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Archetypal Shame Society Surely one of the greatest works of German literature thus far, Das Nibelungenlied is arguably the best example of the heroic epic in most Western literature. Ostensibly, Das Nibelungenlied is a story of deception, betrayal, and vengeance interwoven with themes of destiny and the connection between grief and love. The poet reproaches the principal character, the queen Kriemhild, because of her selfishness in sacrificing the lives of thousands of faithful knights to exact her revenge on those that betrayed and killed her husband. But, underlying the narrative of Das Nibelungenlied is a tacit critique of its own hypothetical society, which itself closely resembles the society of this poet's market. Therefore, the poet plans to influence discourse among his audience concerning the political state of its society, and indeed this motif is even recapitulated in the very act of the epic's reception. The premise behind the poet's political concept of the Nibelungenlied society is just like that of English philosopher Thomas Hobbes in his experiments on the condition of nature and the social agency. Hobbes thought that guy, in his natural state, was driven by the primitive impulses of desire, aggression, fear, and most importantly, survival. For the large part, the lives of uncivilized men were short and brutish. Therefore, to shield themselves from each other and external threats, men entered into a social contract, in which they made an entity with authority to rule and power to shield. Nonetheless, this agreement is hardly a remedy to the problem of man's natural aggression along with his fellow man; it merely glosses over it. Perfect proof of the Nibelungenlied culture glossing over natural aggression are the knightly exhibi...