The Tests of Character that Confronts Sigurd and how he Passes the Tests
From Sigurd the Volsung, Sigurd is a hero who is an active participant of the Sylph Bureaucracy who is an assistant of the race Lord until he is banned for being a traitor. He is depicted as an arrogant and self-righteous kind of a person who values respect more than his companions, even to the extent of resorting to utilizing them like items as in the case of Leafa (Rosenberg, 1994). It is not his nature to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Later he is revealed as a man who is controlled by authority, both his character's numerical stats and on his political power as a player. It is the reason he could not stand the idea of the Salamanders taking over the World Tree and ruling the Skies while he would look up to them from the ground. Furthermore, he even strikes a deal with the Salamanders to betray the Sylphs so that he can become a Salamander.
Sigurd is supposedly a son of Sigmund with his other wife named Hiordis. However, Sigmund passes on in a war in Odin. After the death of Sigmund, Sigurd mother Hiordid marries Alf who is the king and here is where Sigurd is sent to Regin as a foster (Rosenberg, 1994). It is at this stage that Sigurd experiences his first test when Regin tests him to greediness by requesting him if he has authority over his father's gold. When Sigurd tells Regin that the king who has control over the gold and he is willing to give Alf all the things he may want, Regin is shocked and asks Sigurd why he agreed to have a small position at the court. Sigurd passes the test by responding to Regin that he is handled as an equal by Alf and he gets whatever he wishes.
Another test is where Regin questions Sigurd why he behaves as a stable boy to Alf yet he does not have his horse. He responds to the test by getting a horse which he names as Grani, a horse that was removed from Odin's Sleipnir. Still, at Regin, he attempts to lure Sigurd by informing him of the narrative of Otter's Gold. Regin's dad was Hreidmar and his two siblings Otr and Fafnir. Otr was a swimmer (Rosenberg, 1994). One day, Esir saw Otr with a fish; he was perceived to be an otter and was murdered by Loki. Fafnir finds out and demands to be compensated for the passing on of Otr. The reward is in the form of gold being staffed and covered on the skin of Otr. Later on, Fafnir kills his father to that he can take the goal. Fafnir turns himself in a dragon to be able to guard the gold. Another temptation is seen when Sigurd consents to kill Fafnir. Regin makes a sword for him, and he tests it by stubbing the anvil. The sword spoils and Sigurd has Regin make him another sword. It also breaks. Sigmund asks Regin to make another sword, but this time he requests the sword be made from fragments left to him by his father. The resulting sword strikes the anvil.
However, killing Fafnir is not an easy task. He had to dig a hole, wait until Fafnir walks over it, and then he can strike the dragon (Hanson, 38). He also has to dig trenches to draw blood and bath in the blood to confer invulnerability. Sigurd follows the instructions and successfully kills Fafnir, and bathes in his veins. Regin asks to be given the heart of Fafnir for himself. In an interesting twist, Sigurd drinks Fafnir's blood and gets the capability to comprehend the language of the birds. He knows that Regin has plans of killing him. He overcomes the test by beheading Regin, prepares Fafnir's heart by roasting it and eats a part of it which offers him the gift of wisdom.
The next test is for Sigurd to ride off to the Hindfell and help the Valkyrie Brynhild who was stuck in a ring of fire after being labeled a traitor by Odin (Hanson, 35). Before he was Brynhild was trapped by Odin, he explained that she would be saved by a fierce hero who would ride across the ring of fire and possess the courage that Brynhild would wish. He passes the test by removing a thorn from Bryhilds hand after passing through the ring of fire. After Sigurd is told what Odin had foreseen, he made Brynhild his wife and gave her a ring he stole from Fafnir. Sigurd found all the tests irresistible. The tests are overwhelming to Sigurd because he is regarded as a fiercer warrior. Therefore, he has to take up all the tests to exhibit the actual characters of a real soldier (Hanson, 36).
A Reflection of Sigurd Experiences and Behaviors on Modern Society
Focusing on Sigurd, he is depicted as a hero who has passed through many tests. According to Morris (5), Sigurd is the greatest hero. He comes across the ambitious Regin who wishes to possess the treasure that his brother guarded and in the end forged a great sword for Sigurd. The first and the second time the sword breaks when it is being tested, however, when his father's fragment is used, it stands the test. In this context, magical realism affects the character of Sigmund in that the sword represents powers that enable Sigurd to kill Fafnir (Moris, 5). Were it not for the magical energy from the fragments left by Sigmund, regular swords would not have been able to get rid of Fafnir. Besides, After Sigurd kills Fafnir; he can understand the language of the birds and quickly learns that Regin is planning to eliminate him. In normal circumstances, Sigurd would not have known that Regin is planning to kill him. Thus, the presence of the magical heart of Fafnir contrasts the authors depiction of Sigurd as a character who is a fierce warrior.
The nature of Sigurd and his experiences connects to the modern society by indicating the roles of women in bringing down courageous individuals who stand as heroes in the society. Besides, it shows how tribalism affects the social and the extent to which thirst for wealth, power, and fame often leads individuals to commit murder. From Sigurds experiences, one can draw how the political elites are using people in the society by to achieve their thirst for power. For instance, in the myth, Regin uses Sigurd up until his death. He urges him to kill Fafnir, which he does. The happening is not different from what is going on in contemporary societies around the world where some people are used to eliminate others, and in the end, they are killed as a way of concealing evidence.
Hanson, Ingrid. "William Morris's Sigurd the Volsung and the Parameters of Manliness." Pre-Raphaelite Masculinities: Constructions of Masculinity in Pre-Raphaelite Art and Literature, ed. Amelia Yeates and Serena Trowbridge (2013): 35-53.
Morris, William. Sigurd the Volsung: 1911 Edition. Vol. 2. Burns & Oates, 1994.
Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. NTC Publishing Group, 1994.
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