Epic is a significant combination of the style and the theme in the poem reproduction reflecting the flow of historical or legendary events. The world literature contains a lot of examples of famous epics covering the main features of this genre and highlighting the major moments of history. The Song of Roland is considered to be one of the greatest folk epics in the world literature; this poem is a sophisticated classical work devoted to the war events and highlighting the principle features of the model hero centralized in that time. The comparative analysis of the Song of Roland and two more epics such as Aeneid and Iliad will help to understand the main characteristics of the medieval epic.
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The analysis of the Song of Roland represents the main aspects of the epic characteristics highlighting its similarities and differences with Aeneid and Iliad. Firstly it should be stated that the Song of Roland is related to the cultural artifacts disclosing folk style; it contains contradictory elements in the national life experience that is the language of the death and life used by people. This poem in the world literature is considered to be the interaction of the great artistry and a barbaric thing. The manner of presentation can be characterized by a sophisticated chiastic process of the pre-literate culture. Nevertheless it is important to underline the fact that the unity of the three epics lies in the true hero and perfect vassal representation. The Song of Roland as well as the Iliad and Aeneid follow the features of the folk epic reflecting the great number of the battle scenes proving the real heroism and courage of the protagonists of the stories. It should be noted that the Song of Roland follows very closely the examples of the real standardized epic through the presentation of the main features such as:
- It reflects the nature of the significant crucial period which is famous in the world history;
- The centralization of the hero is not connected with his entertaining abilities but with the disclosure of the model hero being accepted at that period of time;
- The characteristics of the folk epic based on the ancient legends are strictly observed.
The main difference between the Song of Roland and the Iliad together with the Aeneid lies in the epic character. It is important to stress that Iliad and Aeneid refer to the literary epics while The Song of Roland is considered to be a folk type of the epic.
The Song of Roland is synchronization of the historically based event through the principles of the folk poem representation. The elements of the folk epics presented in the Song of Roland follows the principles of the style and manner highlighted in Iliad and Aeneid as to the rules of historical aspects contributed to the nature of the work. The similarities of three analyzed epics managed to illustrate the background of the epics characteristics and underline the flow of features presented in the Song of Roland. Thus, the historical customs and traditions, the main values of the nation and its perception of the nature were thoroughly reflected in the folk epic The Song of Roland. The features of Aeneid and Iliad are considered to be vivid characteristics of the medieval period; despite the fact that The Song of Roland reflected small historical events it appeared to be one of the most significant poem in the world literature.
Lawall, Sarah & Mach, Maynard.The Norton Anthology of World Literature, 2nd Edition. 2001.