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Hoðr’s Blindness and the Pledging of Óðinn’s Eye: A Study of the Symbolic Value of the Eyes of Hoðr, Óðinn and Þórr

Annette Lassen

The Arnamagnæan Institute, University of Copenhagen – 11ª Saga Conference (2000)

The idea of studying the symbolic value of eyes and blindness derives from my desire to reach an understanding of Hoðr’s mythological role. It goes without saying that in Old Norse literature a person’s physiognomy reveals his characteristics. It is, therefore, a priori not improbable that Hoðr’s blindness may reveal something about his mythological role. His blindness is, of course, not the only instance in the Eddas where eyes or blindness seem significant. The supreme god of the Old Norse pantheon, Óðinn, is one-eyed, and fiórr is described as having particularly sharp eyes. Accordingly, I shall also devote attention in my paper to Óðinn’s one-eyedness and fiórr’s sharp gaze.

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