Revenge

  • Concept of hauntings
  • Sayers' The Unquiet Dead
    • What Draugr have we seen so far?
      • Hrapp - Makes land uninhabitable, kills people, etc. Big crime is that land is unusable. Olaf fights him
      • Seal with human eyes
      • Gunner's Ghost
    • For the most part, Draugr are very violent destructive, etc. Some are not.
    • Ghost hauntings count as draugr
    • How to prevent/ward off draugr
      • Destroy body, decapitate, throw into ocean
      • Make a new door just for corpse (can't return the same way)
      • Take it out to ocean, far away from people
      • Shaming of the corpse - decapitation and head between the thighs
    • Connection between foreigners and draugr?
      • Many draugr are foreigners, or half-foreigners
      • In Iceland, after about 60 years and all land had ben claimed, stopped thinking of themselves as "Norweigen ex-pats" and instead "Icelanders". This process is called "ethnogenesis". After this point, foreigners were a threat (taking land away) and draugr were an institutionalized version of xenophobia.
      • Land of dead is "different country"
    • Olaf Peacock and the supernatural
      • He's a half-foreigner, so connection to draugr
      • Harry the Ox - supernatural ox, warnings after it's killed
      • Hrapp the ghost - he loses his weapon
  • Miller's In Defense of Revenge
    • If we are wronged (in 2016) we're not supposed to want revenge. Revenge isn't the best way to solve problems. Revenge isn't sufficient motive for action.
    • Today, revenge is not legally/morally sanctioned
      • Has become "vulgar and unfashionable"
      • Still alluring - that urge for revenge is still there
    • Vigilante Superheroes as a genre
      • Satisfy desire for revenge
      • "Doing the right thing even if it's against the law"
    • Icelanders courageous self-denial vs. cowardice
      • Icelanders encouraged to show self-restraint when something happens.
        • They "turn colours" but don't fight. Instead bring it up in court.
        • After a certain time, if no legal action has been taken, none will ever be taken due to "courage" or "cowardice".
      • Following the law described as "self-denial", as they are denying themselves revenge
    • Revenge vs. Retribution
      • Retribution "feels more just"
      • Revenge is...
        • Emotional
        • Associated with injury
        • Very personal
        • Uncontrolled
        • Lawless
        • Limitless
        • Unreasonable
      • Retribution is...
        • Legal limits
        • Impersonal
        • Unemotional
      • In Iceland, revenge and retribution are very similar
      • In Iceland, why go to the law?
        • Don't want to create a blood feud
        • Very public, establishing restraint
        • Legally and publicly sanctioned compensation
        • Get help from others
        • Honourable to go to the law
      • Group Liability, propriety
        • Icelanders made tons of close personal ties
        • Concept of being responsible for the group, or at least tied to actions
        • Group liability encouraged group to self-moderate
      • Why get revenge by having outlawed instead of killing them?
        • Outlawry literally gets rid of the problem
        • Showing mercy
        • Impersonal
        • You can kill an outlaw without the right to compensation, could theoretically chase them down before they leave (or after)

Discussion

Kjartan or Bolli?

  • Bolli
    • Worse
      • Gudrun goads him into killing his kin, Kjartan
      • Uses Bolli as a tool to hurt Kjartan
    • Love?
      • Plans revenge right after he dies
      • Raises kids solely to just get revenge
      • Dream - Bolli was the one that was loved
  • Kjartan
    • Worse
      • Arranges his death
      • Arranges his kinsmen to kill him
      • Destruction of Headdress and Kings Gift
    • Better
      • "Sparks flew between them"
      • Incredible raw emotion between them - leads to hurt when back
      • "It's not Iceland that I love"
      • "I won't marry anyone else as long as Kjartan is alive"
      • Doesn't say who she loved best when dying, just talks in indirect terms

What if she was talking about both of them? She treated both terribly, and unsure which of them she loved more. In the dreams, the ring broke in twain, which could represent the both of them.

(In exam, it's important to be able to talk about this, and bring up specific examples.)

Men being direct, women being indirect?

  • Men
    • Direct
      • Lots of fighting
    • Indirect
      • Bolli walking on ridge to stop the ambush
  • Women
    • Direct
      • Theoretically, at the end, Gudrun taking a religious life could be thought of as a direct way of obtaining redemption
      • Aud wears a codpiece and cuts ex-husband
      • Goading is direct for women
      • The boat in the beginning
      • Gudrun interpreting dreams can be argued as direct

It's important (on theoretically exam question) to define terms. " was direct in this way but indirect in this way ". Make sure you back up your arguments fully and you'll get points.

Christianity in the text, especially Kjartan

We've talked about Njal's saga a ton, and how it's the intersection between Christian and Viking values.

  • In Laxdaela, much of Christianity is focused on Kjartan instead of the rest of the story
    • Kjartan actively accepts Christianity - switch from extreme reluctance to extreme piety is important.
    • Not willing to spread it however, value in kinsmen bonds over spreading it aggresively
  • Reluctance vs extreme piety