saxon heroism. In “The Dream of the Rood” Christ is an Anglo-Saxon hero. An Anglo-Saxon hero is valiant, strong or mighty and not frightened when in the face of death. An Anglo-Saxon hero can also be a savior to his people. In “The Dream of the Rood” Christ is valiant, strong and not frightened when confronted by death. Christ is also a savior. These topics represent Christianity’s influence on Anglo-Saxon heroism. Through symbolism, Christian principles influence Anglo-Saxon heroism and therefore ecclesiastics were able to manipulate Anglo-Saxons into believing that to be gallant is to be Christian. “The Dream of the Rood” is a paradigm for Christian influence upon Anglo-Saxon heroism.
An Anglo-Saxon hero is courageous and brave in battle. He is the leader of his army and he is their driving force, for ultimately, it his he who will have to fight for his people. In “The Dream of the Rood” Christ is valiant. He is illustrated as a young hero fighting to save his people from their enemy, their enemy being sin. In “The Dream of the Rood” “God himself, threw off His garments, determined and brave.” God is throwing off his clothes in preparation for his battle with death. God throwing off his clothes represented his courage and his readiness. He is not hesitant and does not back down from death. This is a quality that Anglo-Saxon heroes were supposed to show, so Christ, in showing his bravery, is illustrated as an Anglo-Saxon hero. Without Christ, his people would not have been able to defeat their enemy, sin. In fact, Christ’s people didn’t defeat sin. Christ defeated sin. He is unaided in his plight and his people became spectators instead of fellow combatants, for they weren’t great enough, they weren’t powerful enough to fight sin. This is why they needed God.
Another parallel between a typical Anglo-Saxon hero and Christ is unparalleled strength. What sets an Anglo-Saxon hero apart from other Anglo-Saxons is his strength, which in some cases, is supernatural. Christ too has strength that no mere mortal could possess. The Cross of Christ, or the rood, said of Christ “I trembled as his arms went around me”. Christ’s strength is a might to be feared. The strength of the Lord and the strength of the word of the Lord are powerful forces. Sin is forever conquered by Christ and “no one [with sin in their hearts] would stand unafraid of the word the Lord of the world will pronounce.” Those who were sinners were not able to infiltrate the kingdom of the Lord due to Christ’s victory over sin. By having the strength to fight sin, he eternally...

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