close reading - The Foremost of the Volsung Line: Sigurd...

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The Foremost of the Volsung Line: Sigurd the Dragon Slayer The Saga of the Volsungs , written down between 1200 and 1270, is a prose epic based on stories from old Norse poetry. This Icelandic work recounts heroic deeds, family betrayals, bloody wars, and complicated love affairs. The Saga of the Volsungs focuses mainly on the Volsung clan and more specifically on the life of their most esteemed warrior, Sigurd the dragon slayer. Sigurd, the world’s most endured warrior, is the fulfillment of his father Sigmund’s dying prophecy, and is further immortalized by his ornate and chivalrous depiction in the text. In an epic of little description, this extensive and extravagant characterization of Sigurd sets him apart from other characters in the story and allows the reader to comprehend his superiority. Vivid detail in the Saga of the Volsungs is seldom except for in the chapter titled “Concerning Sigurd’s Appearance”, which provides the reader with a descriptive account of the hero. The passage paints a picture of a chivalrous warrior and provides the reader with extensive detail to glorify Sigurd. The author states that Sigurd’s “ornamented shield was plated with red gold and emblazoned with a dragon…He wore a mail coat of gold and all his weapons were ornamented with gold.” (72). The word “ornamented” is used three times in the passage to convey a sense of honor and pride in Sigurd. The word “gold” is also used continuously throughout the passage. Gold is the purest of metals and is known to be associated with success and fame. By having Sigurd covered in gold mail, shield, and weapons, one can infer that Sigurd is the purest and most famous warrior. His ornamentation and gold demonstrate a sense of confidence. This confidence carries over into his actions as after this passage Sigurd takes initiative himself and no longer asks people what to do. The dragon illustrated on the arm of
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Sigurd can be associated with the killing of Fafnir. By having this heroic image permanently
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close reading - The Foremost of the Volsung Line: Sigurd...

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