The Nibelungenlied



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The Nibelungenlied: Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Siegfried sneaks away to Nibelungenland. Upon arriving at a castle, he subdues a burly watchman and then Alberich the dwarf, who helps Siegfried gather the thousand gallant knights he requires. Siegfried and the knights sail back to Iceland and are received by Brunhild.
Siegfried’s earlier conquest of Nibelungenland serves him well, as he commands the loyalty of more than enough knights to make a sufficient show of strength in Brunhild’s court.
Honor vs. Vengeance Theme Icon
Brunhild lets Dancwart distribute some of her treasure to the foreign guests, but is soon dismayed at his excessive generosity, telling him that she trusts herself to squander her own inheritance. Hagen tries to convince her that Gunther has such riches that her own won’t be needed, but she insists on filling her own coffers in preparation for the journey to Burgundy. She then appoints a governor, gathers her retainers, and takes leave of Iceland for the last time. She declines to consummate her marriage with Gunther, however, until they have arrived in Burgundy.
The problem of women’s trustworthiness when it comes to managing their own wealth (it’s seen as better that they rely on the provisions of men) will come up more than once in the story. Squandering one’s riches is a queen’s prerogative, and denying her that diminishes Brunhild’s power. However, her refusal to consummate her marriage is an assertion of power in its own right (and allows her to maintain her status as a problematic woman for the time being).
Idealized and Deviant Womanhood Theme Icon
Hospitality, Gifts, and Exchange Theme Icon