Sigurd the Volsung
In Sigurd the Volsung, Sigurd is depicted as a courageous and cautions individual. This is because after recognizing his abilities and strengths he begins engaging in initiatives that would ensure that he is a successful man in the future. Part of these initiatives included finding himself a settable horse, Grani, that would be effective in his travels. He understands the relatively unsafe environment that he is supposed to conquer throughout his deliberations and this explains why when Regin sends him to kill his brother Fafnir (a dragon), he requites for the recreation of his father’s sword and renames it Gram. Sigurd realizes that courage and the ability to emerge victorious while confronting the dragon would require caution and information for an experienced individual. This explains why he accepts the teachings and guidance of Odin throughout the process. He is aware of the underlying consensus of confronting and killing the dragon, and this explains why he demonstrated courage and respect to authority when he adheres to the demands of Odin who requires him to dig many pits that lead to the main pit. Odin is experienced, and he understands that without the pits, Sigurd will be successful in killing the dragon, but its blood may drown him. After killing the dragon, he that Regin was deceiving him into eating the dragon’s heart. This is because he knew that if Sigurd ate that heart, he (Regin) was to become the wisest of all men. He confronts Regin, kills him and he drinks his blood together with that of the dragon. He also eats a considerable amount of the dragon’s heart as a way of subverting the plans of Regin. It is through these acts of courage that Sigurd succeeds in subverting the possible effects of curses and unfortunate circumstances that Regin had planned. In addition, it is through courage and caution that he succeeds in realizing the prophesies made by Odin such waking Valkyrie Brunhild.
Sigurd is confronted with numerous tests of character. When he kills the dragon under the guidance of Odin, he emerges as a respectful individual. However, this attribute is tested when he is to eat the heart of the dragon, but a taste of its blood makes him realize that Regin was tricking him. He hesitates and decides to kill Regin as a way of demonstrating the effects of betrayal. The extent to which he is faithful to his marriage and his word is also tested when he travels to the kingdom south of the Rhine River to meet King Giuk. When he married Brunhild, Sigurd swore that she was to be his only wife. However, with the manipulation of Queen Grimhild, King Giuk’s wife, Sigurd is misled into marrying the king’s daughter, Gudrun. From this incident, it is possible to assert that just like any other man Sigurd was manipulated by the whims and trickery attributes of the queen. Despite this assertion, it is also evident that even after he had regained his consciousness and free from the influence of alcohol, Sigurd does not request for the annulment of his second marriage but proceeds to travel with Gudrun in his expeditions. This indicates that it would be relatively difficult for his wives to trust that he could be faithful to them in his future travels. He does not respect the declarations and the promises he makes, and this implies that he to accept the demands of his adversaries he could be subjected to manipulation and unfavorable conditions.
Two major temptations characterize his life and experiences. In the first instance, he is to eat the heart of the dragon after killing it. He resists this temptation after realizing the underlying objective of Regin. The second temptation is when he is manipulated into marrying Gudrun. He does not resist this temptation because he is under the influence of alcohol. It is by accepting to engage in this activity that he breaks his promise to his wife, and this taints his character as a hero he is perceived to be.
After realizing that Sigurd had broken his marriage promise, Brunhild decides to leave and Gunnar convinces him to pursue her. Sigurd lacks the courage to pass through the ring of fire to get her and this necessitates the introduction of magic. It is through magic that Sigurd learns to change his shape and form which would allow him to ride through the ring of fire as Gunnar. He succeeds and remarries Brunhild while still in the shape and form of Gunnar. This incident was critical in changing his characterization because initially, Sigurd was a courageous individual who had been successful in killing the dragon and eating its heart. However, he is afraid to pass through the ring of fire, and during an argument between Gudrun and Brunhild, the former exposes this secret. Sigurd is depicted as a coward and deceitful individual who cannot confront life challenges, but instead he chooses to use magic in the realization of his desires.
In the eyes of Brunhild, the reputation that Sigurd had developed as a hero in his community was overwhelmed by his deceit and cowardice when he was to pass through the ring of fire. He is also exemplified as a selfish and deceitful individual who would use any form of manipulation in the realization of his objectives. These deceitful acts result in his death considering that Brunhild decides to revenge. She is dedicated to ensuring that Sigurd suffers the consequences of his deceit.
In the modern day society, life is defined by the desire to accomplish certain goals and objectives that are unique to the characterization of an individual. Sigurd exemplifies a man in the modern society who uses his youthful strength to establish a reputation in the society. Upon establishing a dominant position, the individual losses the essence and relevance of his previous achievements and begins engaging in unacceptable behavior. This is exemplified in the situation where Sigurd accepts to be manipulated into marrying Gudrun. Power and authority in the society tends to corrupt the morals of an individual if it is exercised without caution. In a society where an individual exercises unregulated power it is possible that such an individual will engage in corrupt and other immoral activities as a way of demonstrating his authority. However, from Sigurd’s story, it is evident that such an individual will fail to realize the effect of his or her actions until he losses what he considers important in his life. The loss of Sigurd and the journey through the ring of fire led Sigurd into embracing magic because he lacked the courage. Engaging in such activities may impede an individual from assessing the long-term effects of behavior.
Morris, William. Story of Sigurd the Volsung. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation,