The Dream of the Rood: An Outstanding Archetype of Christian Influence on Anglo-Saxon Heroism

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“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-Sax...

... middle of paper ... to the acceptance of Christianity as a religion by the Anglo-Saxon people. The Anglo-Saxon culture is influenced by Christianity because Anglo-Saxon heroism is influenced by Christianity, proving that heroes were the nucleus of Anglo-Saxon culture. Christ, who is able to conquer not only sin, but death as well, in his resurrection became the ultimate Anglo-Saxon hero. In “The Dream of the Rood” the visionary, after hearing the rood’s account of Christ’s crucifixion, renews his hope and faith, making him an example of the typical Anglo-Saxon, who listened to the story of Christ and is inspired by it, thinking that Christ is an Anglo-Saxon hero. He realizes his role in salvation history and tries to become one of God’s people. It is because of all these elements that “The Dream of the Rood” is an outstanding archetype of Christian influence on Anglo-Saxon heroism.

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