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The portrayal of christs death in the dream of the rood

Background information[ edit ] A part of The Dream of the Rood can be found on the 8th century Ruthwell Crosswhich is an 18 feet 5. There is an excerpt on the cross that was written in runes along with scenes from the Gospels, lives of saints, images of Jesus healing the blind, the Annunciationand the story of Egypt, as well as Latin antiphons and decorative scroll-work. Although it was torn down after the Scottish Reformationit was possible to mostly reconstruct it in the 19th century.

The Vercelli Book, which can be dated to the 10th century, includes twenty-three homilies interspersed with six poems: The Ruthwell Cross The author of Dream of the Rood is unknown, but by knowing the approximate date of the Ruthwell Cross, scholars have been able to suggest the portrayal of christs death in the dream of the rood authors.

However, recent scholarly thinking about the cross tends to see the runes as a later addition to an existing monument with images. Furthermore, Stephens claims that there is a runic inscription on the Ruthwell Cross, that, when translated, comes to mean "Caedmon made me".

Cynewulf lived roughly c. Two of Cynewulf's signed poems were discovered in the Vercelli Book, which includes Cynewulf's holy cross poem "Elene" as well as Dream of the Rood.

Dietrich makes four main arguments: In this dream or vision he is speaking to the Cross on which Jesus was crucified. The poem itself is divided up into three separate sections: Initially when the dreamer sees the Cross, he notes how it is covered with gems.

He is aware of how wretched he is compared to how glorious the tree is. However, he comes to see that amidst the beautiful stones it is stained with blood. The Crucifixion story is told from the perspective of the Cross. It begins with the enemy coming to cut the tree down and carrying it away. The tree learns that it is not to be the bearer of a criminal, but instead Christ crucified. The Lord and the Cross become one, and they stand together as victors, refusing to fall, taking on insurmountable pain for the sake of mankind.

  • At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid;
  • Within mythology, the redeeming hero is a motif, as Carl Jung an influence on Joseph Campbell expresses;
  • In this way, "the poem resolves not only the pagan-Christian tensions within Anglo-Saxon culture but also current doctrinal discussions concerning the nature of Christ, who was both God and man, both human and divine".

It is not just Christ, but the Cross as well that is pierced with nails. Thieme remarks, "The cross itself is portrayed as his lord's retainer whose most outstanding characteristic is that of unwavering loyalty ".

Then, just as with Christ, the Cross is resurrected, and adorned with gold and silver. The Cross then charges the visionary to share all that he has seen with others.

  • In this dream or vision he is speaking to the Cross on which Jesus was crucified;
  • I shook when that man clasped me;;;
  • Dietrich makes four main arguments;
  • In contrast to the rather pessimistic view of the crucifixion in "Christ III" in which humans are made to feel guilty about Christ's death, the approach [29] toward the crucifixion in "The Dream of the Rood" is hopeful and reassuring;
  • In Heathen Gods in Old English Literature , Richard North stresses the importance of the sacrifice of the tree in accordance with pagan virtues;
  • Shadows spread grey under the clouds.

In section three, the author gives his reflections about this vision. The vision ends, and the man is left with his thoughts. He gives praise to God for what he has seen and is filled with hope for eternal life and his desire to once again be near the glorious Cross.

Expert Answers

Scholars like Faith H. Patten divide the poem into three parts, based on who is speaking: Introductory Section lines 1—26Speech of the Cross lines 28—121and Closing Section lines 122—156. Hieatt distinguishes between portions of the Cross's speech based on speaker, subject, and verbal parallels, resulting in: Prologue lines 1—27Vision I lines 28—77: The belief in the spiritual nature of natural objects, it has been argued, recognises the tree as an object of worship.

In Heathen Gods in Old English LiteratureRichard North stresses the importance of the sacrifice of the tree in accordance with pagan virtues. He states that "the image of Christ's death was constructed in this poem with reference to an Anglian ideology on the world tree".

Bruce Mitchell notes that The Dream of the Rood is "the central literary document for understanding [the] resolution of competing cultures which was the presiding concern of the Christian Anglo-Saxons". Thus, for instance, in The Dream of the Rood, Christ is presented as a "heroic warrior, eagerly leaping on the Cross to do battle with death; the Cross is a loyal retainer who is painfully and paradoxically forced to participate in his Lord's execution".

The Dream of the Rood and the Image of Christ in the Early Middle Ages

John Canuteson believes that the poem "show[s] Christ's willingness, indeed His eagerness, to embrace His fate, [and] it also reveals the physical details of what happens to a man, rather than a god, on the Cross".

In this way, "the poem resolves not only the pagan-Christian tensions within Anglo-Saxon culture but also current doctrinal discussions concerning the nature of Christ, who was both God and man, both human and divine". Burrow notes an interesting paradox within the poem in how the Cross is set up to be the way to Salvation: However, to fulfill this grace of God, the Cross has to be a critical component in Jesus' death. Neither Jesus nor the Cross is given the role of the helpless victim in the poem, but instead both stand firm.

The Cross says, Jesus is depicted as the strong conqueror and is made to appear a "heroic German lord, one who dies to save his troops". Rebecca Hinton identifies the resemblance of the poem to early medieval Irish sacramental Penancewith the parallels between the concept of sin, the object of confession, and the role of the confessor.

She traces the establishment of the practice of Penance in England from Theodore of Tarsus, archbishop of Canterbury from 668 to 690, deriving from the Irish confession philosophy. Within the poem, Hinton reads the dream as a confession of sorts, ending with the narrator invigorated, his "spirit longing to start.