Dream Of The Rood English Literature Essay

Modified: 1st Jan 2015
Wordcount: 896 words

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The Dream of the Rood is a religious poem of Old English, which portrays Jesus Christ as a courageous warrior who bravely challenges and defeats immoral action. This characteristic is exemplified when the poet writes:

Then the young hero stripped himself – that was God Almighty – strong and stouthearted. He climbed on the high gallows, bold in the sight of many, when he would free mankind. (28)

The poet’s word choice reflects the image of Jesus Christ as a brave hero and a courageous warrior. Jesus Christ has always been the heroic bravado that humankind worships. Therefore, the reader can conclude that the description of Jesus Christ in this poem promotes the value that was highly expected in the early Middle Age culture. The Dream of the Rood can connect to the Hero’s Journey in two different ways. First, it relates to the stage of “Master of Two Worlds” because Jesus Christ becomes a component of both the nonspiritual and spiritual worlds. Second, it reflects the stage of “Freedom to Live” because Christ’s boldness to confront and defeat sin illustrates that humankind should not be fearful of death and must live in the moment, neither predicting the future nor regretting the past.

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Beowulf depicts many aspects of an epic genre. For instance, Beowulf is outstanding for its great length of comparison, which covers a worthy traditional subject. Additionally, the poem mainly focuses on Beowulf, who is an epic hero that represents the modern cultural values. Finally, Beowulf’s actions illustrate the superhuman feats of strength because Beowulf gainsaid himself the utilization of a sword, in order to have a hand-to-hand combat with Grendel. An exemplification of Beowulf’s bravery actions is described when Hrothgar explains:

I have often honored smaller achievements,

recognized warriors not nearly as worthy,

lavished rewards on the less deserving.

But you have made yourself immortal

by your glorious action… (950-954)

Overall, Beowulf’s outstanding length of poetry lines, the epic hero’s representation of the modern cultural values, and his vigor conclude that Beowulf is an epic poem.

Discussion Board Response

Good evening Nicole,

The Dream of the Rood:

I enjoyed reading this post because it was clear and well organized. You applied the Hero’s Journey to The Dream of the Rood very clearly. Jesus Christ’s bravery to confront immoral action simply depicts that he was a hero. At first, I was having a difficult time deciding why the poem described Jesus Christ’s characteristics the way it did. I was over-thinking and I am not familiar with the Middle Age society. Therefore, it was difficult for me to analyze why he was described as a “God Almighty.” However, I came to realize that maybe the description of his characteristics in the poem is exemplifying him as a “God Almighty,” because he died for his people to live and he set an example to not being afraid of death.


Beowulf definitely fulfills majority of an epic poem requirements. In the introductory of the poem, it mentions that it is notable for its great length of lines. Besides the length, he was obviously an epic hero because the story was about him and his superhuman powers. There are many more aspects in Beowulf that promotes an epic poem, but you have mentioned the important ones.

Dream of the Rood and the Literary Device

The Dream of the Rood is a religious Anglo-Saxon poem of Old English. The theme of the poem is about a dreamer’s interpretation of the Cross utilized in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. This is vividly explicated in the title of the poem because “Rood” stands for Cross. The theme of the poem is also about how Jesus Christ is a courageous warrior who bravely challenges and defeats immoral action. These two themes are illustrated in the following verse:

Then this young hero stripped himself — that was God Almighty —

strong and courageous; he climbed up on the high gallows,

brave in the sight of many, as he set out to redeem mankind.

I trembled when the man embraced me; I dared not bow down to earth,

stoop to the surface of the ground, but I had to stand fast.

I was reared a rood; I raised up a mighty king,

the heavens’ lord; I dared not bow in homage. (39-45)

The poet’s word choice reflects the image of Jesus Christ as a valiant hero and warrior. Although the Cross does “speak” in the poem, the poem emanates from the poet’s perspective.

The Dream of the Rood exemplifies an alliteration literary device. For instance, in line forty-four, the poet repeats the consonant “R” to make the line more memorable to the reader. The Cross knows what its purpose is, which is to serve as a tool of punishment for Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. The Cross admires the strength of the Son of God and experiences it when it embraced him. When this happens, the “Rood” has come to recognize that its purpose in life has been fulfilled and now he must fulfill Jesus Christ’s purpose, which is to redeem mankind.


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