Based on the material of the epic poem “Das Nibelungenlied” (The Lay of the Nibelungs) the article discusses the concepts of hero, heroism and fate which existed in the minds of medieval Europeans. This paper explores the relationship between these concepts. The authors postulate and prove the hypothesis that, in the framework of mentality under study, the measure of higher heroism was foresight and active acceptance of one’s fate. Fate, in turn, was revealed only to those heroes who were able to doom both themselves and the maximum number of other people to death. The authors show that Fate in the “Lay of the Nibelungs” is a constant, albeit secret, participant of the events; it interacts in complex ways with other participants. Fate directs the actions of the characters and is itself directed by them, revealing itself only to selected brave ones, to those who will be able to become its co-author, who, in accordance with its plans, will boldly go to death and lead others there too. Only such people can be considered heroes.
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