Song of Roland

What separates the Roland from Ganelon?

Roland is actually, in subtle ways, not so different from Ganelon in particular, or perhaps the Saracens. Another way of saying this is that maybe Roland has a “dark side.” Discuss ways that the Roland shows some of the same tendencies and motivations as Ganelon. What finally separates Roland from Ganelon?

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I think Ganelon had the potential to be great like Roland. Unfortunately he didn't have the strength of conviction to remain loyal. He showed intelligence and cunning but used it for evil purposes. Ganelon has a deep resentment of Roland that is never completely explained in the poem. Certainly jealousy plays a factor, as we see that Charlemagne treasures Roland the twelve peers while considering Ganelon to be expendable. He conspires with the Saracens to kill Roland and the whole rearguard. He is also bribed for his treachery, which links him to Christianity's great traitor, Judas. At the end of the poem, he is put to trial and executed along with thirty of his kinsmen.