The Heroic Significance Of Christ In The — страница 2

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When a hero meets his death, for example, faithful kinsman usually surrounds him. In Beowulf, Wiglaf valiantly stays by his lord’s side during the battle with the dragon and until Beowulf finally passes away. The Battle of Maldon gives another example of this treatment with Birhtwold’s refusal to leave the battle field: “from here I will not turn, but by my lord’s side, by the man I loved, I intend to lie” (Maldon 109). Likewise, as a result of this devotion, men will lavish the hero’s burial site with gifts and treasure. “His [Beowulf’s] royal pyre will melt no small amount of gold” (Beowulf 96). This final act of gratitude allows the kinsman to pay tribute to their lord and hero for providing wealth and protection. Christ, as well, is given this treatment

after his death on the cross. Warriors lifted him from “his heavy torment” (Rood 27) and “began to build him an earth-house… of bright stone” (Rood 27). In addition to adorning the body of Christ, the followers found the cross and “decked me [the cross] in gold and silver” (Rood 27). Christ followers show, by these examples, that they consider him a hero. Because they acknowledge his status as a hero, it would be disgraceful for them to leave his body in a simple tomb or burial site. Now that it is established how Christ fulfills the characteristics, duties and treatment of a hero, it becomes evident that he can provide more than the traditional medieval warrior hero. Christ becomes the ultimate hero or ring-giver out of these poems due to the mortality of Beowulf

and the heroes in The Battle of Maldon. Beowulf’s death brought great concern to his people because of the threat of invasion from enemy tribes. His people were “disconsolate and wailed aloud,” ( Beowulf 99) a woman in Beowulf’s tribe “unburdened… her worst fears…of nightmare and lament, her nation invaded… slavery and abasement” (Beowulf 99). After death, the hero can no longer fight to save his people. Death prevents him from bestowing armor or gold to his faithful followers. The hero is bound by mortality. Although, dying in a battle is perceived as honorable, losing a lord or hero leaves a tribe lost and unprotected. However, Christ overcomes these limits of mankind through his atonement on the cross. It is only through the death of Christ that mankind is

able to enjoy great treasure. His protection does not end at the funeral pyre. Followers will always find comfort from “the Lord…[their] friend who once here on earth suffered on the gallows tree for man’s sins: he freed us and granted us life, a heavenly home” (Rood 28). Mankind is not left with a deep feeling of abandonment. The narrator in The Dream of the Rood relates to this sense of loss by admitting to having few “powerful friends on earth” (Rood 28). However, he finds comfort knowing that one day his loneliness will be taken away in a “heavenly home” (Rood 28). In conclusion, the poet in The Dream of the Rood successfully creates a Christ that resembles the fearsome heroes of the Middle Ages. By doing this, the poet is able to proselytize the benefits and

beliefs of Christianity to the pagan warriors of England. Accurately portraying Christ as a gentle, forgiving, and patient lord would only cause kinsmen to view him in a negative and shameful manner. How could they respect a man that did not fulfill their beliefs about honor and duty? With this belief system in mind, the poet develops an image of Christ that is both fierce and divine. This image is something that the poet’s kinsmen can both relate to and worship.