The Hero : The King Of Roland As A Hero

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During the Early Middle Ages, a common practice of feudalism began. Knights formed a relationship with a local king in order to receive protection, fief, and justice. In return, knights had the duty to stay true and serve their lord unconditionally, whether on the battlefield, in a council, or wherever the king goes. Likewise, the knights under a lord were called to fight alongside one another unto death. If death grasped ahold of one of their fellow companions, the vassals were called to avenge their comrade’s bloodshed (Stowell). Portrayed as a brave, noble knight, Roland exhibits the ideal characteristics that a king in the Middle Ages would have desired to have under his service. However, Roland suffers from a key internal flaw: pride. A flaw that ultimately brings death and destruction upon thousands of French troops. Yet, Roland is still pictured as a hero by the end of the Song of Roland. Why does he receive so much praise? Because Roland realizes his prideful judgment and responds in a heroic way. Even with his pride, Roland still represents a heroic vassal because of his utmost determination in the face of death, his display of honor to the fallen vassals, and his faithfulness to his heavenly Lord in the end. Roland’s display of pride at the beginning of the poem sets the events in motion for the knight’s downfall. For Roland proudly suggests that his stepfather, Ganelon, represent King Charlemagne as the French messenger. Ganelon reacts furiously because his own

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