The Song of Roland

The paper is about the book The Song of Roland that is translated by Glyn S. Burgess. The book is about chivalry, a topic that has been exploited in many books and as a result, sounds a bit redundant. It is mostly about revenge and martyrs, and it is about some crusaders who view the world in terms of good and evil. They use the two traits to judge the other party, and eliminate what they do not like. The setting of the book is historical and written in a clear and precise way. There are the heroes who always save situations and are highly regarded by their subjects. The book is written in a poetic form that makes it captivating to the reader, and entertaining.

The theme of heroism is evident in the book through Roland, a character who is among the greatest knights from the book. In ancient times, there was always a hero in the society who would look after his people. In The Song of Roland, the latter leads his army of some chosen men to war, against a nation, which most of its citizens were pagans and lived in Spain. After the two nations had reconciled, they needed to get a messenger who would be passing messages from the two kings (Sheridan 1990). This was a bold step for someone to accept the job of constantly visiting their rival land, which is also a heroic move. Every nation needs a hero who acts as a role model to the people, and helps in making crucial decisions.

When Roland has to choose a messenger, he chose his stepfather, showing the theme of betrayal in the book. Ganelon, his stepfather was not as strong as the other warriors in the land, and it was not fair for him to be assigned the task. The two characters had been disagreeing on many issues for a while, and Ganelon thought Roland wanted him dead. He also planned an attack on Roland’s soldiers and helped their enemies on the easiest way to ambush. A strong nation needs unity, especially from the people who are in power (Sheridan 1990). Roland and his stepfather did not exhibit the spirit of togetherness, which would have made it easier to conquer their enemies.

The book is set during the Old Testament and religion is highly highlighted. Roland and his men were Christians while the people of Saragossa, the city they were attacking were mostly Muslims. Ganelon had organized a group of pagans to kill Roland, who attacked Charlemagne’s army on their way to Spain (Sheridan 1990). The book is highly religious, and any dead soldier’s soul was taken to paradise by the saints. During the time of the Old Testament, many nations were divided through religious lines, and battles were common. Every religion had its own hero who would lead the nation to war.

As is the norm in most heroic stories, the theme of pride is evident in the main characters, in the book. When Roland was attacked by the pagans, his bishop asked him to call for back up, which Roland quickly refused. He said that they did not need any help and they could fight the battle by themselves, which evidently they could not (Sheridan 1990). Most heroes, especially in chivalry stories are brought down by their pride. A principled leader should weigh his options well and know the time to fight and the time to call it quits. Roland dies when trying to blow the horn so that Charlemagne can add them more troops than they had. If only he had listened to the bishop before the attack started, Roland would have saved his life, and also that of his soldiers.

In The Song of Roland, Roland’s administration can be compared to the modern society, especially because of the tactics applied. Most countries get into war without substantial preparations leading to numerous losses as destruction. Most heroic texts have lessons, and the book highlights the aspect of poor governance, and religious divisions and their effects.

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