In the Anglo-Saxon literature, the scop has a privilege of retaining history, culture and social values of that society. In many cases the scop exercises the power to create stories which reflect the values of that society. The Rood in the ¡°The Dream of the Rood¡± also tells a story of which affects its society and people. The existence of this witness that reports the suffering and the glorification of Christ proves necessary for the people to believe. The Rood becomes a hero that preserves an event that proves crucial to the society. As the Rood observes the suffering of Christ, it also shares with him the pains of crucifixion. In other words, the Rood takes part in Christ¡¯s crucifixion which pertains to the salvation of the souls. Although the Rood declares its god-like qualities along with Christ, there¡¯s a distinction between Christ and the Rood. Therefore, the Rood appears as a metonymic figure which represents the Christ¡¯s suffering but it does not represent Christ. In fact, the Rood assumes the role of Christ as it demands people to worship it.
In this poem, the Rood appears as an Anglo-Saxon hero. However, the Rood fails to share the Christian beliefs when it declares the entity of God along with Christ. Although Christ and the Rood shared the ¡°innocent¡±¡¯ suffering together, this does not provide an adequate explanation for the Rood to become a replacement of Christ. Indeed, the Rood appears as a hero in the Anglo-Saxon society for it reflects the values of many figures that suffer with their Lord.
The Rood shares the suffering endured by Christ. It does not regret its pains but sympathizes with Christ as it brings unto itself the hostilities directed at Christ. Thus, it states, ¡°[how] they mocked at us both¡±(¡°The Rood¡±, 51). Suffering with the members of the community proves important to a hero in the Anglo-Saxon literature. In ¡°The Battle of Maldon,¡± a band of warriors fight to save their community, more specifically, fight to ¡°serve the Earl¡±(The Battle of Maldon, 11). Bryhtnoth is the Earl of these brave warriors who fight unto death in order to carry out their duty. This duty indicates that one does not desert a battleground and retreat in order to save one¡¯s life. Therefore, the heroes share the battlefield alongside their lord and fight until they win or die. Like these heroes of the Maldon, the Rood remains steadfast in sharing Christ¡¯s suffering. It neither decides to desert the Lord nor his suffering. In fact the Anglo-Saxon society views one¡¯s life worthless when one deserts one¡¯s duty to serve the lord.
The consequence of their loyalty leads the warriors of the Maldon to death. Likewise, the Rood also follows Christ in his suffering and to his death. It states, ¡°standing in a sweat of blood/ I was all wounded with shafts¡±(The Rood, 57). Indeed, that ¡°sweat of blood¡± belongs to the Rood and its ¡°wounded¡± body identifies with that of the Christ¡¯s. In fact, while having the knowledge of the...