Hrafnkel paper FD

Hrafnkel paper FD - Cliff 1 Will Cliff Professor Patrick...

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Cliff 1 Will Cliff Professor Patrick Wen Scandinavian Literature 50W 7 April 2010 Hrafnkels Saga: The Drastic Precedent The justice system established in 10 th century Iceland was based on a system of honor and ruthless violence. As the entirety of the population was illiterate, life there was much more based on pure survival and as a result the legal system in place was an attempt to avoid mass blood feud amidst a governing system of honor and trust (Wen, Patrick. Lecture 2. Scandanavian 50 W). Hrafnkel, the main character of Hrafnkel’s Saga , demonstrated this brutal sense of justice by asserting himself as a Chieftan by killing Einar. Seeing as Hrafnkel asserted his power as a Chieftan—setting a precedent throughout his village—and that Einar broke an oral agreement, the jury correctly found Hrafnkel innocent as he did not break Icelandic law in the murder of Einar . A vital factor that must be taken into account on the case is that Hrafnkel is a Chieftan (granting him more power than kinsman like Einar and Thorbjorn) which gives him the justification to kill . In a land where there was no strong sense of governance, Chieftans played Mafioso-like roles in medieval Icelandic society and held order within their plot of land . Towards the beginning of the saga it says: “Hrafnkel took possession of the entire valley and gave land to other settlers, on condition that he should be their overlord…Hrafnkel was a bully despite his many qualities and he forced men of Jokulsdale to submit to his authority. He was kind and considerate to his own men, but harsh and ruthless to his enemies and to them he showed no justice.” (Page 37)
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Hrafnkel paper FD - Cliff 1 Will Cliff Professor Patrick...

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