Dream of the Rood is considered to be one of the oldest Christian poems which belongs to the Anglo-Saxon literature. Its authorship is still unknown even today but the text reveals that it is a very old English poem that talks about the personification of a particular tree which was made into a cross where Jesus Christ was crucified. The presence of the cross in this poem and its description in the poem triggers elements of paganism and Christianity at the same time. The fact that the cross associates Jesus’ sacrifice to its own sacrifice by claiming that together they were “nailed” and “bloody”.
It somewhat reveals a sense of blasphemy by comparing the sufferings of Christ to that of a “talking tree”. Analysis of Dream of the Rood Dream of the Rood talks about a dream that goes back to the time when Jesus was crucified to save mankind from sin. In this poem the unknown author describes how the sufferings of Christ can also be felt by the tree where the cross was made upon. With dark nails they drove me through: on me those sores are seen, open malice-wounds. I dared not scathe anyone. They mocked us both, we two together. All wet with blood I was, poured out from that Man’s side, after ghost he gave up (lines 46-49).
The personification of the tree or the cross is somewhat troubling as it is trying to share the burden and glory that Christ experienced in His sacrifice. Clearly, the tree is not human; therefore, there is no way that it could feel the pain that Christ endured during his crucifixion. The cross could not possibly share the glory either as it never affected it in a logical sense. It is quite troubling because of the fact that the narrator aims to convey the message of trying to show its perspective of the crucifixion by means of telling that it experienced the pains and glory too.
It somehow seems to show that Christ’s suffering can be illustrated and elaborated by a mere non-living thing. Also, the idea that the author presented the tree in a rather pagan-like way as it reveals the talking tree shows that associating Christ’s sacrifice with a supernatural being is way too blasphemous. “It was long since–I yet remember it– that I was hewn at holt’s end, moved from my stem. Strong fiends seized me there,30 worked me for spectacle; cursed ones lifted me. . . (28-31). The poem also seemed too violent with the way the poet used words such as “sorrows”, “distressed”, “wet with blood” and “wounds”.
The imagery conjured by the description of the crucifixion reveals a disturbing image of violence. Also, it is noticeable that the poet wishes to emphasize the sacrifice of Christ to the extent that the readers may feel guilt and remorse. It is, of course, a true notion that people must always be reminded of the Lord’s suffering so they can become grateful and appreciative. However, the overly detailed description somewhat replaces the real purpose of the crucifixion. Conclusion There are many aspects in the poem Dream of the Rood that illustrates disturbing images and ideas.
Howevere, it is important to note that this poem is one of the oldest English Christian poems that aims to highlight how Jesus Christ has suffered for our sins. It may be effective in a way that it reminds us again of why we are here for. However, it also important to note that the use of pagan elements such as the tree or the cross which was used for the crucifixion of Christ has some disturbing aspects with regard to illustrating God’s power and sacrifice. Reference “Dream of the rood. ” Retrieved 17 May 2009 from http://faculty. uca. edu/jona/texts/rood. htm
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