Essay about Nibelungenlied and Parzival

Essay about Nibelungenlied and Parzival

Length: 1564 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Nibelungenlied and Parzival


Although both the Nibelungenlied and Parzival were composed around the same time (c. 1200), they are vastly different in certain respects—namely concerning the matters of diplomacy, redemption, revenge, and deceit. Some striking similarities do exist among the two texts—concepts of honor (êre), loyalty (triuwe), moderation (mâze) and knightly deeds (âventiure) are valued highly by both societies. However, each notion is accomplished through different measures in each work. In fact, societal values are taken more to the extreme in Nibelungenlied, and deceit is often used to obtain them.

For example, honor manifests itself similarly in each work, but is acted on to a different extent. In both works, honor is clearly a good characteristic to have, and maintaining it is a cornerstone to both societies. Conversely, being shamed in the eyes of society—and thus losing honor—requires retribution. However, in Nibelungenlied, some characters enact any and all means to redeem their lost honor, including unknightly deeds and deceit (such as murdering Siegfried, or Kriemhild's wrath murdering her family), and also have no problem lying in order to gain more honor (the wooing of Brunhilde). In Parzival, however, lost honor can only be met with knightly deeds and repentance to God, and gained honor can only be a product of knightly deeds. In the world of the Nibelungs, repentance to God does not even enter into the equation, as there is no concept of forgiveness interwoven into the story. For example, Kriemhild cannot forgive her brothers for murdering Siegfried—and perhaps rightly so, since they show no signs of remorse, and do not put themselves at God's mercy. Every earthly sin enacted must be...


... middle of paper ...


... to an extreme. To regain lost honor, inordinate measures are taken to rectify it. And even loyalty—whose different breeds (loyalty to vassal, to guest, to spouse) seem to clash at every possible occasion—can be viewed as a bit over the top.

It is often speculated that the author of the Nibelunglied wrote about brutal, harsh reality as it actually was, hate and revenge interwoven, while Eschenbach wrote about his ideal of what society should be—a veritable utopia drawing upon a chivalric age which had ended some years past. However, the Nibelungenlied lacks moderation in nearly all regards, and for that reason the work is distanced from modern society (and perhaps medieval society), which tends towards a middle ground, more so than the world portrayed in Parzival.

Works Cited

Eschenbach, Wolfram von. Parzival. Trans. A.T. Hatto. New York: Penguin, 1980.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Honourable Warrior in The Nibelungenlied and Beowulf Essay examples

- A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but is the scent sweet the same for everyone. (line 1600, Romeo and Juliet ). If one person from a whole different culture or world believed that something sugary always has a hint of bitterness as well, would one still consider it the same kind of sweet as we do. With this in mind, the meaning and definition of the word honor presents us with the same situation. Considered as an important attribute in what defines warrior-hero, honor is what distinguishes himself from a rampaging animal and other people....   [tags: The Nibelungenlied, Beowulf]

Powerful Essays
1302 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Women and Maturity in Eschenbach's Parzival

- Women and Maturity in Eschenbach's Parzival Through the course of Wolfram von Eschenbach's epic romance Parzival, it becomes abundantly clear that the main characters, Parzival and Gawan, must attain some level of maturity or growth before they will be able to persevere in their personal quests. While their paths to maturity involve a great deal of combat and contests of knightly skill, it is their encounters with noble women that truly redefine their characters. Parzival is undeniably a romance....   [tags: Eschenbach Parzival Essays]

Powerful Essays
1246 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on The Nibelungenlied

- The Nibelungenlied The original aim of this paper was to encompass the bulk of Mythology's impact on the arts. Before very long I realized that to cover such a vast area, I would be treading dangerously close to a book's length project. I then decided to limit the topic to Mythology and its impact on music, specifically classical. Again, this was an enormous field to limit to a short research paper. After considerable deliberation I decided to focus primarily on the music of Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883), principally his "Der Ring des Nibelungen", or, The Ring of the Nibelung....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2515 words (7.2 pages)

The Nibelungenlied, Njal’s Saga and Beowulf: The Changing Definition of Masculinity

- The medieval Germanic cultures described in The Nibelungenlied, Njal’s Saga and Beowulf, place a great deal of importance on using courage and prowess in battle to determine masculinity. In many ways, modern society still values the idea of expressing masculinity through physical activity. The current stereotype of a masculine man is an athlete, a man who competes in often violent sports to establish his status relative to other men. However, sports are situational activities, scheduled deviations from normal living....   [tags: Nibelungenlied, Njal’s Saga, Beowulf]

Powerful Essays
3418 words (9.8 pages)

Depiction and Development of the Knight Hero in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival

- Introduction Wolfram von Eschenbach’s epic poem Parzival stands as one of the richest and most profound literary works to have survived from the middle ages. Lost in obscurity for centuries until rediscovered and republished by Karl Lachmann in 1833, the poem enjoyed at least as great a popularity when it was first composed as it does among today’s readers: Some eighty manuscripts have been preserved, in whole or in part, from Wolfram’s era (Poag 40). Among the more intriguing aspects of the work is Wolfram’s handling of the depiction and development of two of the story’s primary characters, the knights Gahmuret and Parzival, father and son....   [tags: Eschenbach Parzival Essays]

Powerful Essays
2797 words (8 pages)

Essay on The Nibelungenlied and Njal’s Saga

- The words honor and power in romance languages such as Spanish and French are el honor y el poder and le honneur et le pouvoir, respectively. Both Spanish and French categorize honor and power with masculine articles, which in many ways limits these qualities to only manlihood. Though English, a Germanic language, does not genderize nouns, many English speakers still associate honor and power with very masculine qualities. This is proven by the fact that American society often describes men as honorable and powerful—only until the recent decades did women, such as Oprah and Hilary Clinton, received such recognition....   [tags: Character Analysis, Siegfried and Gunnar]

Powerful Essays
1496 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on The Nibelungenlied and Njal’s Saga

- How we view characters largely depends on their motives for action; depending on what aspects of their motives are emphasized, similar characters can be viewed as treacherous fiends or selfless martyrs. A knight fighting to defend his honor can be seen as treacherous and murderous. Similarly, a lawyer can be seen as directive and wise ,but also as manipulative and deceiving. Hagen of Troneck from The Nibelungenlied and Njal Thorgeirsson from Njal’s Saga were both manipulative, held similar relationships, and accepted their deaths....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1966 words (5.6 pages)

A Comparison of Honor in Beowulf and Parzival Essay

- Honor in Beowulf and Parzival             Throughout literary history authors have created and restored figures from all times that seem to represent what is honorable and chivalrous. The two literary legends compared in this paper are Beowulf and Parzival. These two figures in their own way find within them what is virtuous. At first impression it seems as though Beowulf is the warrior who contains the honor within himself, but as the two characters are compared in depth, it becomes obvious that Parzival's journey through manhood brings him to a much more noble and honorable place....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
1679 words (4.8 pages)

Cultural Diversity in Nibelungenlied, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh Essay

- Cultural Diversity in The Nibelungenlied, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh Cultural diversity is something that mankind has experienced since the dawn of time. Different cultures and different people have different views on the same issues, and it all adds to the diversity that is life. It shows that there is something for everybody. For the most part, there is no one person saying that everyone has to be this or follow that. A person's culture is determined on how they are brought up, what country they live in, how their parents were raised, and what the people around them do and believe in....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
857 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Njal's Saga

- Njal’s Saga is a long and epic tale of jealousy, treachery, and manipulation. The previous book that we read, The Nibelungenlied, also featured these similar plot elements. Njal’s Saga contains several characters that have close similarities to those in The Nibelungenlied. In The Nibelungenlied, there is a mighty fighter named Siegfried. As a proven warrior, Siegfried possesses great strength and an ego that is equally as great. Halfway through the story, Siegfried is betrayed by an ally and left to die....   [tags: Comparative, Nibelungenlied]

Powerful Essays
1690 words (4.8 pages)