There are two opposite characters in the “The Song of Roland”: Roland representing the image of Christian warrior and Ganelon symbolizing the image of treachery and dishonesty. The image of Roland is transformed into the image of epic hero being the model of knight for new Crusades.
Roland is considered the symbol of Christian warrior. However, he is too bold and hot-tempered and thus he is strongly criticized by his friends.Compared with Oliver, Roland isn’t wise enough, though he is undeniable the most glamorous held in the poem. For example, the scene of his death is the most powerful scene in the French literature, because Roland’s soul is escorted by the angels to the Heavens. It goes without saying that Roland is loyal and devoted to Charlemagne and it his best quality as a Christian warrior.
Furthermore, Roland is apparently a perfect vassal. For example, he says to Oliver that every warrior has to know his duty and to protect king if necessary at the cost of life. Roland thinks that a real warrior has to beard hardships “for his lord, stand everything, the great heat, the great cold, lose the hide and hair on him for his good lord” (lines 1009-1012). Therefore it is seen that Roland is brave, courageous and strong being an expert fighter.
Nevertheless, his pride is a fatal flaw. (The Song of Roland)Compared with Roland, Ganelon can be considered his complete antipode. Though in the beginning of the poem he is presented as a Christian warrior, later he demonstrates meanness and jealousy. Ganelon is also a great traitor of Christianity because of his treachery. In the end of the poem Ganelon is seen as vengeful character that is willing to “wage a never-ending blood feud with Roland”.
Factually, Ganelon betrays the Christian when trying to save his own life. Ganelon can’t be treated as Christian warrior, because he thinks his own life is more important that that of his master’s. Therefore Ganelon is the symbol of Judas in the poem. (The Song of Roland)In conclusion it is necessary to say that Roland is a real Christian warrior, because he values the life of his lord above, though he surely lacks wisdom.
ReferencesScott-Moncrieff, C. K. (translt.).(1959). The Song of Roland.
Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.