14 Pages

The Fenris Wolf: Unreal Fetters and Real Forces in Søren Kierkegaard’s Authorship

ByHenrike Fürstenberg

In Norse mythology the Fenris wolf, Fenrir, is the bound demon upon whose escape the fateful events of the Ragnarök, the apocalypse, begin to unfold. He is the enemy of the supreme god of the Norse pantheon, Óðinn, whom he will kill in the ultimate battle, and thus he symbolizes the constant threat, the realization of which the gods, called the Æsir, cannot prevent. Nonetheless, precisely this is their intention in binding the dreadful monster. The wolf is only unable to destroy the third of the three fetters laid upon him by the gods, and of all the elements of the myth, it is this tie, called Gleipnir, that most captivated Kierkegaard’s attention. This article shows how the myth plays a role in Kierkegaard’s authorship and which aspects come into effect in his works. The inquiry centers on the question of what moments of Kierkegaard’s thoughts on existence find expression in the use of the motif of Fenrir.