Song of Roland Themes


Great and Evil

The Song of Roland provides us Excellent vs. Evil, pure and easy, Star Wars design. The horror of war is not magnified by uncertain moral reasons, as in Homer’s Iliad, nor are heroes hindered by empathy for the opponent, as in the Mahabharata. War is terrific, even attractive. The cost is heavy, but just for the heroes. Bad guys deserve neither empathy nor sorrow. The Franks represent pure Excellent; they are moved by the will of God. The Saracens are wicked, and on dying their souls are dragged down to hell by devils. Much like the Crusades, the war in The Song of Roland is viewed as a holy objective.

Commitment and Vassalage

Heroism in the poem is based on feudal concepts. Even the pagans in the poem can be thought about brave, when they are evaluated in terms of commitment and vassalage. The feudal system connected lords and vassals with a series of obligations and loyalties. A vassal provided his overall commitment in exchange for protection and revenge should the vassal be killed in service of his lord. In The Song of Roland, vassalage is depicted as parallel to Christianity. Roland’s supreme liege lord is God, and it is in serving Charlemagne that Roland fulfills his tasks as a Christian.

The Good-hearted God

God is all-powerful. God is all-good. These 2 statements are presumptions for the middle ages mind. Characters in The Tune of Roland assume that God will intervene in occasions; it seems completely affordable to think, for example, that choosing the verdict at Ganelon’s trial should be done by battle, since God will allegedly assist the guy in the right.

And yet, paradoxically, wicked things take place. The poem manages to turn these occasions into part of God’s strategy. See the analysis of the seventh area of the poem for further discussion of this topic.

The Will of God and Male’s Place

God commands, and Man acts. Although humans often need divine help to carry out God’s strategies, much of the hard work is delegated men like Charlemagne. Faith in an all-powerful and kindhearted God does not indicate that we can be contented. Part of God’s plan is to have guys carry out his wishes for him. God offers assistance, however it is in defending excellent that guy attains brand-new heights of achievement.


Carefully linked to the styles of vassalage and the will of God and man’s place, responsibility is among the key worths of the poem. It is for duty, not love of war, that Charlemagne continues to fight against the forces of Islam. It is out of an inner voice that Roland fights to the death at Rencesvals. Responsibility triggers Charlemagne to avenge Roland’s death. In the poem, task is frequently connected to enjoy. The bonds between Charlemagne and Roland, or between Roland and his guys, are marked by deep respect and love. Responsibility emerges spontaneously from this love, or should, just as unquestioning task follows naturally from the sublime love of God.