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Character analysis of Rosh in The Bronze Bow

Summary:

Rosh is a complex character in The Bronze Bow. He is a Zealot leader who initially appears strong and charismatic, attracting followers with his vision of overthrowing Roman rule. However, Rosh's methods are ruthless and self-serving, often prioritizing his own power over the welfare of his followers. His character represents the dangers of extremist ideologies and the moral ambiguity of violent resistance.

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Who is the character Rosh in The Bronze Bow?

Rosh is the leader of the band of zealots who live in the mountains of Galilee. Rosh and his rebels plan on one day overthrowing the Roman authorities, which control their homeland. Initially, Daniel reveres Rosh for saving his life and courageously opposing the Roman forces. In Daniel's eyes, Rosh is the potential savior of Israel who will rid their land of Romans by leading a violent insurrection. Despite the support Rosh receives from his band of zealots, the Jewish townspeople view him as a nuisance. Rosh often steals from farmers to support his troops and makes his living by robbing traveling merchants. As the novel progresses, Rosh reveals his selfish personality by putting Joel in danger and refusing to rescue him. Daniel learns that Rosh is simply a self-serving rebel, who manipulates his men through violence and fear. Rosh's violent approach to toppling the Roman government is in stark contrast to Jesus's patient, faithful approach to the Roman occupation. 

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Who is the character Rosh in The Bronze Bow?

Rosh is the leader of a group of bandits who live on a mountain. Daniel lives with Rosh at the beginning of The Bronze Bow. When Daniel ran away from his master, Amalek, to the mountain, Rosh found him and took him in, so Daniel looks on Rosh as a mentor and "a good man." Joel has heard of Rosh and says that some people believe Rosh is merely a bandit "who robs even his fellow Jews," and that others believe he takes money from the rich to give to the poor. Daniel asserts that Rosh is "raising an army to fight against Rome" and that he is the "bravest man in the world." As the story progresses, Daniel begins to see Rosh for who he is--a selfish man who has no real principles. When Rosh refuses to help free Joel from the Romans, Daniel decides he is no longer one of Rosh's men. He realizes that Rosh is not the savior he once believed him to be, and thereafter he  considers the possibility that Jesus is a better leader than Rosh. In literary terms, Rosh is a "foil" to Jesus. He is a character who contrasts starkly with Jesus, thereby helping us better understand Jesus' character. Jesus is everything Rosh is not--kind, caring, loving, and one who can truly deliver his people--although not in the way that Daniel originally thought.

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Is Rosh a villain or a hero in The Bronze Bow?

The character of Rosh is a fascinating example of somebody that changes in Daniel's estimation as the novel progresses. At the beginning, Rosh represents to Daniel a leader who is almost god-like in the way that he reveres him and follows him. Daniel believes that Rosh is absolutely committed to the cause of seeing the Romans leave their country, and Daniel is willing to do anything, even risk his life, in order to make that a reality. However, gradually, as the book continues, Daniel's opinion of Rosh changes. A very significant moment in the book which leads to a change in Daniel's opinion is when Rosh steals from their own people rather than the Romans. Of course, the final realisation comes in Chapter 18, when Daniel rushes to Rosh to tell him the news about Joel. When Rosh refuses to do anything to help Joel, Daniel is able to see Rosh clearly for the first time:

The red mist of anger cleared suddenly from Daniel's mind. He looked at the man who had been his leader. He saw the coarsened face with its tangle of dirty beard. He saw the hard mouth, the calculating little eyes. He saw a man he had never really looked at before.

Daniel comes to understand that Rosh is not the freedom hero he thought he was, and that he is nothing more than a petty villain who does not understand the "cause" against the Romans that Daniel is so committed too. In this description, the description of the "hard mouth" and the "calculating little eyes" is a very negative description with obvious connotations of hardness of heart and villainy, supporting Daniel's judgement.

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