In "The Song of Roland," why was Roland killed by Marsile?  

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Song of Roland" Marsile doesn't kill Roland.  Roland is in battle and receives many wounds.  He is weakened and keeps fainting.  Oliver is wounded also and can't see well.  He strikes at Roland, but does not kill him.  He tells Roland he is sorry and they bow to each other.  Later, when Roland blows his oliphant so hard that he causes unrepairable damage.  He sits under a tree facing Spain and wants to confess his sins before he dies.  "He cannot help weeping and heaving great sighs; / But he does not wish to be unmindful of himself" (ll. 2381-2).  He confesses his sins and dies.  He dies from an accumulation of wounds from battle and from blowing his oliphant.