Bride behind the Threshold: “The Lay of the Nibelungs”, Body-Shifters and the Mythology of Exogamic Marriage
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Keywords

The Nibelungenlied
Folk Tale
Exogamic Marriage
Mythology
Rite
Shape-Shifting

How to Cite

SarakaevaА., & Sarakaeva, E. (2020). Bride behind the Threshold: “The Lay of the Nibelungs”, Body-Shifters and the Mythology of Exogamic Marriage. Corpus Mundi, 1(3), 132-146. https://doi.org/10.46539/cmj.v1i3.26

Abstract

Basing on the German epic poem “The Nibelungenlied” and European folk tales, authors of the article single out the story of a bride left nearby her groom’s house. Characteristic features of this story are explained as originating from a ritual myth which used to codify the rites of the exogamic marriage. The bride in this plot is viewed as a shape-shifter whose bodily transformations reflect her origins from the Underworld and manifest her ability to kill. Changing the bodily form is thus representative of the evil powers and dangerous qualities of a being. The transformations of the bride’s body are only present in the most archaic forms of the plot, where her ability and proneness to kill are manifested straightforwardly – by assuming the image of a murderous animal. It’s possible to neutralize her harmful potency with the help of a wonderful assistant, the dead man who embodies one’s ancestor, or by performing certain ritual actions, creating special conditions under which the bride could change and become one of our own, safe for herself and her host family, rejecting all ties with the dangerous space of the Otherworld.

https://doi.org/10.46539/cmj.v1i3.26
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