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The Song of Roland (1978), Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 274

Essay

The Song of Roland is known to be the most ancient example of the French literary works, which refer to the epic genre. The poem is written in strophes, which length is irregular and which are called laisses, and it is divided in two parts. The first part depicts the events that happen with King Charlemagne and his close people, and the Muslim king Marsilla. The narration of the poem is straightforward, so the order of the happening events and the order of their narration coincide. The main themes of the first part of the poem, as well as the poem in general, are connected with the concepts of honour, courage and treachery. These concepts are personified by two main characters, which are represented as protagonist and antagonist, Roland and Ganelon. Roland is depicted in the poem as brave, honest and fearless knight, who is a right hand of the king Charlemagne, while Ganelon appear to be hypocritical and double-faced person, whose betrayal entails the death of the protagonist.

Although the order of narration is straightforward, the author sometimes resorts to the foreshadowings, which depicts the events that are to come. The example of it is the dreams of Charlemagne, which can be evaluated as prolonged metaphors. The first of his dreams metaphorically depicts how Roland will be destroyed by Ganelon, and the same message is included in the second one where ‘a vicious boar is biting his right arm’. Here the author also uses the metaphorical simile: the right arm is Roland. The same simile can be found in the conversation between Ganelon and Marsilla, where Ganelon compares Roland with the king’s right hand.

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