Harris, Joseph. Sacrifice and Guilt in Sonatorrek

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  • Author: Harris, Joseph
  • Title: Sacrifice and Guilt in Sonatorrek
  • Published in: Studien zum Altgermanischen. Festschrift für Heinrich Bech
  • Editor: Heiko Uecker
  • Place, Publisher: Bonn: W. de Gruyter
  • Year: 1994
  • Pages:173-96
  • E-text: Google Books
  • Reference: Harris, Joseph. "Sacrifice and Guilt in Sonatorrek." Studien zum Altgermanischen. Festschrift für Heinrich Bech, pp. 173-96. Ed. Heiko Uecker. Bonn: W. de Gruyter, 1994.

  • Key words: poetry, characterization (kveðskapur, persónulýsingar)


Contents

Annotation

An exploration of the mythology and psychology of Sonatorrek. In Sonatorrek, Egill casts himself as Odin and his lost sons as Baldur. Harris argues that Egill also takes on the personas of King Aun, King Haraldur hilditönn and Starkaður the Old in the course of the poem, all of whom are sacrificers or would-be sacrificers of sons or near-kinsmen. Aun, Haraldur and Starkaður make deliberate requests of Odin – long life or poetic skill – in exchange for these sacrifices. Egill’s two sacrifices are involuntary, but Odin rewards him with long life and poetic skill for the death of two sons. For this, Egill expresses both a sense of gratitude for these rewards (bætr) and the guilt of the survivor-sacrificer.

Lýsing

Könnun á goðfræðilegum og sálfræðilegum þáttum Sonatorreks. Í kvæðinu sér Egill sig í sporum Óðins og syni sína sem hliðstæður Baldurs. Harris færir rök fyrir því að í kvæðinu samsami Egill sig einnig þeim Án konungi, Haraldi hilditönn og Starkaði gamla sem allir fórnuðu, eða bjuggust til að fórna, sonum sínum eða nánum venslamönnum. Án, Haraldur og Starkaður gera þá kröfu á Óðin að hann launi þeim fórnirnar með náðargáfu skáldskaparins eða löngum lífdögum. Egill færir sínar sonarfórnir nauðugur en Óðinn bætir honum synina tvo með langlífi og skáldgáfu. Í kveðskapnum lætur Egill hvorttveggja í ljós: þakklæti fyrir bæturnar og sektarkennd þess sem lifir af dauða annarra.

See also

References

Chapter 80: átti ég gott: "Egill's profound poem also comprises ... a kind of minority report, a set of mythological allusions with an undermining and unsettling effect. These references to a group of Odinic stories outside the Baldr complex but somehow related to it seem to undercut or even deconstruct the official mythology by concerning themselves with problems that are papered or denied in the central Baldr myths ... The major stories from this group will be immediately recalled by the names of their long-lived protagonists, all sacrificers or would-be-sacrifices of sons or near-kinsmen: King Aun, King Haraldr hilditǫnn, and Strakaðr the Old. I will argue that Egill takes on the persona of each in the course of his poem" (pp. 174-75).

Links

  • Written by: Katelin Parsons
  • Icelandic translation: Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir
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