The_Song-of_Roland_E - Hist 1510 Professor Corpis Ganelons Lack of Chivalry So Ganelon has died a felons death A traitor should not live to vaunt

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Hist 1510 Professor Corpis 11/23/08 Ganelon’s Lack of Chivalry “So Ganelon has died a felon’s death. A traitor should not live to vaunt his deed!” 1 This excerpt from the end of The Song of Roland embodies the character of Ganelon and his utter disregard for the codes of chivalry as he dies a traitor’s death. The Song of Roland is a medieval epic poem that explains the fictional story of Charlemagne’s conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, centering on the Battle of Roncevaux Pass (in which Roland loses his life) and its aftermath. The result of the disastrous defeat of the rearguard at Roncevaux Pass and thus the death of Roland were directly due to the actions of Ganelon. The Character of Ganelon in the epic poem The Song of Roland is one of the few Christians who does not follow the ways of chivalry, but instead likens to the seemingly evil methods of treachery and deceit. In this way Ganelon is portrayed as one of the ultimate evil doers and thus totally lacking in any form of chivalrous masculinity. Ganelon’s first display of non-chivalrous behavior can be seen when the lords gathered to discuss the offered treaty presented by the messengers of the Muslim King Marsile. In oppositions to Roland’s invigorating speech about not trusting the Muslims and going out to fight them gallantly, Ganelon presents the contrasting view. In his support of signing the treaty, Ganelon bashes Roland and his diehard notion of chivalry by saying “the 1  D. D. R. Owen, translator,  The Song of Roland  (London: George Allen & Unxin Ltd., 1972), lines 3974- 3975
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man who asks you to reject these terms has little car, sire, by what death we die.” 2 In this, Ganelon is showing that he would much rather go home and try to win without fighting for the fact that if they don’t sign the treaty and have to fight he may lose his life in battle, something that does not sit well with him. After the king decides to agree to the terms of the treaty, he asks for a volunteer by
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This essay was uploaded on 02/01/2009 for the course HIST 1510 taught by Professor Corpis, d during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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The_Song-of_Roland_E - Hist 1510 Professor Corpis Ganelons Lack of Chivalry So Ganelon has died a felons death A traitor should not live to vaunt

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