Jesus - the Epic Hero

969 words 4 pages
Jesus – the Epic Hero
Although the Bible’s description of Jesus and his crucifixion has not been changed, the perception of the people about Jesus has been changing throughout the ages. The poem “The Dream of the Rood” is good example of a unique view of Jesus and his crucifixion. The poem is referred as “one of the first and most successful treatments of the crucifixion” in Old English poetry (Burrow 123).
The poem consists of a mixture of Christian and epic elements and has a very unique style. It represents the crucifixion as a battle and Christ as an epic hero, similar to Beowulf, which is quite different from the texts in the Bible. This contrast can be observed in the description of Jesus’ action during the crucifixion, and in the
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On the other side, like a good king, Jesus rewards his warriors as the Rood says: “he feed us and granted us life, a heavenly home” (The Dream of the Rood 29).
It is difficult to separate the Germanic and Christian motive in “The Dream of the Rood.” “Although the Anglo-Saxons adapted themselves rapidly to the ideals of Christianity, they did not do so without adapting Christianity to their own heroic ideals”(Greenblatt, Stephen, and M. H. Abrams 5). Even though the poem is based on the scripture, Jesus is not represented as a “Passover lamb” but as a courageous Germanic epic hero who is ready to die for his people and reward them for their loyalty with eternal life. In addition, Dockray-Miller concludes that in “The Dream of the Rood” “Christ is presented as an Anglo-Saxon warrior lord, who is served by his thanes, and who rewards them at a feast of glory in heaven” (par. 7). Works Cited
Burrow, John A.. “An approach to ‘The Dream of the Rood .’” Neophilologus 43.1 (1959):
123-133. Springerlink. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.
Canuteson, John. “The Crucifixion and the Second Coming in ‘The Dream of the Rood.’”
Modern Philology 66.4 (1969): 293-297. JStor. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.
Dockray-Miller, Mary. “The Feminized Cross of 'The Dream of the Rood.’" Philogical
Quarterly, Vol 76. 1997, pp. 1 and 3. HighBeam Research. Web. 18 Nov.2010.
Greenblatt, Stephen, and M. H. Abrams. The Norton anthology of English literature . 8th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.


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