Norse Mythology Analysis

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This essay will discuss the role that female figures play in the Old Norse Mythic Complex. This essay in particular will look at the poems, Skírnismal (Lay of Skirnir), Völuspá (The Seeress’s Prophecy) and Þrymskviða (The Lay of Thrym). What is most interesting about the roles the female figures of Old Morse Mythology is the often unconventional roles they play. We would think that in a society that is largely patriarchal especially that of a Viking society, who uses an excess of masculinity in its literature and culture, that the roles of the female figure would be oppressed or submissive. But this is not the case in the Old Norse mythic complex. In this essay we will see that the female figures represented in the Old Norse Mythical complex…show more content…
The poem has major identifications with male desires and blindness towards the perspective of the woman in the text, as we can see between the relationship and interactions between Skírnir and Gerðr. This power struggle between the sexes serves to have a long history which can be traced back to Snorri. The woman in this case seems to be tamed by the man, but not without a fight. One can argue a deeper meaning here rather than just a battle between the sexes. This is so as Freyr is very young at this point in time and his victory over Gerðr the giantess is somewhat seen as his initiation in to manhood. This is necessary step to be recognised by the male society. The structural pattern of this poem is also remarkable in representing the roles of the female figures in Old Norse mythology. This is evident in how one can see the relationship between the rise of patriarchy and the subordination of women. In order to overcome women men must make alliances and they need weapons to do so. A sword is an interesting feature to note as it has a clear phallic meaning as well as a metaphor for male power over women. Another significant point of meaning can be identified when we look at the female figure serving a higher purpose for society. (Kress, H. 2002) This role can be expressed to us through the metaphors of names. This is so as Freyr is…show more content…
Scholars often assume that n the male figure here is able to force the Völva to speak but one of her first statements “alt veit ek, Onn,” including where he had hidden his eye is indicative of the self assurance and superiority that is veiled in her rhetorical questions. It is also made known to the reader that Oinn pays the Völva with arm rings and jewels, clearly paying for a coveted service. Oinn’s assumed patriarchal power comes down to the poem “Baldr’s Draumer” (Baldr’s Dream) in which we see Oinn travelling to the underworld where he summons a Völva from the dead and against her own will makes her predict the future. The submissive Völva here is completely different to the Seeress we see in Völuspá (The Seeress’s Prophecy). The Seeress here emerges as a clear superior figure in relation to Oinn the Chief God. What is even more interesting in enforcing this female figure, as playing the role of knowledge itself is the fact that she has been sought out by Oinn himself, a man obsessed with attaining as much knowledge as possible. She even convinces him of her authority by willingly telling him events that he could verify from his own

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