|The hero of the Nibelungenlied. Siegfried was the son of Siegmund (Sigmund), the king of the Netherlands, and Sieglind (Sisibe or Hjordis). His counterpart was the hero Sigurd, who appeared in many of the Icelandic and Scandinavian sagas, such as the Volsunga Saga. Siegfried was knighted at the age of eighteen. Siegfried hearing of Kriemhild's great beauty, the hero decided to woo Kriemhild. Siegfried also hoped to win fame and glory through his own prowess in warfare. Siegfried became lord of Nibelungland, after killing the two brothers, Schilbung and Nibelung. Siegfried gained the Nibelungs' treasure and the cloak of darkness (Tarnkappe) from Alberich, the dwarf and Nibelungs' treasurer. Siegfried also possessed the sword Balemung and the horse. Siegfried skin became invulnerable when he killed a dragon and was bathed in the dragon's blood. The only vulnerable spot on his body was on his back where a large leave covered fell on his back between his shoulders. Only Kriemhild knew of her husband's weakness. Hagen would later tricked Kriemhild to reveal this weakness to him. When Siegfried arrived in Worms, a city in Burgundy, Gunther won his friendship. Though he sought to woo Gunther's sister, he did not see her until a year later. They were only formerly introduced, after helping the king to win the war against the Saxons and the Danes, when Siegfried captured the two kings. Siegfried fell in love with Kriemhild, and her brothers approved of the marriage, if the hero would help Gunther win Brunhild in marriage. Siegfried does so by defeating the warrior-queen, using his magic cloak, Tarnkappe. Brunhild thought she was contesting Gunther. There was a double wedding. Whereas Siegfried's marriage was happy, Gunther was humiliating. When Gunther had tried to make love to his new wife, Brunhild fought him, bound the king, and hanged the king up on the wall. Gunther was no match for Brunhild's superhuman strength. Again, Siegfried had to secretly overcome Brunhild for Gunther. When Brunhild finally submitted to husband, Siegfried stole her ring and girdle, gave them to Kriemhild. The ring and girdle became symbols of their deception over Brunhild.
A man of great strength, Beowulf, pits himself in struggle against a monster, Grendel. Hero defeats Monster, and is rewarded with treasures and his praises are sung. Then the plot twists, even in the ancient manuscripts of yore, Grendel's mother seeks revenge. She is a demon from the line of Cain, cursing humanity and hating all that brings happiness to mankind. Beowulf must also slay her to free the land from it's curse and to allow the people in it to rejoice and enjoy life in the mead hall. Later ,in old age, Beowulf must don his armor once again. he must wear the fine web mail to face yet another monster. A fierce dragon attacks his kingdom,and Beowulf faces his last battle. He Kills the dragon, but is himself fatally wounded. His kingdom falls into disarray , without it's strong hero to protect the people they are soon overrun by neighboring tribes. In the latest incarnation, however, it is mans own weakness,and lust that is the down fall of all great heroes. The monster of pride, arrogance, greed, and lust is the most terrifying opponent, and it is our own internal weakness that brings us all down, preventing us all from being heroes.