ADAPTATION ANALYSIS 7
Comparison:Die Nibelungenand Nibelungenlied
Comparison:Die Nibelungenand Nibelungenlied
Moviesand poems are an important component of the German literature. Germanworks of literature from the Weimar era have several imperativethemes. Due to the wealth of knowledge that these topics have,English authors such as Anthony Kline have played a pivotal role intranslating German literature to English hence, increasing theaudiences for such creative pieces. Authors such as Fritz Lang andJohannWolfgang von Goethe have played an instrumental role in extending theinfluence of German literature because their works are consideredmasterpieces that have laid a solid foundation for modern authors,artists, and film producers. Specifically, DieNibelungen, atwo part 1924 fantasy film and the Nibelungenlied,aclassic poem have been influential among literary analysts. Thisinfluence is attributable to how the two creative pieces exhibitcertain similarities in narration and themes. In English, DieNibelungen meansThe Nibelungs while NibelungenliedmeansSong of the Nibelungs. This paper seeks to analyze the similaritiesin narrative and themes between DieNibelungenand Nibelungenlied.
Beginningwith narration, both the movie and the poem have similar narrationstyles. The narrative styles are facilitated by the manner in whichboth literary pieces share the same characters and plot development.The plots of both DieNibelungenand Nibelungenliedmajorly revolve around the main characters Siegfried, the son of KingSiegmund and Princess Kriemhild of Burgundy. The film and the poemalso share supporting characters such as Hagen, Gunther, King Etzelof Huns, and Brunhild. Besides, both pieces begin the narration by abrief description of Siegfried who is depicted at the initial stagesas a man of high social standing (Jefferis, 2015). Such a descriptionis critical in laying a solid foundation for an audience to gain anunderstanding of what they should expect from the son of KingSiegmund. The narration in both DieNibelungenand Nibelungenliedfurther goes ahead to describe Alberich’s attack on Siegfried whowas trespassing the land of the Nibelungs. Despite being unprepared,the great Siegfried defeats Alberich. Again, the narrations in bothGerman creative masterpieces show that Siegfried arrived in thekingdom of Burgundy as the king of twelve Empires. A fight latertakes place between King Gunther and the influential Siegfried. Thefight only ceases when the beautiful Kriemhild appears. An analysisof the narration reveals that the entry of Princess Kriemhild intothe description becomes the turning point for DieNibelungenand Nibelungenlied.The narration takes a unique twist with a particular focus on theromantic relationship that soon develops between Siegfried and thebeautiful Princess of Burgundy. Despite the existence of otherromantic relationships in both the film and the poem, the narrationseems to focus on the one between Kriemhild and Siegfried.
Regardingthemes, both DieNibelungenand Nibelungenliedsharethe subject of chivalry. Chivalry is a quality of politeness andkindness for a man trained to fight while riding a horse. The termalso denotes gentlemanly conduct by which young men show respect towomen. In both creative masterpieces, the behavior of knights intheir normal daily lives and the battlefield is considered to havestrategic importance on how people relate to them. Therefore,chivalry is a vital aspect of the conduct of a knight (Brown, 2015).For this reason, this code of conduct is largely attributable to theknights. Furthermore, a chivalrous behavior is associated with one`ssocial status. For this reason, men who exhibit unquestionablechivalry are seen as people of a high social class. Besides, nobledeeds are only linked to males of high socioeconomic standing. Forinstance, in the Nibelungenlied,Siegfried treats Kriemhild courteously in several sections of thepoem. Moreover, their respectful courtship followed an undeniablecode of courtesy and honesty. Likewise, in the film DieNibelungentitle character Siegfried, the son of King Siegmund, uses awell-mannered way of trying to win Kriemhild’s hand in marriage.According to Jefferis (2015), this amuses the Smiths. The Smiths areindeed amused by Siegfried’s reverent behavior towards the Princessof Burgundy.
Thetwo German literary pieces also share the theme of deception. InNibelungenlied,this theme is mixed with courage in some characters. Throughout theentire poem, the subject of deceit is present. For instance, Brunhildfelt that Gunther and Siegfried lied to her several years afterSiegfried and Kriemhild wed. Therefore, she attempts to invite bothSiegfried and Kriemhild using Gunther’s assistance. According toBrunhild, Siegfried is a low ranking individual who never deserved tomarry the Princess of Burgundy. It is also evident that Siegfrieddeceived Brunhild that she would wed her, but he ends up marryingKriemhild. This deception happened without the Kriemhild’sslightest suspicion (Brown, 2015). At one point, Brunhild isoverwhelmed with emotion and sobs uncontrollably. Similarly, in DieNibelungen, Hagendeceives Kriemhild by convincing her to reveal her husbands’weakness. Siegfried’s weak spot is revealed when his wife exposes aparticular place of his tunic. Therefore, Hagen deceives Siegfried tochallenge him in a race, down a close spring (Brown, 2015). When theyarrive in the spring, he kneels down to drink some water. This givesHagen the perfect opportunity to stab him with a spear thus killinghim. Deceit is also evident when Brunhild admits that she was nottruthful when she accused Siegfried of stealing her maidenhood. Thus,the theme of deceit dominates the two creative pieces.
Thenext themes that cut across both the film and the poem are the thoseof courtly love and romance. In both DieNibelungenand Nibelungenlied,men pledge commitment and respect towards women they intend to marry.Siegfried`s expression of devotion, loyalty, and commitment toPrincess Kriemhild is an example of courtly love and romance.Siegfried does all he can think about to ensure the Princess ofKriemhild falls for him. Accordingly, Kriemhild falls for Siegfriedso strongly that she felt deeply hurt when her husband died at thehands of Hagen. This makes her swear to avenge Siegfried’s murder(Jefferis, 2015). The themes of romance and courtly love are alsoevident when King Etzel proposes to marry Kriemhild many years afterSiegfried’s murder. As a result of King Etzel’s devotion to thewoman he loves, Kriemhild agrees to marry him. They live a romanticlife, which culminates to the birth of their son. Additionally,courtly love develops between King Gunther, Kriemhild`s brother andBrunhild, a beautiful Queen of Iceland. Gunther ends up marryingBrunhild. Such a marriage was only possible due to the romancebetween the two lovebirds.
Anotherrelated theme that cuts across the two German literary works is thethat of focus. Various characters play an instrumental role indeveloping this topic. These characters are depicted as having aunified focus on achieving certain outcomes despite how long it wouldtake them to meet their goals. In both DieNibelungenand Nibelungenlied,Hagen remains focused on killing Siegfried. This makes Hagen craft atrick for deceiving Kriemhild to reveal her husband’s weak spot tohim. Once Hagen understands his target`s weakness, he remains focusedon killing him. This focus is evident when Hagen lures theunsuspecting Siegfried into a race to a nearby spring (Brown, 2015).At that juncture, he uses the chance to stab him mercilessly. In asmuch as this is a tragic ending, the theme of focus is evident.Again, Kriemhild’s focus of avenging her husband’s murder makesher maintain undeniable patience, many years after Siegfried`smurder. Kriemhild never loses her central focus of intending to killHagen for assassinating Siegfried. Her focus materialized at thefinal stages of the poem and the movie when she finally kills Hagenby cutting him down.
Inconclusion, an analysis of German literature from the Weimar erashows that these forms of literary art have a broad range of usefulthemes. Translation of some of the German poems and films intoEnglish by western authors such as Anthony Kline has facilitated anincrease in audiences for the creative pieces. As such, literaryanalysts have pointed out certain themes from German literary artssuch as DieNibelungenand Nibelungenlied.A scrutiny of the two masterpieces shows that they share certainthemes and narration styles. The comparison of the two was the focusof this paper. However, the identified similarities in themes andnarration are not exhaustive. Instead, they form a foundational basisfor discovering other similarities that cut across the two Germanpieces of literary art.
Brown,K. D. (2015). Courtly Rivalry, Loyalty Conflict, and the Figure ofHagen in the
Nibelungenlied. Monatshefte, 107(3),355-381.
Jefferis,S. (2015). The Influence of the Trojan War Story on theNibelungenlied: Motifs,
Characters,Situations. Mediaevistik, 28(1),87-98.