Themes and Symbolism in ‘The Dream of the Rood’ Poem Research Paper

August 17, 2021 by Essay Writer

Annotated Bibliography

Snell, M., “The Dream of the Rood”, About.com. The Article provides a comprehension discussion on the poem titled ‘The Dream of Rood’. The origins of the poem in the article are stated to be in the early eighteenth century which was actually unearthed in the late nineteenth century. The context of the poem as per the article is based on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and used symbolism to describe his execution. The criticism against the poem has been highlighted pertaining to the use of pagan beliefs and values as symbolism for Christianity. Moreover, the article also discusses the concept that the poem was a deliberate attempt to bring Christianity closer to the pagans and attract them towards the religion in order to convert them.

“The Dream of the Rood | Introduction”, ENotes.com. The article is very organized and structured, depicting an introduction to the poem, the major plots of the poem as well as the characters in it as well as providing the contextual history of events that take place in the poem. The article also discusses the specific criticism raised for the poem pertaining to positive as well as negative reception of the poem. The positive reception related to the themes of the poem and the literary quality while the negative reception relates to the last few lines which seem to have been written by someone other than the author as they are inconsistent in quality, literary sense as well as style when compared to the rest of the book. The article also discusses the themes of the book which pertain to battle and triumph which is described as the result of the event of the crucifixion.

Scylding, “The Dream of the Rood is a poem about transformation”, Germania, 2004. The article by Scylding reveals the prom titled the dream of the road in a slightly different light. According to the author, the poem provides us with the passion of Christ as well as his crucifixion. The detailed description of the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus more enhanced with the use of symbolism creates the literature an interesting read. The article also states the occurrence of the specific events which in the proem are to lead to the Day of Judgment and the rise of Christ again. The perspective of the article however is specific to Anglo Saxon culture and religion, i.e. how the poem depicts and symbolizes the Anglo Saxon traits and heritage in its context. The author of the article also discusses in his works that the poem depicts the desired characteristics that should be present in a hero/warrior, through the traits and characteristics represented in Jesus Christ. According to the author, the weak figure of Christ has been transformed into a very established and heroic [personality through the works in the prom titled The Dream of the Rood.

Treharne, E., “The Dream of the Rood”, The Literary Encyclopedia, 2003. Treharne the author of the article regards the work titled Dream of the Rood as a highly established, exalted, and potent work of art that is a literary authority in its own position. The article discusses the theme of the prom relating to the life of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion as well as the arrival of the Day of Judgment and the imminent resurrection of Christ himself. According to the author the in the short poem the Dream of the Rood, the narrations of the poem is done in a manner to represent the horror fear as well as awe in witnessing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and how in a symbolic manner it aided in spreading the word of Christianity to the four corners of the world. The author also provides that the poem has been translated and interpreted in numerous diverse ways by different scholars however the underlying theme of the poem is uncontested which pertains to effect the Christ has on his disciples even after his demise.

Graybill, R.V., “The Dream of the Rood: Apotheosis of Anglo-Saxon Paradox.” Graybill also discusses the poem titled the Dream of the Rood in the light of the Saxon beliefs and values and how it provides for the Saxon paradox. According to the author, the poem presents the true spirit of Christianity which in the world of today has been much diversified and diluted due to commercialism well as separation from the religion on part of the followers. The author also discusses the theme of the poem as being very potent, intriguing, and powerful, written as a time when the Saxons were considered to be oafs and a ridiculous race that is willing to accept the Christian missionaries. The poem lays forward the true spirit of Christianity and which is forgiveness and mercy as depicted by the author in the article.

Themes and Symbolism in ‘The Dream of the Rood’

The poem titled the Dream of the Rood is considered to be one of the earliest English literary poems about the religion of Christianity and Christ himself. The proem seems to be apparently very dark as it tends to deal extensively and in detail with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and how the crucifixion actually aided Christianity is spreading far and wide into the world. Snell describes the poem as being profound in nature and providing a glimpse into early Christian England. (Snell)

The main theme of the poem has been describing as that of a battle that is especially eloquent and apparent at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The struggle on part of the Christ and the position he faces faced with leading to his crucifixion portrays him in a positive light as being a hero and savior of the people, while in actually as history describes it, he was actually a very weak person physically who faced harshness at the hands of the Jews and the nonbelievers. The strong imagery used by the author of the poem tends to portray Christ in a very heroic light. Aside from this, the context of the poem is very religious as its presentation and eloquence tend to be based on the many hymns that are present in the religion of Christianity.

Aside from this symbolism has been extensively used in the poem as well which basically relates to the use of the cross and the depiction of the crucifixion as a happy event. “The dream vision uses strong, virile images of Christ in order to reach members of the Anglo-Saxon warrior culture, who valued strength above humility.” (Snell) Some of the critics of the poem have stated that this was an attempt on the part of the author of the poem to deliberately attract the pagans to Christianity and show them the relevance of the crucifixion as a battle won by the Christians.

Moreover, the use of symbolism in the poem also depicts how Christianity and the image of Jesus have been adopted by people to suit their cultures in different contexts around the world. “An examination of “The Dream of the Rood” indicates a double-sided weltanschauung worthy of the most subtle and sophisticated. The rood is both a physical entity and a spiritual symbol, but these are not separated in the poem. Despite the fact that later Christianity divided and dichotomized the form of the spirit, “The Dream of the Rood” unites the physical and the spiritual in such a way that the uniting, the resolution of the paradox, is determined through deep religious faith.”(Graybill) The poem also builds upon the cross which stands as a symbol for crucifixion.

The cross carries multiple meanings for Christian as it represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as well as provides the extent to which Christianity has spread across the world. The four corners of the cross are depicted in the poem to be the warriors of Jesus Christ at the time of the crucifixion which is depicted as a battle in the poem. The poem presents the ‘warriors’ who were marred with the blood of Jesus Christ carrying with them the message of the religion of Christianity to the ‘four corners of the world.’

References

Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature–Vol. I. 8th ed. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2005. (ISBN: 0393925315).

Snell, M., “The Dream of the Rood”, About.com. Web.

“The Dream of the Rood | Introduction”, ENotes.com. Web.

Scylding, “The Dream of the Rood is a poem about transformation”, Germania, 2004. Web.

Treharne, E., “The Dream of the Rood”, The Literary Encyclopedia, 2003. Web.

Graybill, R.V., “The Dream of the Rood: Apotheosis of Anglo-Saxon Paradox”. Web.

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