Values of A True Lord in The Song of Roland Essay

Values of A True Lord in The Song of Roland Essay

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Throughout the epic poem, The Song of Roland, the poet essentially dissects the idea of good versus evil as it is represented in contrast between the two opposing armies. Good being the French Christian army led by Charlemagne and on the contrary, the Muslim Sacarens led by Marsile and Baligant representing evil. While the battle between good and evil and Christian versus Muslim wages on throughout the text, the poet also illustrates the characteristics of the true and fake virtues that compose or destroy a knight or lord. An ideal knight or lord encompasses all chivalrous qualities: altruism, generosity and respect. Such qualities are important for boosting morale of the respected army and country. However when standards are not met by knights or lords and a disregard of important lordly and knightly qualities is present then personal downfall is inevitable.
According to the poet, an ideal lord is defined as being totally selfless and faithful toward one another. For example, when the Franks notice they are outnumbered against the Pagans and realize their chances of victory are slim, the poet states, “The Franks see that there are so many pagans/On all sides the fields are covered with them. / Time and again they call upon Oliver and Roland/And the twelve peers to act as their protectors” (Roland, 77 ll 1510-1513). The battle between the Pagans and Christians is noteworthy to Oliver and Roland’s character because even though they are vulnerable to injury, they are willing to sacrifice themselves for their fellow knights. In addition, Charlemagne also shows his selflessness to his lords when he prays for revenge on Roland’s behalf. Stating, “May your love be with me this day/ In your mercy, if it pleases you, allow me/ T...

... middle of paper ... skull and his bones/ . . . ‘Wretched pagan, how did you dare/ Grab hold of me, without thought for right or wrong” (Roland 102 ll 2289-2294). As the reader can’t help but notice once again, even up to his point of death, Roland remains faithful and honest to his king and country.
Although the Christian Franks were defeated by the Pagans, their morale and camaraderie was impenetrable. Throughout the entirety of The Song of Roland examples are given of what composes a true knight or lord. Amongst this symbolic battle of Christianity against Paganism, many lords and knights are acknowledged for their outstanding honor and dedication to their king and country. While several knights disregarded such commendable qualities nevertheless these ideals that promote chivalrous behavior boosts personal and communal morale despite the defeat against the Pagan army.

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