Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 192
Grettis Saga, or The Saga of Grettir the Strong is one of the medieval Icelandic Sagas. The first part of the saga is utilized to describe Grettir's ancestors, who lived largely uneventful lives with the exception of Onund Treefoot, a viking warrior from whom Grettir is said to inherit his strength. When Grettir is young, he is intelligent and courageous, but also bad-tempered.
When a draugr named Glam is troubling the country, Grettir goes to fight it. The two have a long struggle but eventually Grettir is victorious. Glam, exhausted, curses Grettir. This is when his misfortunes begin. Grettir accidentally sets fire to an inn and several people die as an eventuality. He is soon condemned to be an outlaw.
Despite his bad luck, Grettir survives being an outlaw for an uncanny amount of time. His friends argue that he should be returned to the law's good graces and it is eventually agreed that once he has "served" twenty years as an outlaw, the sentence may be lifted. His enemies, however, use magic runes to cause Grettir to injure himself, making him an easy target. In the end, Grettir is finally defeated.
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1699
Grettir the strong is descended from Onund, a Viking famed for enemies killed in war and the taking of booty from towns plundered on far sea raids. In a battle at Hafrsfjord, Onund loses a leg and is thereafter known as Onund Treefoot. His wife is Aesa, the daughter of Ofeig. Thrand, a great hero, is his companion in arms. During a time of great trouble in Norway, the two heroes sail to Iceland to be free of injustice in their homeland, where the unscrupulous can rob without fear of redress. Onund lives in quiet and plenty in the new land, and his name becomes renowned, for he is valiant. At last he dies. His sons fight after his death, and his lands are divided.
Grettir of the line of Onund is born at Biarg. As a child he shows strange intelligence. He quarrels constantly with Asmund Longhair, his father, and he is very lazy, never doing anything cheerfully or without urging. When he is fourteen years old, grown big in body, he kills Skeggi in a quarrel over a provision bag that falls from his horse, and for that deed his father pays blood money to the kinsmen of Skeggi. Then the Lawman declares that he must leave Iceland for three years. In that way the long outlawry of Grettir begins.
Grettir sets sail for Norway. The ship is wrecked on rocks off the Norwegian coast, but all get safely ashore on land that belongs to Thorfinn, a wealthy landsman of the district. Grettir makes his home with him for a time. At Yuletide, Thorfinn, with most of his household, goes to a merrymaking and leaves Grettir to look after the farm. In Thorfinn’s absence, a party of berserks, or raiders, led by Thorir and Ogmund, come to rob and lay waste to the district. Grettir tricks them by locking them in a storehouse. When they break through the wooden walls, Grettir, armed with sword and spear, kills Thorir and Ogmund and puts the rest to flight. Sometime before this adventure, he entered the tomb of Karr-the-Old, father of Thorfinn, a long-dead chieftain who guarded a hidden treasure. For his brave deed in killing the berserks, Thorfinn gives him an ancient sword from the treasure hoard of Karr-the-Old.
Next Grettir kills a great bear that was carrying off the sheep. In doing so he incurs the wrath of Bjorn, who is jealous of Grettir’s strength and bravery. Then Grettir kills Bjorn and is summoned before Jarl Sveinn. Friends of Bjorn plot to take Grettir’s life. After he kills two of his enemies, his friends save him from the wrath of the jarl, who wishes to banish him. His term of outlawry ends, Grettir sails back to Iceland in the spring.
At this time in Iceland,...
(The entire section contains 1891 words.)
Unlock This Study Guide Now
Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Saga of Grettir the Strong study guide. You'll get access to all of the The Saga of Grettir the Strong content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.
- Critical Essays