GUDRUN (KuDxuN), a Middle High German epic, written probably in the early years of the 13th century, not long after the Nibelungenlied, the influence of which may be traced upon it.
Gudrun is carried off by a king of Normandy, and her kinsfolk, who are in pursuit, are defeated in a great battle on the island of Willpensand off the Dutch coast.
The finest parts of the epic are those in which Gudrun, a prisoner in the Norman castle, refuses to become the wife of her captor, and is condemned to do the most menial work of the household.
The epic of Gudrun is not unworthy to stand beside the greater Nibelungenlied, and it has been aptly compared with it as the Odyssey to the Iliad.
Like the Odyssey, Gudrun is an epic of the sea, a story of adventure; it does not turn solely round the conflict of human passions; nor is it built up round one all-absorbing, all-dominating idea like the Nibelungenlied.
Fecamp, Le Poeme de Gudrun, ses origines, sa formation et son histoire (1892); F.
Panzer, Hilde-Gudrun (1901).
Herr Abeling identifies Siegfried (Sigurd) with Segeric, while - according to him - the heroine of the Nibelung sagas, Kriemhild (Gudrun), represents a conf.usion of two historical persons: Chrothildis, the wife of Clovis, and Ildico (Hilde), the wife of Attila.
(10) HOgni (Hagen) and Hedin (Hetel), whose personalities are overshadowed by the heroines Hilde and Gudrun (Kudrun, Kutrun).
He married Gudrun (Kriemhild), the sister of that king, and won for him by a stratagem the hand of the Valkyrie Brynhildr, with whom he had himself previously exchanged vows of love.
The older story, according to which Grimhild slays her husband Attila in revenge for her brothers, is preserved in the Norse tradition, though Grimhild's part is played by Gudrun, a change probably due to the fact, mentioned above, that the name Grimhild still retained in the north its sinister significance.
Its heroine Gudrun is the most famous of all Icelandic ladies.
Her love for Kiartan the poet, and his career abroad, his betrayal by his friend Bolli, the sad death of Kiartan at his hands, the revenge taken for him on Bolli, whose slayers are themselves afterwards put to death, and the end of Gudrun, who becomes an anchorite after her stormy life, make up the pith of the story.
Gudrun eggs on Sorli and Hamdir or Hamtheow, her two sons by her third husband, Jonakr the Hun, to avenge their sister.
Brunhild taunted Gudrun with the fact that Sigurd was Gunnar's vassal, whereupon Gudrun retorted by telling her that it was not Gunnar but Sigurd who rode through the flames, and in proof of this held up Brunhild's ring, which Sigurd had given to her.
Brunhild, when she heard Gudrun wailing, laughed aloud.
With this significant difference, however: Gudrun revenged upon her husband the death of her brothers; Kriemhild seeks to revenge upon her brothers the death of her husband.
But Kriemhild was not destined, like Gudrun, to set out on further adventures.
In course of time Gudrun married Atli (Attila), king of the Huns, Brunhild's brother.
Gudrun, however, avenged the death of her brothers by slaying the sons she had borne to Atli and causing him unwittingly to drink their blood and eat their hearts.
For, as in the legend of Sigurd the Volsung, the plot had turned upon the love and vengeance of Brunhild, so in the song of the Nibelungs it is the love and vengeance of Kriemhild, the Gudrun of the northern saga, that forms the backbone of the story and gives it from first to last an artistic unity which the V olsungasaga lacks.