The messenger to send out the message to

The Song of Roland consists of the one and only Charlemagne and his vast army, the Franks. Charlemagne’s nephew, Roland was one of his best knights, devoted to him position as one of Charlemagne’s best warriors. Charlemagne and his army has roamed around Spain and have conquered all of the cities, however, the only city that they have not conquered is Saragossa. Saragossa is ruled by King Marsile. King Marsile is aware of Charlemagne’s great victories, but does not want Saragossa to be taken away by the Franks. He and his army, the Pagans make a plan to convince Charlemagne not to take their city. King Marsile come up with the plan to send a messenger to lie to Charlemagne that he will convert to the Christian faith, share friendship and give him a great share of his wealth and an abundance of bears, lions, dogs, hawks, and mules. Charlemagne agrees and asks for a messenger to send out the message to King Marsile. Roland chooses his step-father Ganelon to go and send the message because he is a “wise man”.  However, Ganelon is furious that he has been chosen and threats Roland that once he returns, he will want to stir a quarrel and challenge Roland, Oliver and all the twelve peers. When Ganelon reaches King Marsile in Saragossa, Ganelon he mentions how he is going to be able to defeat Roland. Ganelon has become a traitor and has allied with Marsile and the Pagans. When Roland becomes the leader of Charlemagne’s rearguard, that is when Ganelon and the Pagans are able to create a war between France and Spain. This fight lead to the death of Roland, Oliver, and the 20,000 Franks. Before Roland died, he blew the horn to alert the rest of the Franks and Charlemagne that he needed their help at last, because he knew he was hopeless. But once the Frank army arrives with Charlemagne they see the bodies of all the Franks including Oliver and Roland. After All, the Franks were able  to kill a massive amount of Pagans including King Marsile. Because Marsile had died,  Emir from Babylon came with an army to revenge the Pagans and King Marsile. But Charlemagne kills the Emir alone, and the Franks at last conquer Saragossa. Throughout The Song of Roland, Charlemagne and the Franks are known for their Christian faith. When one is close death, Christianity tends to pervade in the poem when they know they are about to reach the other life. The Franks ask God for forgiveness for the sins they have committed. The quote, “Roland feels that is time has come… ‘Oh God, the Almighty, I confess My sins, both great and small, Which I have committed since the time I was born, Until this day on which I have been overtaken,’ He held out his right glove to God; Angels come down to him from Heaven.” (104.2366-2374) This quote shows how as a Christian they are devoted to God, and ask for forgiveness to cleanse themselves. Confessing their sins is important to them even when reaching the peak of their life because they can free themselves from their sins before going on to the next world. Forgiveness is a major theme in The Song of Roland, where not only do the Franks ask God for forgiveness but also, ask each other for forgiveness such as Roland and Oliver. Forgiveness is a powerful aspect when reflecting to the Christian faith. Roland and Oliver relationship demonstrate a good representation of what a good Christian is like. One question I have with the text that had me questioning myself when reading is why would Ganelon betray his step-son and all the Franks? Was Ganelon a true Christian? Even though Roland chose him to be the messenger, he still was telling him that the only reason why he chose him was because there was no one like him, he was the wisest man. Why would Ganelon not accept this compliment? Why would he become so furious and enraged? What is so bad about being a messenger. How could he ally with the Pagans, and plot against his step-son, isn’t this against Christianity? I just want to some kind of clarity of why Ganelon would do such a thing against his own people. I believe something important because what if Ganelon did not revolt against Roland and the other peers, the entire poem would have been different, perhaps the Franks would have won without so many massacres.


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