Study Guide

Elder Edda Themes

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Norse society was violent, as reflected in the Sayings of the High One "Don't leave your weapons lying about / behind your back in a field, / you never know when you may need / of a sudden your spear." In this society personal loyalties were everything, the only real basis of order and security. Nothing stood between order and chaos except the certainty that vengeance would be exacted for a wrong. The duty to defend family and lord was at the core too of personal honor and self-esteem. The man who did not take vengeance could expect neither mercy from his enemies nor sympathy from his friends. Neither love nor friendship nor practical expedience could stand in its way for long. Women would sweep aside all the commonplaces of love and gender roles to have it. The clash between competing loyalties and duties is perhaps the most important springboard...

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This section contains 1,092 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Elder Edda Study Guide
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Elder Edda from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.