His story was the subject of an old epic and of several tragedies, but none of these has been preserved.
Next came the New England Tragedies (1868) and The Divine Tragedy (1871), which found no large public. In 1868-1869 the poet visited Europe, and was everywhere received with the greatest honour.
But in his plays, as in the early tragedies generally, the dramatic element was subordinate to the lyric element as represented by the chorus and the dance.
His other dramatic works are classical tragedies on the subjects of Antigone, Cleopatra, and Agrippina.
The pathos of such tragedies as the death of Gunnar and Hoskuld and the burning is interrupted by the humour of the Althing scenes and the intellectual interest of the legal proceedings.