Essay 1 - Albert Ho February 2nd 2004 GERST 103 Viking...

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Albert Ho February 2 nd , 2004 GERST 103 – Viking Madness Essay #1 REVISION Edda: Gylfaginning and the Metamorphoses The Pagan world of the Norse gods described in the Edda by Snorri Sturluson begins with a creation myth, as do most other religious and mythological works from other cultures. Although it may arguably be deciphered not as an ending, but rather as the grand scale rebirth of everything, the advent and execution of the apocalyptic Ragnarok marks the end of the Norse cosmology as described in Snorri’s Gylfaginning . Between these events, Gylfaginning describes the Norse pantheon and myths in great detail, alternating between the aetiology of natural events and narration of the exploits of gods. Perhaps the best parallel to Snorri’s work in its particular format is Ovid’s Metamorphoses , written by adapting traditional oral myths into a large body of written literature. The Edda and the Metamorphoses both begin with some creation myth, then they delve into a body of aetiological or informative narration usually involving the interaction of gods, and then they end in a manner that raises implications about their cultures. These two works, however, are phenomenally different in their subject matter since each culture has its own peculiar values. In regard to its specific format, the Metamorphoses contains a plethora of striking similarities with the Edda , but in regard to content and cultural implications the two works of literature are in most ways dissimilar and incomparable. 1
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Both the Edda and the Metamorphoses share the common element of a creation myth, the idea that the universe has a defined beginning. They also share the idea of a beginning without order: Snorri Sturluson attributes the lack of order to Ginnungagap and its isolated realms Niflheim and Muspelheim, while Ovid just simply calls this “Chaos.” While the details of the two different creation myths draw many contrasts, the general structure of an established foundation for each world is upheld in both texts.
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