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  • Titill er á ensku Fate, Fortune, and the Question of Potential in Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar
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  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    The paper intends to present the concept and roles of fate and fortune in the Íslendingasögur, focusing on Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar, from a literary point of view. The social, literary, and dramatic functions of these concepts are examined and compared with other Icelandic sagas. The brief introduction to the text itself and previous scholarship regarding the nature of Grettir’s misfortune is followed by the survey of the mythological, cultural, and literary background of the concept of fate, destiny, and good and ill fortune in saga literature. The paper discusses the main vocabulary of Grettis saga regarding fate and fortune and presents different social aspects of the (ó)gæfumaðr, a term which is strongly connected to one’s honour and success in society and life. The terms hamingja, (ó)gæfa, (ó)gæfumaðr, and the hvervandi hvel – the Wheel of Fortune – are explored, though their religious aspect is not discussed in detail. In addition to the language of Grettis saga thematising fate and fortune, literary devices such as foreshadowing, prophecies, repetitions, parallels, and contrasts will be discussed, as well as their influence over the reader’s perception of Grettir’s character and his deeds. Though there is a general agreement among scholars about Grettir’s ill-lucked nature and tragic fate, the paper provides a different reading, presenting the lucky side of Grettir and arguing that even his truly unlucky and tragic endeavours can be seen as fortunate: Grettir’s misfortune is presented as a limiting force, which not only prevents Grettir from reaching his full potential, but also from becoming superhuman, a monster who truly belongs outside of society. Grettir’s defiant but futile fight against nature, society, and his own self-destructive nature and bad luck are read here as qualities of a unique type of protagonist, incorporating human vulnerability and out-of-placeness. The paper also discusses Grettir’s (un)heroic status and surveys the possible messages it can convey to the modern reader.

  • 26.4.2022

Skráarnafn Stærð AðgangurLýsingSkráartegund 
Fate_Fortune_and_the_Question_of_Potential_in_Grettis_saga_Asmundarsonar.pdf845.66 kBOpinnHeildartextiPDFSkoða/Opna
Declaration.pdf274.18 kBLokaðurYfirlýsingPDF