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.

Duty and Responsibility

Charlemagne is the venerable lord of the French fighters. They must serve him, even if this means personal danger or hardship. Roland, eager to serve, tries to volunteer for every mission. When he is appointed to head the rear guard, he vows to protect Charlemagne...

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This section contains 1,099 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.