Miller, William Ian. Justifying Skarpheðinn

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  • Author: Miller, William Ian
  • Title: Justifying Skarpheðinn: Of Pretext and Politics in the Icelandic Bloodfeud
  • Published in: 'Scandinavian Studies 55/4
  • Year: 1983
  • Pages: 316-344
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Miller, William Ian. "Justifying Skarpheðinn: Of Pretext and Politics in the Icelandic Bloodfeud." Scandinavian Studies 55 (1983): 316-44.

  • Key words: social reality, law (samfélagsmynd, lög)

Contents

Annotation

In this article, Miller refutes the idea that Skarphedinn's killing of Hoskuld in the narrative was a bloodthirsty act of senseless violence, unilaterally condemned by society, or that it was the result of Skarphedinn being tricked by Mord into committing such an act. Instead, Miller argues that the killing of Hoskuld was politically motivated and consistent with the dynamic of the feud as it is depicted within the saga. He also argues that in Njáls saga, both parties manipulate the social rules which determine liability within feud structure to justify their violence as rightful retribution.

Lýsing

Í greininni hrekur Miller þá hugmynd að víg Höskuldar Hvítanessgoða sé í frásögninni sýnt sem miskunnarlaust ofbeldisverk sem allir fordæmi, eða að Skarphéðinn hafi verið tældur til verknaðarins af Merði Valgarðssyni. Miller heldur því þess í stað fram að víg Höskuldar hafi átt sér pólitískar rætur og rími við gangverk fæðardeilnanna innan sögunnar. Hann færir einnig rök fyrir því að í Njálu sveigi báðir aðilar þær reglur sem gilda um skaðabætur í fæðardeilunum svo þeir megi réttlæta ofbeldið með því að það sé sanngjörn hefnd.


See also

Miller, William Ian. The central feud in Njáls saga

References

Chapter 43: Hvar skal þá komit : "When Skarpheðinn hears of Þórðr´s death he is no longer amused" (p. 321).

Chapter 98: er nú til at ráða, ef þér viljið: "From Bergþóra´s egging of her sons to avenge their brother we get a small but sure hint that Höskuldr´s power has very much to do with their brother´s death" (p. 337).

Links

  • Written by: Beth Rogers
  • Icelandic translation: Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir
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