A Tableau

In this verse, a  bright sun shines on the sea as a series of tents with white canvas house the ten messengers. Charles is under the pine tree, and there are priests delivering the morning prayers. The sun shines on the armor of the Franks and ten servants in clean robes servants standing in a procession, ready to  obey orders. Just off in the distance are the orchards which are in bloom. The tents which house the envoys are clean and crisp, they should be spacious and friendly. The entire scene permeates luxury and  abundance. It is important that the envoys  are grouped together nad surrounded by their servants. The council assembles around Charles as the sun beams brightly on the sea.

By examining verse IX of “The Song of Roland,” it becomes clear that the imagery and symbolism of the poem are as important as its overt action. In verse IX, many elements of the story’s rising action take place: including the ruse of “false” surrender and the beginnings of a conflict of religious cultures: pagan vs, Christian. The schism between pagan and Christian seems to underly most of the early rising action of the poem. That is why I paid special attention to the symbols of religion in my paratactic examples: the image of the sun, of the Emperor making his morning prayers, and of the sea and the bright servants. The backdrop to the imagery is that the Emperor is not a Christian in deed; his world is autocratic and materialistically bound. The conflict between pagan and Christian is therefore spelled out as a conflict between truth and hypocrisy.  The shining sun is a central image because the conflict between the parties involves rulership and religion: the turbulent sea foreshadows the war, the clean tents and servants show that this is a meeting at the most elite levels of negotiation. The envoys are surrounded because this mirrors, symbolically, the position they face militarily.