Miller, William Ian. Skarphedin Ascendans, Flosi’s Ninth Nights: Chapters 117–23

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  • Author: Miller, William Ian
  • Title: Skarphedin Ascendans, Flosi’s Ninth Nights: Chapters 117–23
  • Published in: Why Is Your Axe Bloody?: A Reading of Njáls Saga
  • Place, Publisher: New York: Oxford University Press
  • Year: 2014
  • Pages: 207-21
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Miller, William Ian. Why Is Your Axe Bloody?: A Reading of Njáls Saga. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

  • Key words:

Contents

Annotation

The chapter begins with Miller describing how Skarpheðinn becomes the center of the saga narrative’s attention following Höskuldr’s death. Miller then compares Skarpheðinn with Þorkell hákr and his idle threats. Miller takes literally Njáll‘s words that he would rather that his sons die and have Höskuldr live, and argues that the Njálssynir and the speech’s audience would have understood it similarly. He then discusses how the settlement is arbitrated, and asserts that the punishment was too small; to have more effect and to satisfy Flosi, the Njálssynir should have been exiled. He further contends that Njáll had not sabotaged the agreement intentionally, but rather lost the control he once had over the actions of others. Njáls silence in the silk-garment scene comes from Flosi‘s waving it, which Miller reads as dismissive. The chapter ends with an analysis of Flosi’s seemingly irrational decision making in the settlement scene.

Lýsing

Kaflinn hefst á því að Miller útskýrir hvernig sjónarhorn frásagnarinnar færist yfir á Skarphéðin eftir dauða Höskuldar. Í framhaldinu dregur hann upp samanburða á Skarphéðni og Þorkatli hák og innantómum hótunum hans. Þegar Njáll segir að hann vilji að Höskuldur hefði lifað frekar en allir synir hans, leggur Miller bókstaflegan skilning í ræðuna, hann heldur því einnig fram að Njálssynir og allir sem heyrðu ræðu Njáls hefðu skilið hana á sama hátt. Hann ræði síðan um sættina og gerðardóminn og kemst að þeirri niðurstöðu að refsingin hafi verið of væg, til þess að friða Flosa hefði þurft að senda Njálssyni í útlegð. Miller ítrekar skoðun sína að Njáll hafi ekki rofið sættina viljandi, heldur frekar misst þá stjórn yfir öðrum sem hann áður hafði. Eins túlkar hann þögn Njáls um silkislæðuna sem fyrirlitningu í garð Flosa. Kaflinn endar á greiningu á ákvarðanatöku Flosa í sáttargjörðinni sem virðast á tíðum ekki lúta lögmálum skynseminnar.

See also

References

Chapter 122: heldur vildi eg misst hafa allra sona minna, og lifði hann; „ What must Skarphedin, Grim, and Helgi have thought when they heard their father profess this to the most important people in the polity? Would they have said, ‘Oh, dad is merely making one of his rhetorical moves to spare us outlawry; he has got to make a dramatic gesture of this sort, in order to convince Flosi and the Sigfussons to agree to a settlement’? Or would they have had their beliefs about their father’s preferences confirmed?“ (p. 213).

Links

  • Written by: Yoav Tirosh
  • Icelandic translation: Andri M. Kristjánsson
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