Expressions of dying in the Heliand
King, Ruby Kelly
Master of Arts
The rich vocabulary of the Heliand has been the object of many fruitful studies, concerning not only the individual words and their usages, but also the use of variation in connection with certain concepts. One of the most widely varied concepts is 'to die,' but little comprehensive study has been devoted to expressions of dying in the Heliand, although these expressions have been the object of some interest ever since Schmeller's first edition of the work. A recent study concerns expressions of dying and killing in Old Norse, but the major emphasis is placed on their historical development and cultural significance. Such an approach is not possible for Old Saxon. More fruitful areas of investigation are the relationship of the expressions of dying in the Heliand with similar expressions in the Latin Tatian, and the importance of these expressions in the alliteration and variation of the poem. Chapter two concerns the expressions of dying in the Heliand and their occurrences and usages. These expressions are divided into two groups;' (a) simple verbs, and (b) metaphorical expressions. There are five simple verbs used in the Heliand to express the act of dying, although only three of thorn have 'to die' as their basic meaning. These verbs arc discussed in relation to their cognates in other Germanic languages, as well as their occurrences and usages in the Heliand itself. There are many different types of metaphorical phrases of dying in the Helland, and these are discussed in separate groups. As well as the main metaphorical expressions of dying, there - are sections devoted to certain miscellaneous phrases and phrases whose precise meaning is open to question. Chapter Three is concerned with the relation of expressions of dying in the Heliand to similar expressions in the Latin Tatian, which is considered to he the main source of the Heliand, It is seen that the Heliand poet shows considerable ingenuity and originality in his choice of vocabulary and phraseology. Chapter Four considers the expressions of dying in the Heliand in their relation to the alliteration and variation of the poem, The function of several of these phrases in the alliterative scheme of the poem is investigated, and the results of this investigation are compared with the predictions of several theories of alliteration in Germanic poetry. The widespread use of variation among the expressions of dying is also studied, mainly to determine whether this variation results primarily from the needs of alliteration, or whether the variation is important in shot-ring where the major emphases of the poet's message lay. Chapter Five summarizes the results of tho preceding chapters, and the implications of these results for the interpretation of the poem are considered. Expressions of dying are shown to be highly important for the presentation of the poet's message.