Bravery vs. Duty in Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" Poem Review by SBurtis

Bravery vs. Duty in Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"
A brief discussion on the differences between a knight's bravery and sense of duty in Robert Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came".
# 153325 | 805 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on May 22, 2013 in Literature (English) , Literature (Poetry)

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The paper discusses how in the poem, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came", the knight in the poem, Childe Rowland, epitomizes the distinction between bravery and duty, both as an aspiring knight with a mission, and as an individual who is navigating the rocky path of life. The paper shows how bravery and duty are portrayed in a non-traditional sense, since this story is not of nobility, the quest for knighthood, or victory, but a story of life's often dark journey, life's lessons, and victory over oppression. The paper points out that bravery and duty are analogies for perseverance, living, and learning, and even if bravery must be feigned, this poem epitomizes the importance of putting on a brave facade out of duty to oneself and to others.


From the Paper:

"Childe Roland's bravery is twofold. His is the noble courage expected of a knight in even the most oppressive and horrifying circumstances and the courage in facing life's harsh truths and hatred of himself and his life. Browning portrays Roland with false bravado. On the surface, he is bold, resilient, and willing to embrace the journey and its challenges. Beneath this facade, however, live fear, suspicion, and a pessimistic outlook. Childe Roland maintains focus on his destination, but he also sympathizes with those who have come before him in failure. He perseveres because it is the only path he knows. Despite the horrors of his journey and his life, Roland knows only how to strive ahead, whatever the challenges or end (Rahman, n.d.). Despite his sorrow, fear, and pessimism he achieves his goal, finding the Dark Tower and announcing his victory to the fallen heroes who had come before:
"There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew. ``Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.'' (Browning, Stanza XXXIV).""

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning. Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. 1895. A Victorian Anthology, 1837-1895." N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
  • Crowther, Maelgrim. "On the Responsibilities of Knighthood." Mercenaries Medieval Combat Guild. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
  • Rahman, Michael. "Duty and Sacrifice in "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"." The Victorian Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.

Cite this Poem Review:

APA Format

Bravery vs. Duty in Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" (2013, May 22) Retrieved November 26, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Bravery vs. Duty in Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"" 22 May 2013. Web. 26 November. 2020. <>