An Analysis Of Old French Literature, The Song Of Roland Essay

1003 Words Oct 17th, 2016 5 Pages
Men and beards, two terms that are used synonymously throughout much of history, either through Medieval literature or Contemporary literature. In the epic poem of Old French literature, The Song of Roland, there is much deeper importance behind hairy objects presented in scenes of war with the Saracens, emotional moments of characters, and Thierry’s appraisal in the trial of Ganelon’s fate. The anonymous poet has ascribed various heroic attributes to the men who possess beards: wisdom, experience, masculinity, and high social status. However, some may dispute that alongside these attributes there is irony that stems from the romantic background of the epic as the poet makes both Charlemagne and Thierry display instances of femininity through hairy features being super-sensitive conveyors of emotion as they are tugged, torn, or stroked. Although femininity may skew these attributes, we can trace a connection from the repetition of beards to the fur coat given to Thierry at the very end of the poem, and correlate beards, fur, and ultimately hair as indications of power and status. Furthermore, the poet expresses Charlemagne’s white beard to rationalize how bearded men represent the ideal image followers of Christendom.
We will first examine the actions of both Charlemagne and Thierry in different emotional scenes to reveal the hidden feminine aspects tied to the masculine symbolism of beards. Looking first at Line 3712, Charlemagne is asked about the whereabouts of the…

Related Documents