Brunhild

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Related to Brunnhilde: Brynhild, Valkyrie

Brunhild

(bro͞on`hĭld),

Brünnehilde

(brün'əhĭld`ə), or

Brynhild

(brĭn`hĭld), mighty female warrior of Germanic mythology and literature. In the Nibelungenlied, a medieval German epic poem (see under NibelungenNibelungen
or Nibelungs,
in Germanic myth and literature, an evil family possessing a magic hoard of gold. The hoard is accursed. The Nibelungenlied [song of the Nibelungen] is a long Middle High German epic by a south German poet of the early 13th cent.
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), she is the warlike queen of Iceland, whom Siegfried defeats in combat and wins for his brother-in-law, Gunther. Hating Siegfried, Brunhild contrives his death at the hands of Gunther's henchman, Hagen. In the Icelandic version of the story, the Volsungasaga, as Brynhild, she is the chief of the Valkyries. Sigurd (Siegfried) saves her from an enchanted stronghold, and the two fall in love. Later, Gudrun makes him forget Brynhild by means of a magic potion and takes him as her husband; Sigurd then wins Brynhild for Gunnar (Gunther). After bringing about Sigurd's death, Brynhild destroys herself on his funeral pyre. Wagner in his opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelungs, in which she is Brünnehilde, makes her a Valkyrie who defies her father, the god Wotan (see WodenWoden
, Norse Odin
, in Germanic religion and mythology, the supreme god. His cult, although widespread among the Germanic tribes, was sometimes subordinated to that of his son Thor.
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), to help the lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde. Wotan places her sleeping on a mountaintop surrounded by fire, from which she is rescued by Siegfried. He is made by magic to forget her, and for his unfaithfulness she brings about his death, her own death on his pyre, and the burning of Valhalla.
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Brunhild

furiously vengeful concerning Kriemhild’s accusations of promiscuity. [Ger. Lit.: Nibelungenlied]
See: Anger

Brunhild

outdone in athletic competition by Gunther with invisible assistance. [Ger. Myth.: Nibelungenlied]
See: Deceit

Brunhild

disobeys father’s order to let Siegmund die. [Ger. Opera: Wagner, Valkyrie, Westerman, 237]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
By 1856, however, Schopenhauer had struck decisively: Wagner wrote in a letter that "in the course of the myth this love had emerged as fundamentally annihilating," and Brunnhilde's final words are now "Grieving love's profoundest suffering opened my eyes for me: I saw the world end." This is much more faithful to the action of Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods), the final installment of The Ring, which sees Siegfried, under the influence of an evil potion, not only betray Brunnhilde with a very objectionable woman, but also procure her for a most unsavory man; for which Brunnhilde confides to Hagen, the son of the Nibelung Alberich, conceived not in love but in violent lust, how he might kill the nearly invulnerable Siegfried.
He and Brunnhilde (who is Wotan's daughter) shall be the redeemer and redemptrix of the world, replacing the old order of covenants with the new order of do whatever feels right.
He gets into some fairly dicey tonality symbolism (could it be, at this late date, after Alfred Lorenz?) in this chapter, insisting for example that the three tones in the augmented triad that accompanies Brunnhilde's heroic equestrian leap into oblivion "incorporates Grane's A, Siegfried's heroic F and the drama's final key of D flat" (why not say "the key of burning Valhalla"?), and that it thus "completes the 'counter-structures' which were left unresolved at Brunnhilde's giving of Grane to Siegfried in Act I scene i as a love token in exchange for the ring, when the tonality moved from E minor, through G minor to B flat, and then from F to a pause on the dominant A, and closed with a long crescendo on an A triad as she asked that Siegfried often speak her name to the horse" (pp.
Siegfried, in Gotterdammerung, gives the Ring--with tragic irony--as a love-token to Brunnhilde, before riding forth sounding his horn.
Indeed, apart from Siegfried's death and funeral music there is nothing more "tragic" in the Ring, in any common-sense view of that word, than Wotan's anguished narrative to Brunnhilde in Die Walkure 2.2.
Though protected by Brunnhilde, Siegmund battles with Hundig and is killed.
Wagner demands special effects: a rainbow bridge to carry the gods to Valhalla, the magic fire that encircles the sleeping Brunnhilde, a dragon and the eventual apocalypse in flames.
So Brunnhilde, similarly unleashing what is both love song and elegy for Siegfried, would bring about the end of a flawed universe.
Gudrun Schwarz finds that Brunhild of the medieval epic poem, more than Wagner's Brunnhilde whom his Siegfried loves and leaves, served as an image of Germanic womanhood for women in the Nazi period in their aspirations to power, seeing themselves through National Socialist propaganda as heroic female fighters for a new Germanic Empire and as belonging to the master race (pp.
Mathilde Wesendonck played a decisive part as a model for the characters not only of Sieglinde and Brunnhilde but also of Eva and Isolde.
Here, Siegfried, concealed in the cave, sang while Gunther mimed (in a robotic way); at the close of the act, when Siegfried has driven Brunnhilde into the cave, he re-emerged as himself, taking off the Tarnhelm.
She has made roles such as Brunnhilde, Isolde and Ariadne her own in a fascinating international career.