Hernerorstein's Actions In The Rudor Free State

Decent Essays

It is quite clear that Þorstein’s actions in the þáttr Þorsteins þáttur stangarho̧ggs are against what seems to have been the legal norms of the Icelandic Free State. When Þorstein refuses to acknowledge the wound on his forehead as an intentional blow, he seems to be extending a hand of reconciliation to Þord. According to Miller, “When the injured party claims accident it is nothing more than another way to say ‘let’s forget it,’ that is, there is no wrong.” However, Miller immediately points out that “[reconciliation] was up to the injurer to clarify his state of mind” (Miller, 65). Þord has absolutely no desire to accept Þorstein’s explanation of an “accident,” nor is he eager to apologize. It seems as if Þord’s contempt of Þorstein is so great that he is willing to reject the rules of the Grágás and neither recognize the event as intentional nor accept it as an accident. …show more content…

If Þorstein had sued Þord for his injury, the resolve would have been less muddled. If Þord actively tried to defend himself, the suit would have been deliberated by a council of neighbors, and therefore would have relied more on objectivity. These kinds of trials were based heavily on the defendant’s (the injurer) intentions (Miller, 65). Though neither Þord nor Þorstein seems to have much standing or respect in the local community, it can be assumed that Þorstein would have come out with the upper hand in this situation. By trying to reach an informal reconciliation, Þorstein allowed Þord not only to escape punishment (for however brief a time), but also to damage Þorstein’s already slighted

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