Ármann Jakobsson. Thorolf's Choice

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  • Author: Ármann Jakobsson
  • Title: Thorolf's Choice: Family and Goodness in Egil's saga, Ch. 40
  • Published in: Egil, The Viking Poet: New Approaches to 'Egil's Saga'
  • Editors: De Looze, Laurence. Jón Karl Helgason. Poole, Russell. Torfi H. Tulinius
  • Place, Publisher: Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Year: 2015
  • Pages: 95-110
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Ármann Jakobsson. "Thorolf's Choice: Family and Goodness in Egil's saga, Ch. 40." Egil, The Viking Poet: New Approaches to 'Egil's Saga' , pp. 95-110. Eds. Laurence De Looze, Jón Karl Helgason, Russell Poole, Torfi H. Tulinius. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

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Contents

Annotation

Ármann Jakobsson’s article is a psychological and close reading of chapter 40 of Egils saga. He starts by analyzing the winter where Skalla-Grímur and Egill do not speak to each other and concludes that the break in communication between father and son is only a part of a much larger psychological abuse that Skalla-Grímur uses against Egill. He does not show Egill an ounce of love or care and every one of Egil’s achievements is met with indifference. Furthermore Skalla-Grímur kills Þorgerður Brák and Þórður Granason, the only two characters in the saga who show any affection to Egill. Ármann also notes Bera's absence in the chapter. When Þórólfur Skallagrímsson denies Egill’s request to sail with him to Norway, Egill reacts by cutting the moorings of Þórólf’s ship and by threatening his life. Ármann interprets Egil’s actions toward his brother as desperate measures to get away from his father, moreover he declares that Þórólfur is not coerced to take Egill along, but his decision to do so is rooted in Þórólfur’s empathy for Egill. Ármann points out that Þórólfur had no special obligation to take responsibility for his brother; however by showing empathy to his brother, Þórólfur Skallagrímsson detaches himself from the former Þórólfur in the saga. By taking Egill to Norway, Þórólfur saves his life, much like Þorgerður Brák and Þorgerður Egilsdóttir, however scholarly attention on the women’s rescues has been much more substantial.

Lýsing

Grein Ármanns Jakobssonar er sálfræðilegur og nákvæmur lestur á 40. kafla Egils sögu. Ármann byrjar á því að greina veturinn sem Skalla-Grímur og Egill talast ekki við og segir að tjáningarleysið milli feðganna sé aðeins hlut af því andlega ofbeldi sem Skalla-Grímur beitir Egil. Skalla-Grímur sýnir Agli ekki vott af væntumþykju og öll afrek Egils mæta sinnuleysi, auk þess drepur hann bæði Þórð Granason og Þorgerði Brák, einu manneskjurnar sem sýna Agli ást og umhyggju. Ármann minnist einnig á fjarveru Beru í kaflanum. Þegar Agli er neitað um að fara með Þórólfi til Noregs bregst hann við með því að hóta bróður sínum og sker á reipið sem heldur skipi hans við land, Ármann segir að þetta séu örþrifaráð Egils til að komast í burtu frá föður sínum. Enn fremur segir hann að ákvörðun Þórólfs um að taka Egil með sé ekki vegna nauðungar og bendir á að Þórólfi hafi ekki borið skylda til að taka ábyrgð á bróður sínum. Ármann telur að Þórólfur taki Egil með sér vegna þeirrar samlíðan sem hann finnur með Agli, þannig skilgreinir Þórólfur Skallagrímsson sig frá Þórólfi Kveldúlfssyni. Ármann endar á því að taka fram að Þórólfur bjargar í raun lífi Egils, líkt og Þorgerður Brák og Þorgerður Egilsdóttir, hins vegar hafa lífsgjafir kvennanna fengið mun meiri athygli.

See also

References

Chapter 40: þeir feðgar ræddust þá ekki við: „The cruelty of his previous animalistic and possibly supernatural rage is replaced by a different, more down-to-earth, and much colder cruelty, which he has demonstrated before: the cruelty of indifference. In this narrative, Skallagrim is the aggressor. But where is the mother? In light of her previous praise of Egil, it might be tempting to conceive of this as a family in which a cold and indifferent father is countered by a loving and doting mother. But, alas, that is not so in this case.“ (s. 99)

Links

  • Written by: Andri M. Kristjánsson
  • English translation: Andri M. Kristjánsson
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