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The Song of Roland Themes

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This Study Guide consists of approximately 115 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Song of Roland.
This section contains 1,138 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
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Themes

The Chanson de Roland tells of the decisive battle at Roncesvalles, Spain, between Charlemagne's Christian forces and the Saracens, or pagans, led by King Marsile of Saragossa. The knight Roland's bravery and his betrayal by his stepfather, Ganelon, are of central interest in the tale.

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

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This section contains 1,138 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Song of Roland Study Guide
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The Song of Roland from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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