Germanic Literature essay

When the supernatural is defined as any order of being beyond the observable biological cosmos, including hell and heaven, then the supernatural can be characterized as a primitive German existence framework. This study examines three pieces that depict the history of the supernatural in the 15th and 16th centuries. It contains three difficult stories that essentially discuss the type of authority that most people exercised prior to their conversion to Christianity during the Germanic period.

The first are the "Merseburg Charms" or "Merseburg Incantations," which allude to two medieval magical spells. These spells are considered the only known instances of Germanic pagan belief preserved in this language (Fuller 160). These charms are divided into two parts, and each of them tells the story of a mythical occurrence as well as the real spell in the form of magic resemblance. In one verse of the poem, the author states "Odin heals Baldur's Horse." In this case, Odin uses the power of magic to heal a horse that was injured. This verse represents the primary evidence for the existence of Aesir in Europe. It is a distinctive verse because it brings into the picture the existence of supernatural beings; it lists a group of gods: Odin, Frigg, Baldur and Fulla who belong to the same family as father, mother, son and daughter respectively.

Furthermore, the incantations are divided into two parts where the preamble tells the story of a supernatural event and the real spell in the name of a magic equivalence. According to the verses in the poem, these spells exist in a transitional manner. In this case, the first magic charm is a blessing of release (lose seven).

In the second fantasy literature, “Nibelungenlied” the author presents a supernatural theme. It is a story of mere women and men. It stems from the pre-Christian fables and beliefs which represent the predominant elements of the supernatural. These elements are represented by customary resources from earlier centuries such as the magical gold, dragons, and dwarves. To some extent, the world of the supernatural is outranked and continuously subjected to deception or force by the representatives of the actual historical sphere (Schulze 500).

In this article, the author endeavors to show that the existing Nibelungenlied should not be seen as old age literature but a story of immense symbolism. First, the death of Siegfried does not seem to have any noteworthy religious undertones, but the diction of the author in the entire process repeatedly evokes the imagery of Christianity. For instance, when Siegfried is almost dying, a friend knits a cross on his garment with the belief that it will provide him protection. At this point, he gets murdered, and Siegfried’s friend uses a spear, the same as that that was used on Christ to pierce through the chest while on the cross.

In the long run, as he dies blood spews from Siegfried’s wound in the same manner that it occurred on Christ. Also, the author states that the blood which spilled from Siegfried's wound came directly from the heart which means that it represented his life. In this case, the death of Siegfried is not just like that of a normal person but represents a supernatural who died as a martyr. In a subsequent event which represents supernatural implications occurs after the dead body of Siegfried is brought back by his friend Hagen. While he had been dead for some time, another person notices the body bleeding. Though such an occurrence is not realistic, the author refers to this scenario as a miracle. Based on the author’s choice of words, it implies that the occurrence is evocative of Christ's suffering the mysticism of paganism rather. In the long run, the author portrays the outstanding contrast between Siegfried’s burial and the one for Christ.

The last scenario which represents elements of the supernatural occurs when Burgundians are under attack from the forces of Kriemhild. Knowing that his fellow fighters are thirsty and probably die when Kriemhild puts the building on fire Hagen makes the Burgundians take blood from the dead. Though this could be argued that such an act is very closely connected to the blood agreements of Irish literature and Norse, the author states that such would be way beyond and ghastly to the courts of the Austrians. Instead, such action symbolized the holy sacrament which is represented by the consumption of Christ’s blood. This is enhanced by the supernatural powers which the Burgundians acquired making them capable of surviving the flames. Therefore, the fact that Christian elements were used throughout the Nibelungenlied is a fact which has been emphasized several times throughout the course.

In “Historia and Tale of Johannes Faustus” the story talks about a man who sells his soul to the devil. While it is a fictional literature, the legend is centered on a real magician who existed in the northern Germany region during the fifteenth century. Once an idealistic, Faustus ends up being disillusioned and bitter with misery he abandons God and makes a perilous deal with a devil as the paranormal where he commits his humanity to everlasting damnation in return for control and knowledge in life (McCullen 10). This story represented one of the tales when people were making pacts with the supernatural and this case the devil. This occurs at a time when it was not unusual for people to evil power to accomplish their goals. The primary reason for making deals with the devil is to be able to get powers to survive an era that was mostly being driven by with hunts. Since Faustus is blinded by his desire for power and wisdom, he sells his soul to the devil and as a result, he loses the happiness of heaven and eternal joy. In this case, Faustus seals a deal that would last 24 years and starts being taught how to do incantations and spells so that spirits can rise. Though it reaches a point when angels tell him to leave the magic and be forgiven, the devil also informs him that he would be torn apart if he attempted such an act. Faustus works with the devil to the extent that he is so excited about what the devil shows him.

The story of Faust is primarily founded on a real alchemist and magician who was active in the course of the 15th and the 16th century, particularly in Germany. Worthy of noting is the fact that this story is told at a time when people never feared death. They could even go to the extent of making direct contact with the next world to achieve power and wisdom. As a result, this hunger for information resulted in an inner struggle between the traditional thinking that was imposed by the church and a person’s desire to explore the world and reveal the truth on his own. People at this time were fighting the dilemma of living up to the fresh mindset without completely laying off primitive divine impressions. This is the point when Dr. Fausters resorts to the supernatural to attain knowledge and power at the expense of continuous distress by his inconsistent captivation feelings and fear. Faustus primarily represents the renaissance spirit and the struggle of man between seeking scientific knowledge and the denial of religious dogmas as well as contemplative life.

It is, therefore, clear that most Germanic literature during the 14th and 15th century are marked by special knowledge or supernatural power and protagonists who get exposed to supernatural objects or beings so that they can triumph over the problems in the long run. It appears that during this period most people valued the supernatural power more than what they could achieve from the church. From the first story“Merseburg Charms” there is the representation of magic, the second Nibelungenlied also talks about the supernatural with the representation of Christ's body. On the other, the third supernatural story about Faust talks about the extent to which a person can go to gain knowledge and seek powers. In this case, it primarily highlights the supernatural but through the devil's power.

Works Cited

Fuller, Susan D. "Pagan Charms in Tenth-Century Saxony? The Function of the Merseburg Charms." Monatshefte (1980): 162-170.

McCullen, Joseph T. "Dr. Faustus and Renaissance learning." The Modern Language Review 51.1 (1956): 6-16.

Schulze, Ursula, and Hermann Reichert. "Das Nibelungenlied." (2006): 499-502.

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