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Roland in The Song of Roland & Fortinbras Literature & Language Essay (Essay Sample)


1. Discuss Roland (in The Song of Roland) as an epic hero.
2. Discuss Fortinbras (in Hamlet) as an irredentist whose ambition finally pays off.


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1 Discuss Roland (in The Song of Roland) as an epic hero.
Roland is the favorite nephew of Emperor Charlemagne and head of his majesty’s rearguard while Charlemagne’s French army is marching back to Spain. Roland is not only a civil servant of the emperor but he is also the duke of Marches of Brittany (Burgess, 1990).
When the rearguard army under Roland’s control has been suddenly assaulted by a huge army of Saracens headed by King Marsile of Saragossa, it was quite confusing on whether his character was brave or proud. This is because he renounced the help of the main body of Emperor Charlemagne’s army at first which could have saved the rearguard army. This can be called as bravery to protect their emperor. However, given the fact that there were more of them in front, he could have asked help to prevent a massive slaughter of his army which makes him an egotist and arrogant leader (Burgess, 1990).
Roland’s actions led to the annihilation of the entirety of the twenty thousand rearguard army. He only blew his horn to get the bodies of his comrades who died of this sudden attack. Roland’s poor decision-making skills make him less of a hero in the story because a true hero does not on

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