Essay on The Dream Of The Rood

1335 Words Oct 9th, 2015 6 Pages
The Dream of the Rood is an Old English poem known for its depiction of one of the most significant events in human history: the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. When compared to the Bible, The Dream is seen to deviate - at times rather significantly - from the traditional account as told in the Gospel of Matthew. The poem’s narrative style, sense of characterisation and use of language form a description that is seemingly far removed from the Gospel. However, these differences exist predominantly on a stylistic level, thus it may be argued that The Dream does project the Gospel’s central message, only doing so through a poetic framework.

The narrator in The Dream involves itself with the story by using the first person, whereas the narrative voice in the Gospel remains distant. In traditional Anglo-Saxon style, the poet of The Dream employs personification, giving the Rood a human voice with which to communicate its vision. It describes the cruel mockery and pain inflicted upon it during the crucifixion:

þurhdrifan hi me mid deorcan næglum; on me syndon þa dolg gesiene, opene inwidhlemmas[…]
Bysmeredon hie unc butu ætgædere” (46-48)

The image of scarred flesh implies that the Rood also possesses a human body, thus by extending its anthropomorphic qualities, we begin to empathise with it as we would with a human character. Furthermore, using the Rood as a means to express human suffering encourages us to reflect on the anguish Jesus would have felt, as both Christ and the…

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