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Raoul of Cambrai

  • Date Submitted: 02/23/2012 09:18 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.3 
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Jacob Parker
Farmer
History 4B
Section: 11 Fri
Religion and Violence in Raoul of Cambrai and Pope Urban II’s First Crusade Speech
Following the birth of the Christianity, violence against heretics, or those who supposedly were a threat to the religion itself, steadily continued until it culminated in the crusades – the first of which was launched by Pope Urban II. In the speech that launched the crusade the broadening of terms used to classify “the enemy” illustrate the same methods used to justify violence towards others, even those that were Christian, in the tale of Raoul of Cambrai. In both texts the mitigation of violence towards others is propagated by the argument that that the enemy has subject both the religion and people of the victim to harm and disgrace. In each text religion motivates violence by defining clear enemies and being a justification for violence against people that weren’t clear enemies; however, clear impetus for ferocity by religious leader is only identified clearly in the speech because the speaker is in fact a religious leader.
In Raoul of Cambrai there are many instances where the God is utilized by the in order to substantiate past violence or give clear reason for action against the enemy. For example, when the soldier returns to the encampment of Raoul after stealing from the town and attracting unwanted followers, he convinces Raoul to attack the town through a cunning, yet false argument involving vengeance and God. “May God never help your body if you do not take vengeance on the townsmen, who are so rich and proud and haughty. To them neither you nor anyone is worth a farthing…” (Raoul, Stanza 68). Although religion is not the cause of ensuing pillaging of the town, it is the justified by it – without the mention to God not helping the army leader’s body in the afterlife, Raoul may not have had a reason for vengeance on such a ridiculous scale. After the burning of the town results in the death of Bernier’s mother, he...

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