The Odinic Hero In The Saga Of The Volsung

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In every society, stories hold an important cultural role in telling the tales of their people and glorifying their heroes. Particularly in Indo-European epics, these types of stories include the hero that people of the society can project themselves and their values on to by orchestrating a tale that surrounds the incredible feats and story of that hero. Joseph Campbell’s concept of the hero’s cycle often refers back to the idea of the monomyth, that there is one layout for stories and the rest is all cultural components that achieve a similar role in the cycle of heroics. Stories like that of Hrolf Kraki, The Lay of Volund, the Saga of the Volsungs, and the Nibelungenlied, all demonstrate the shifting characteristics of the role of the hero …show more content…
With the Nibelungenlied changing the story to be set in medieval times, the role of the hero is drastically different than that of the warrior culture that exists in Saga of the Volsungs. The Odinic hero represented in the Saga of the Volsungs is a clear example of how the role of the hero in Germanic stories is widely different than that of the heroes of chivalric tradition. In the Saga of the Volsungs, the ideal hero is found in the character Sigurd. Sigurd is your typical hero that values the ideals of loyalty, strength, courage, and honor, all of which were important in the warrior culture of the Vikings. (Lecture, 10/19) Sigurd’s story revolves around the concepts of kinship and revenge, as well as stories of great strength in battle. With the slaying of Fafnir, Sigurd shows his status as a hero because of his strength and intellect as he outsmarts Regin and achieves enlightenment through the drinking of Fafnir’s blood. Similarly, in Hrolf Kraki, the hero has to deal with the fallout from people like Aðils who break the traditions of heroism by not being a good host and attempts to kill people in his own home. Both Sigurd and Hrolf Kraki are of the warrior tradition, as the story revolves around their struggles to maintain the code of heroism while being able to defend themselves from foes and the struggle to protect or avenge one’s kin. (Lecture, 10/19) However, in the Nibelungenlied, the …show more content…
In the Saga of the Volsungs and Hrolf Kraki, the role of the gods is a main theme and is held up in the story as the gods having the ultimate say in the fates of heroes. Particularly in the Saga of the Volsungs, the role of the supernatural played a large role in the story, whereas in the Nibelungenlied, it did not. For example, the role of Odin is central to the Saga of the Volsungs as the gods played a large role throughout the story because of the ring and the role of fate in the hero cycle of Sigurd. In the story, Loki kills Regin’s brother Otr and thus must pay him a due of a gold ring. However, the gold ring is cursed and leads to Fafnir killing his father for the ring and turning into a dragon. (Saga of the Volsungs 57-59) , The curse is then transferred to Sigurd after killing Fafnir, and leads to his downfall. However, in the Nibelungenlied, there is no mention of Odin or Loki, rather just that there is a dragon that must be slain to save Brunhild. This further shows the differences in the Nibelungenlied and the Saga of the Volsungs, as the Nibelungenlied is clearly a story that is influenced by Christianity and omits the passages dealing with the supernatural, whereas in the Saga of the Volsungs, the supernatural is rampant throughout all of the story and Odin’s role in the story is

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