Chapter 19

Heroes in the Prose Edda
Snorri Sturluson

Snorri Sturluson's accounts of the ancient Norse gods show deities who are not always godlike, heroic, or even effective. Their limitations may be caused by Snorri's reluctance to be associated with the deities he wrote about. As a Christian, he was writing to preserve the memory of an ancient belief system that was no longer relevant.

Alternatively, the fallibility of these gods may reflect the ritual practices of the old Norse peoples or the world view of Snorri's contemporary Icelandic audience. This chapter's introduction and marginal notes provide you with evidence to consider these possibilities.

As you read, note specifically the differences between the Prose Edda and the other hero stories you have read. It may also be interesting to consider the discussion in Chapter 7 of the contest motif in Snorri's writing and how it applies to the stories told in this chapter.

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