Stoicism in The Dreamer of the Rood Essay

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“The Dream of the Rood” uses stoicism to promise reward for suffering where Christ and the cross are linked, yet paralleled with the dreamer in that he joins in the comitatus of Christ through the cross therefor gaining redemption and eternal life and home in heaven. Christ himself though does not serve the same role as he does in biblical texts, here he is brave and stoic, like a great warrior.
“The Dream of the Rood” presents us with the warrior who is Jesus. This Jesus is not the more passive character that modern religion embraces, but behaves as an Anglo-Saxon warrior as he boldly runs to the cross for personal honor. Whereas his ascension is described as “he sent forth his spirit” (49) rather than “gave up his spirit” in the Bible,
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The cross, once plain wood, is now “exalted over all forest-tress” (91) and risen to the status of a lord. The Dreamer is seeing for himself the validity of Christ’s claims of rewarding his faithful servants. So the Cross, it seems, is now further gift-giving and reciprocating by telling the Dreamer that he has been given a gift by Christ, who died for his sins. The Dreamer interprets the telling of this story by the Cross as a gift, and so in return for this gift that the Cross has given him, the Dreamer tells the story of his dream to others in order to tell the tale and let others know of this great gift that was given to all of humanity by Christ. Its resplendence in its appearance to the dreamer is testament to the validity of its sacrifice in going against traditional Germanic servitude, which is important to addressing the comingling of cultures in The Dream of the Rood. This is certainly not heroism and faithful retainership as the Anglo-Saxons were used to it, but the Dreamer’s vision of the Cross in all its glory gives credence to Christ as a lord and gift giver.
The portrayal of Christ as a warrior fighting for his people in "Dream of the Rood" is a very powerful picture of a hero and savior. Christ is described here as a young hero, a warrior fighting to save his people. Christ and the tree are drenched in blood, covered with markings, and yet they stand strong and have courage. This is truly the mark of a hero in Anglo-Saxon

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