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7-10-2015, 14:17

Ragnarok in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life

The myth of Ragnarok has captured the imagination of people around the world. Most notably, the myth was used as inspiration for the fourth and final opera of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung cycle, first


According to Norse mythology, the world will end at Ragnarok, a time of great destruction when the gods will wage a final battle with the giants. © NATIONALMU-SEUM, STOCKHOLM, SWE-DEN/THE BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY.


The End of the World


Most cultures have some vision of how the world will end.

Event

Culture

Description

Judgment Day or

The Apocalypse

Christian

Though there is some disagreement over the order and duration of events, the Christian view of the end of the world involves the return of Jesus Christ to Earth, a Last Judgment in which the saved are separated from the damned, one thousand years of peace, and the loosing of Satan’s forces on Earth.

Qiyamah

Islam

As in Christianity, in Islam there is a day of judgment. God rewards the good and punishes the bad, and the world is destroyed.

Ragnarok

Norse

A giant battle of the gods, giants, and forces of evil will destroy the earth.

The end of the Kali Yuga

Hindu

The Hindu belief system is cyclical, with time broken into long ages called kalpas, each consisting of four periods. We are now said to be in the Kali Yuga, the final, darkest period of the current age. At the end of the Kali Yuga, Shiva will destroy the earth in preparation for a new kalpa.

ILLUSTRATION BY ANAXOS, INC./CENGAGE LEARNING, GALE.


Performed in its entirety in 1876. The opera, known as The Twilight of the Gods—a literal translation of “Ragnarok”—differs substantially from the Norse version of the myth.

Ragnarok has been used as the name of a popular Korean comic series, an animated television series, and a multiplayer online role-playing game series. The world depicted in these only loosely resembles the

Realms of Norse mythology, though many characters are modeled after the Norse gods and other mythical beings.



 

 

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