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The Time And Fate Of Ragnarok

738 words - 3 pages

The Norse tale of Ragnarok presents an interesting example of apocalyptic literature as it presents both an end and a notable new beginning. The world which rises from the cosmic rubble is essentially equivalent to that which was destroyed, possessing the same creatures, features and Gods of times past. Thus through the themes of time and fate Snorri challenges the concepts of what was, is and will be by providing a framework which allows for the potential reiteration of history. By reviewing the Prose Edda’s telling of the the events before, during and after Ragnarok, the relationship between fate, time and history becomes clear.
The Prose Edda begins by introducing several key concepts to the later work, beginning with Snorri’s connection of the Christian Genesis to Norse mythology. He cites the northern migration of man away from his origins as the cause of the slow loss of the name of the Abrahamic God. Snorri uses this loss as the primary reason for the need for alternate explanations of natural phenomena and thus the evolution of Nordic mythology (Snorri, 3). Typical examples include a convulsing God as the cause of earthquakes and day the work of a sky-bound charioteer. (Snorri, 70, 19). The Gods and Goddesses of the Edda are dissimilar from those of other beliefs in that they are neither immortal nor unchanging. Knowledge, power and other divine attributes can be counterbalanced by lost hands, eyes or a weakness for deception(Snorri, xvii). They also have the distinction of having cosmic equals in the form of the Frost Giants, the precursors to and enemies of the Gods (Snorri, 15).
Introductions established, The Edda continues by exhibiting the questioning of Odin, chief of the Gods, by Gylfi, a traveling king (Snorri, 10). Gylfi asks about the race of Gods, to which Odin tells the story of his wife Frigg and their favorite son Balder. Balder, Odin responds, suffered from a series of foreboding dreams which prompts Frigg’s to take maternal action. She traveled the world, requiring an oath from every substance and material that they will not harm her son. Thus protected, Balder was able to bear the abuse of swords, sticks and fire...

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