Articles

Taming the Shrew: The Rise of Patriarchy and the Subordination of the Feminine in Old Norse Literature

Taming the Shrew: The Rise of Patriarchy and the Subordination of the Feminine in Old Norse Literature



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Taming the Shrew: The Rise of Patriarchy and the Subordination of the Feminine in Old Norse Literature

By Helga Kress

Cold Counsel: Women in Old Norse Literature and Mythology, edited by Sarah M. Anderson and Karen Swenson (Routledge, 2002)

Seest thou, maiden, this keen, bright sword
That I hold here in my hand?
Thy head from thy neck shall I straightaway hew,
If thou wilt not do my will.

With these words from the Eddic poem Skirnismal (The Lay of Skirnir), the man Skirnir addresses the giantess Gerd in order to persuade her to accept the god Frey as her lover. In its introduction, the poem describes how Frey sat one day in Odin’s seat, from where he could look over all the worlds. He looked into “Jotunheim”, the world of the giants, and saw there a fair maiden, as she walked from her father’s house to her bower. From that moment he grows heartsick. He then keeps to himself, does not speak, and causes his parents to worry greatly. At last he confides in his friend Skirnir:

Since in days of yore we were young…
We two might each other trust.

In the giant’s world he has seen a maiden so dear, that her “arms glittered,/ and from their gleam / shone all the sea and sky.” He has caught her in his gaze, and he must possess her. Skirnir offers to undertake a journey to “Jotenheim” and get the maiden from his friend. This he does on two conditions. He wants to take Frey’s horse since it can ride through the flickering flames around the maiden’s bower, and he wants to take Frey’s sword “the fights of itself / against the giants’ race.” With the sword Skirnir is going to conquer the maiden.


Watch the video: Katherina Monologue from Taming of the Shrew (August 2022).