The Song of Roland Themes

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Culture Clash

As the Saracens and Franks encounter each other, differences in culture and religion come to the foreground. The French admire the Saracens for their prowess, the beauty of their armaments, and, at times, their valor. However, Charlemagne's sole purpose in life according to the epic is to defend the Christian religion. As such, all non- believers must be converted or destroyed. Since the Muslim Saracens control Spain, which was formerly Christian, Charlemagne's special mission is to drive the Muslims from Christian lands. The epic shows no real understanding of Islam by the medieval, presumably Christian, author of the text.

Friendship

Olivier and Roland present a model friendship of men brought together in battling a common enemy. They have fought together for many years, and Roland is engaged to marry Olivier's sister. Olivier does not hesitate to criticize Roland for not blowing the horn to summon Charlemagne, and...

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This section contains 1,138 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Song of Roland Study Guide
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Epics for Students
The Song of Roland from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.