Egil’s Saga

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PARAMETERS

Read Egil’s Saga– focus on sections 3-6, 9, 12, 24-25, 27-30, 31, 40, 43-52, and s.55 till the end. This is not a short text so make sure you allot proper time to read it.

Choose one of the questions below and answer it based on a close reading of the saga. Your paper should be presented as an argument with an introduction, proofs and conclusion. Make sure to focus on the episodes in the saga that are most relevant to your question (i.e. do not simply rely on one part of the text). No outside research is necessary.

Length: 3 (full) – 4 pages

Citation: since Egil’s saga is the only text in this assignment, you can do parenthetical citations within the text. Cite the saga and the section number. Ex. (Egil’s Saga, s. 23).

QUESTIONS

From the Norse perspective, was Egil a hero or antihero? In what ways does his character critique and/or confirm the classic Viking Age hero?

As Jesse Byock noted, “sagas employ rather than invent a remembered past.” What sort of political situation does Egil’s Saga reflect, what judgment doe it pass on it, and what does that tell us about the political agenda it represents at the time when it was being set in writing?

What role does Egil’s poetry play in power relations? Examine the context of his poetry recitation and its political role.

What do Egil’s activities abroad tell us about Viking raiding and Viking life and culture away from home?

Egil’s saga has been termed by some scholars as “an elaborate riddle,” what puzzles does it present and how are they resolved (or left unresolved) by the end of the saga?