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The Vikings of Helgeland The Prose Dramas Of Henrik Ibsen, Vol. III.   By: (1828-1906)

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Henrik Ibsen's "The Vikings of Helgeland" is a mesmerizing tale that delves deep into the Viking culture and explores themes of honor and loyalty. This volume, part of Ibsen's Prose Dramas, showcases his mastery of storytelling and character development.

Set in the turbulent world of the ninth century, "The Vikings of Helgeland" follows the lives of two feuding families, the Gudmundsens and the Skjoldungs. The intense rivalry between these clans leads to a series of dramatic events, including epic battles, treachery, and unexpected alliances. Ibsen skillfully weaves together the stories of these diverse characters, creating a rich tapestry of emotions and conflicts.

One of the strengths of Ibsen's writing is his ability to portray complex characters with conflicting motivations. Each member of the Gudmundsen and Skjoldung families has their own individual journey, driven by desires for power, love, and revenge. From the brave and honorable Sigurd to the conniving and manipulative Gudmund, each character feels authentic and multidimensional, making the reader fully invested in their narratives.

Furthermore, Ibsen's vivid descriptions of the Viking culture and settings transport the reader to a bygone era. The rugged landscapes, harsh weather, and violent clashes are brought to life with captivating detail. This attention to atmospheric elements adds depth and authenticity to the story, allowing the reader to immerse themselves fully in the world of the Vikings.

"The Vikings of Helgeland" is not simply a thrilling adventure; it also explores deeper themes of honor, fate, and the consequences of one's actions. Ibsen raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of loyalty and the impact of familial legacy. Through the characters' choices and moral dilemmas, the play offers insight into human nature and the complexities of relationships.

However, it is worth noting that the play does rely heavily on the familiarity with Viking history and customs. Readers with limited knowledge of the subject matter may find themselves needing to pause and research certain concepts or historical events to fully appreciate the story.

Overall, "The Vikings of Helgeland" is a captivating addition to Ibsen's Prose Dramas collection. With its compelling characters, evocative settings, and exploration of profound themes, this volume showcases Ibsen's talent for storytelling and his ability to create timeless narratives. Whether you are an enthusiast of Viking literature or a fan of Henrik Ibsen's works, this play is a worthy addition to your reading list.

First Page:


THE VIKINGS OF HELGELAND, Translation by William Archer



ORNULF OF THE FIORDS, an Icelandic Chieftain. SIGURD THE STRONG, a Sea King. GUNNAR HEADMAN,[1] a rich yeoman of Helgeland. DAGNY, Ornulf's daughter. HIORDIS, his foster daughter. KARE THE PEASANT, a Helgeland man. EGIL, Gunnar's son, four years old. ORNULF'S SIX OLDER SONS. ORNULF'S AND SIGURD'S MEN. Guests, house carls, serving maids, outlaws, etc.

The action takes place in the time of Erik Blood axe (about A.D. 933) at, and in the neighbourhood of, Gunnar's house on the island of Helgeland, in the north of Norway.

[PRONUNCIATION OF NAMES. Helgeland=Helgheland; Ornulf=Ornoolf; Sigurd=Sigoord; Gunnar=Goonar; Thorolf=Toorolf; Hiordis=Yordeess; Kare=Koare [e,umlaut]; Egil=Ayghil. The letter o [umlaut] as in German.]

[1] Failing to find a better equivalent for the Norwegian "Herse," I have used the word "Headman" wherever it seemed necessary to give Gunnar a title or designation. He is generally spoken of as "Gunnar Herse" in the Norwegian text; but where it could be done without inconvenience, the designation has here been omitted.

Producer's Notes:

1. Diacritical Marks in Characters' names; Ornulf, umlaut above the "O"... Continue reading book >>

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