Personification of the Cross

The Dream of the Rood is about the cross that Jesus was nailed to is telling the narrator the story of the crucifixion. I found it unusual that the author personified the cross itself to speak about the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Unlike other texts that contained magical elements through a dream or appearance of an angel this text shows an actual cross first radiating riches then bleeding and ultimately speaking about its life.  On one hand the poem is promoting Jesus but on the other it is using a magical element to do so.

2 thoughts on “Personification of the Cross

  1. I have studied this poem before and felt that I haven’t appreciated it as much as I do in light of this class. Based on what we have studied up until this point in conjunction with the introduction of the religious theme, the fact that the Rood combines these magical elements with the crucifixion, as you point out, renders it much more interesting. Generally speaking from a modern perspective identifying an object with the death of Christ so strongly would appear blasphemous. However the Rood by its proximity to the death of Christ, shared in Christ’s suffering and was both honored and humbled by this experience. The use of the dream narrative and the magical aspect of the poem expands on earlier fantastical literature from the time, but adds the religious theme. This is indicative of how people during Medieval times came to understand religion.

  2. I think the poem promotes Jesus through its magical elements you are talking about. The speaker seems to be fascinated but also frightened by the unknowing power of God that cannot always be explained. I do think the treatment of the cross in this poem almost humanizes it and makes it more real in this magical state. I find it interesting that this poem blends the spiritual world and the materialistic world so well using the bejeweled cross. Today, they seem to be much more mutually exclusive of one another.

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