Song of Roland
More Similar Than They Perceive
In our modern world, the frequency of terrorist activity and the ubiquitous threat of attack has greatly affected the way Western culture has come to regard the religion of Islam. Skewed by the media, society's perceptions have reverted to the views of its European predecessors. It seems the negative attitude toward Islam that so defines today's political landscape stretches as far back as the High Middle Ages, and with this being such a prevalent and powerful force, it is important to examine the roots of this idea as it pertains to evil. Much like today, though to a generally far lesser extent, the Western Europeans in The Song of Roland and the Muslims in the Koran believe their doctrines to be so different that a peaceful coexistence seems impossible when in actuality their beliefs, particularly regarding the notion of evil, are very similar. To both cultures, evil is defined as rejecting the will of God; however, in examining the intricacies of their notions of evil, further similarities will be revealed. This essay will discuss how the Islamic and Western European cultures conceptualize evil in their respective texts, which will enhance the understanding of the long-time rivalry that has existed between these...
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