Wideburg, Laura Bethany Ann, 1961-
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Kriemhild, the main character of the Nibelungenlied, provides an interesting transformation from a young girl afraid of a potentially tragic marriage into a mature woman commanding an army in her pursuit of revenge. The reconciliation of these two images of Kriemhild has been the focus of scholarly attention. Scholars such as Gottfried Weber and Winder McConnell have seen this development as Kriemhild's descent into the demonic, while others, such as Werner Schroder, have seen Kriemhild acting solely out of love for her murdered husband. The two views of Kriemhild fall into the traditional classification of women into "saint" (the loving Kriemhild) or "sinner" (the evil Kriemhild). This dissertation attempts to find a human Kriemhild between these two extremes.Twelfth-century beliefs about the role and responsibilities of noble women form the basis for an in-depth discussion of Kriemhild's actions. Kriemhild's relationship to her mother Uote, her brothers Gunther, Giselher and to a lesser extent Gernot, as well as her husband Siegfried are examined through the late twelfth-century society's expectations of noble women in a time of rising population and economic decline. Kriemhild's behavior becomes more understandable when these pressures are taken into account.Finally, Kriemhild's revenge is considered in the context of heroic women in other works common to the time. The question of female heroism is examined in depth, showing that Kriemhild is as much a heroic figure as her male counterparts.
- German