Complete List of

Narrative Themes and Dramatic Roles

David G. Engle (1.9)

 

 

100 OFFERS, REQUESTS, DEMANDS

 

 

 

110 Seduction & Courtship I (among lovers)

Here the actors are the (potential) lovers among themselves.  This is the initiation of a relationship; for matters concerning an ongoing relationship, cf. 210; for broken faith cf. 210.a or 245.a.4

.0   (general)

.1   (rendezvous)

.2   (window)

.8   (passing the time of day, greeting, meeting  casually, conversation)

a: refused

because of:

.3   (class)

.4   (character, profession, general pride)

.5   (too young)

.6   (another preferred)

b: accepted

.7   (marriage)

 

115 Erotic Encounters and acts

.0   (general)

.1   (cohabitation)

.2   (prostitution)

.3   (aubade)

 

120 Courtship II (lovers vis-ą-vis family or "others")

The lovers in confrontation with, for example, the "tattlers," courtiers, "the world",  parents' interference, etc.

.0   (general)

a: refused, opposed

.1   (character, profession, class, nationality)

.2   ("bride" too young)

.4   (family or other personal interference)

.7   (another preferred)

b: accepted, granted

.8   (bestowal of the bride or groom; reward of  marriage)

.9   (enforced marriage; this when to the wrong  person by e.g. the family)

 

 

125 Promises & Vows  A

Request, demand or offer of:

.0   (general)

.1   (money, gold, riches, clothes, spices,  delicacies, real tangibles)

.2   (honor, marriage, faithfulness)

.3   (Cockaigne,  Schlaraffenland , unreal tangibles)

.4   (love token or sign, e.g., ring, symbol of  engagement, bonnet instead of maidens' wreath)

.5   (in a non-love situation, one's word or   guarantee,  Pfand )

a: refused

b: accepted

 

140 Approbation (Reward, Praise)

.0   (general)

.1   (praise, prize, award, reward)

.2   (thankfulness, thanks)

a: refused

b: accepted

 

150 Helping Hand (Mercy, Help, Intercession, Advice)

.0   (general)

151 Actions: help, assistance, intercession (Intangibles)

Support, instruction, teaching, stewardship, looking after someone, personal sacrifice; here the requests for or offers of such  actions , their accep­tance, granting or refusal; under 250 the success or failure of what amounts to aid or rescue.  [from “outside”]

152 Tangibles: aid, succor

This has to do with requests for or offers of tangibles, alms, food, money, clothes, medical attention, various services which amount to tangibles; here direct; ransom which might involve tangibles is placed with aid/intercession or with mercy accordingly.

153 Compassion, Mercy, Pity, Forgiveness, Release

From confinement or contract, release from threat of abuse or punishment for whatever reason including sins, reli­gious confession, dropping charges or accusations, turning loose; legal, moral, religious; one agent's asking for this on behalf of another.  The act of intercession; under 151 the request for intercession. [from “inside”]

154 Simple Demand for Justice

Which is not associated with accusation.

155 Permission

Especially regarding permission to leave, go away with, or permission to enter when this is emphasized; sanction.

156 Advice & Warning

Especially from family, friends or colleagues.

157 Companionship

Going along with, accompanying, especially a lover.

a: refused, not accepted (failed, violated, attempted, unsuccessful)

.8   (hardheartedness, relentlessness)

.9   (because of inability, disability)

b: granted, accepted, offered spontaneously (fulfilled, complied with, successful)

.10  (simple releasing from confinement, captivity; spontaneous pardons such as  might start a ballad)

c: ransom, Loskauf, purchased

Granting mercy or aid but upon imposed conditions, e.g., money, sacrifice, promise; the purchase of "mercy or aid" usually first refused then sold; blackmail, putting the "squeeze on."

.11  (through playing music)

 

170 Offering Deals, Wagers, Bargains, Indemnity, Contracts, Planning     

Pacts, Conspiring

a: refused

b: accepted, granted

 

180 Offering of Hiring, Enlisting, Workers and Bosses

Offers, solicitations, demands of occu­pation either to gain or give employment or in the course of employment or service.

.0   (general)

.1   (hiring, enlisting, arranging employment)

.2   (workers & bosses: solicitations, demands,  e.g., of the workers upon their bosses & vice versa; here employment, occupation- related, not task-related; demands for remuneration)

a: refused

b: accepted, granted

 

 

 

200 OBLIGATIONS, COMMITMENTS, EXPECTATIONS

 

 

210 Romantic or Marital Relationships

[Responsibilities] Ongoing relationships (unlike 110).

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated, faithless

.1   (adultery) (If broken faith, then classify also as 245.a: Mores: violated.)

b: fulfilled, complied with, faithful

 

220 Kinship Responsibilities

.0   (general)

.1   (Schnur & Schwieger; mother-in-law and daughter-in-law)

.2   (thankless son or daughter)

.3   (rejection of the parents in favor of the wooer)

.4   (stepparents)

.5   (raising the children by parents or adoptive parents)

a: failed, violated

b: fulfilled, complied with

 

225 Promises & Vows B

To be deleted & put to 245.0         (general)

a: failed, violated

b: fulfilled, complied with

 

235 Interdictions (Express Tabus)

“Dont’s”

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated

b: fulfilled, complied with

 

240 Tasks Imposed

“Do’s”

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated

b: fulfilled, complied with

 

245 Mores & Morals

Adherence to prevailing social conventions and customs, to "what is expected."

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated

.1   (Frevel: outrageous or heinous trespasses, e.g., incest or bearing false witness under oath, defiling food; BUT for certain kinds of murder cf. 290; for blasphemy see here or 290)

.2   (dishonor, especially but not limited to a girl's)

.3   (hospitality violated or withheld expressly)

.4   (betrayal of friendship or acquaintance)

.5   (betrayal of stewardship over someone not related)

.6   (betrayal of one's class)

.7   broken promises

b: fulfilled, complied with

.2   (honor kept)

.3   (hospitality pointedly fulfilled)

.4   (friendship)

.5   (stewardship not over kin)

.6   (subservience to class distinctions)

.7   kept promises

.8   being true to oneself, personal legend, Unentwegtheit, Beständigkeit

 

250 Assistance or Rescue 

To be struck and melded into 150

.0   (general)

.1   (with saint's help)

.2   (in battle)

.4   (from grave or death)

a: failed, violated, attempted, unsuccessful

.5   (temporary, abortive)

b: fulfilled, complied with, successful

 

 

260 The Law 

Prevailing legal codes.

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated, breaking the law

b: fulfilled, complied with , keeping the law

 

270 Keeping Deals, Wagers, Bargains, Contracts, Pacts,

Following plans, Conspiracies

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated

b: fulfilled, complied with

 

280 Employment, Occupational Responsibilities,

including Military Service
Desertion = 330 + 280.a

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated

.1   (abusive orders, commands)

.2   (manipulation through debt, withholding pay or pensions)

.3   (disobedience, strike)

.4   (poor service, laziness)

.7   fired – no matter whose fault

b: fulfilled, complied with

.5   (true or good service)

.6   (remuneration, concession, pension)

 

290 Affiliations (Religious, Political, or Ideological) 

Essentially public and non-personal; if interpersonal, then --> 245

.0   (general)

a: failed, violated

.1   (treason)

.2   (blasphemy)

b: fulfilled, complied with

.3   (godly life, gottgefälliges Leben)

 

 

300 DEPARTURES, QUESTS

 

 

310 Elopements, Abductions, Enticements

Here mostly voluntary; if enforced --> 850: captures and claimings

.0   (general)

 

320 Departures and Farewells; the Search;
Going on quests, riding out, focus on leaving for something or not being happy about leaving (esp. in combination with 590)

.0   (general)

.1   (military)

.2   (contract or employment, Wanderschaft, search for employment or adventure, seeking one's fortune)

.3   (pilgrimage, penance)

.4   (quest, search for persons, objects, &c.)

.5   (exile, transportation, being "sent away," "thrown out of the house")

.6   (emigration)

a: enforced

b: voluntary

 

 

330 Escapes & Desertions

Running away; focus on getting away from something negative.

.0   (general)

 

340 The Ride

The goal, destination, place is known (unlike a search 320.4); saddling up and riding (as on  a "milk white steed") but also swimming, running, even being transported by saintly means; mostly to "get there" on time; travel between two points.  The thematic core is the spanning of distance between two points, in distinction to just setting off, or undertaking a journey per se, even though the destination might be known.

.0   (general)

 

 

 

400 CONTESTS

 

 

(psychological)

Psychological or intellectual contests; competition for "the advantage"

 

410 Verbal Contests

Tests and contests, test as a challenge; "prüfen"; Here the "test" – under 810 the discovery.

.0   (general)

.1   (debate, riddling, verbal battle of wits)

.2   (clever excuse)

 

420 Self-Transformation: Costuming, Disguise, Transformation.  These are mostly "willing" and relatively "external;" here especially self-transformation – to 560 goes enchantment, transformation by another, as being parallel to confinement or slavery or madness.

.0   (general)

.1   (getting dressed (i.e., no disguise), costuming, arming oneself; getting undressed)

.2   (disguises, pretensions, transforming oneself in general)

 

430 Concealment or Hiding Out [place]

Mostly location, e.g. the robbers' hide out,

.0   (general)

 

440 Tricks, (Deceptions, Ploys, Ruses, Entrapments)

Lies, tricks, traps, dodges, shams, deludings, fraud, "psyching out," substitutions of another person or thing, "bait and switch," diversions, equivocations, lies, tricking questions, manipulations which are not particularly exploitative.

.0   (general)

.1   (substitution)

.2   (falsehoods, lies, false accusations in combination with 910, falsified information and falsified reports often in combination with 815.5)

 

445 Boast, Challenge, Insult, Triumph

Self-praise or just a statement of having the advantage over someone, thing, condition, situation; while a boast will start action as a kind of indirect challenge, triumph ends that segment of the action by declaring an apparent winner; certainly some amount of verbal abuse is covered here; Spott.

.0   (general)

 

(physical)

450 Physical Contests, War, Combat, Contests, Physical Competition

Will be reorganized as 450.1, 450.2, etc.

451 One against Many

.0   (general)

 

452 Duel, Single Combat

.0   (general)

 

453 Competition, Team Contests

Team competition, team sports.

.0   (general)

 

454 Wars, Feuds, Group Combat,

.0   (general)

.1   (battles, wars, military and naval combat)

.2   (feuds)

.3   (riots)

 

(other CONTESTS)

 

460 Pursuits, Hunts

.0   (general)

.1   (pursuit, manhunt)

.2   (hunting, poaching)

 

470 Games of Chance and Skill; Contests of Prowess;

Gambling, Drawing Lots. Cf. 170 & 270 for wagers which are more like "deals" or "contracts".  Here the game, 170/270 the pact.

.0   (general)

.1   (drawing lots)

.2   (gambling, cards, dice)

.3   (competition with animals or machines)

 

480 Races

[probably obsolete --> 470.4]

.0   (general)

 

490 Reversal of Situation, Reversal of Role

This is not under "psychological contest" because the reversal need not necessarily stem from the person's character; it usually does, however.

.0   (general)

.1   (measure for measure, hoisted on his own petard)

.2   (disadvantageous success)

 

 

 

500 JOURNALISTIC ACCOUNTS, ORDEALS, ADVERSITY

 

 

Adventures, events, ordeals, adversity, "true" occurrences, often happenings in a series, sometimes leaning towards the descriptive more than the narrative; often "journalistic" in tone.

 

520 Outsiders: Outlawry, Abandonment, Orphanage, Ostracism, Poverty

.0   (general)

.1   (outlawry--"merry" or "criminal"--, ostracism, vogelfrei sein, geächt und gebannt; true accounts, ordeals, adversities or the adventures of being an outsider, of being on one's own)

.2   (orphanage)

.3   (beggary when particularly emphasized; grinding poverty)

 

540 Mistreatment

One time or gratuitous.

.0   (general)

.1   (gratuitous violent mistreatment)

.2   (exploitative mistreatment, gratuitous or not, manipulation, milder forms of exploitation through authority, e.g., gratuitous fining)

.3   (robbery)

 

550 Abuse

Habitual, repeated or motivated by personal relationships.

.0   (general)

.1   (beatings & threats of beatings)

.2   (torture, in combination with 810.2 torturous tests)

.3   (threats, except the gallows scene of 660)

.4   (sale of humans; here the selling, below the slavery)

 

560 Confinement and Isolation (as Captivity or Reclusion)

Both as confinement (cannot get out, as in captivity, madness, enchantment) or as isolation (as in being cloistered).  Here madness as enchantment; to 580 as a natural disability.  Banishment goes to 320.

.0   (general)

.1   (captivity, imprisonment, house arrest, legalistic)

.2   (enchantment, confinement, non- or extra-legal captivity)

.3   (slavery, the galleys)

.4   (reclusion, the cloister)

 

(Journalistic accounts of hardship & prosperity:)

 

571 Incidents, Hazards and Fortunes of Travel

.0   (general)

.1   (riding out, taking a walk)

.2   (military moves or rides out)

 

572 Incidents, Hazards and Fortunes of Employment,

Occupation or Enterprise

.0   (general)

.1   (chores, e.g., harvesting, gathering, picking, fetching water, wine, &c.)

.2   (military services)

 

573 Feats

Incidents, hazards & fortunes of choice, personal decision, acts of prowess; of-ten in a series.  As a contest, cf. 470.

.0 (general)

 

574 Good and Bad Times

The quality of life; mostly this unit is descriptive and observational.

.0   (general)

.1   (hard times, hard times litany, e.g., list of afflictions, plague, pestilence, inflation, hunger, and so forth)

.2   (Heile Welt, the world in order)

 

575 Life-Cycle Events or Biographies

Tends to be recounting of whole lives or decades.

.0   (general)

 

576 Historical or Political Events

These events being a sort of miscellaneous category for those which the other units do not fit, where the pressure of what must be felt as "true," historical, or political reality exerts more influence on the song than the more usual story-telling traditions.

.0   (general)

 

577 Calendrical Events

About hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc.

.0   (general)

 

578 Simple Encounters or Sightings

Usually short, essentially non-dramatic or without conflict stated directly in the ballad text, often with a somewhat visionary character (but visions &

dreams declared as such go to 815).

.0   (general)

 

(Disabilities and shortcomings:)

 

580 Disability

These are mostly physical, often the kind of things that are complained about (+590).  Here the state, under 620 the accident.

.0   (general)

.1   (being injured, being wounded)

.2   (illness, insanity, infirmity, age)

.3   (pregnancy, childbirth) [even if portrayed positively, which hardly happens]

.4   (blindness (physical), disabled)

.5   (starvation)

 

585 Shortcomings

These are more mental, more of the sort a song will make fun of.  (Poverty --> 520)

.0   (general)

.1   (weakness, ineptitude)

.2   (stupidity, naēveté)

 

590 Complaints or Laments

Only the complaints go here; almost always in combination with another unit, e.g., death 630, killing 650, separation 320, etc.  The actions motivated by the complaint go to those respective themes.  Thus here goes the complaint of another's death, to 630 goes "sympathetic death;" here goes the complaint of wrongdoing, to 650 the revenge killing.

.0   (general)

.1   (about character, except as .2 or .7 below)

.2   (about being married, about married or romantic partner, about their characters)

.3   (subjunctive: I-wish-I-had-never-been-born-type)

.4   (repentance, in combination with 910: accusation)

.5   (of death, i.e., only complaint, without further action; mourning)

.6   (separation from loved ones, homesickness, and question of who will care for children, etc., left behind, about parting, "scheiden & meiden tut weh;" the actual separation is 320)

.7   (about family, family members)

.8   (hornyness, "Geilheit")

.9   (about absence of guilty party)

 

 

 

600 DEATH AND DISASTER

 

 

610 Harm

"Schaden," contrived disasters

.0   (general)

.1   (arson)

.2   (demolition, sabotage)

.3   (wounding, maiming in a fight or battle)

 

620 Accidents, (natural) Catastrophes, and Strokes of Fate

Natural accidents, fire, flood, earth‑quake, storm, tidal wave, cold, heat.

.0   (general)

.1   (natural catastrophes, communal)

.2   (accidents, individual)

 

630 Death

Natural, accidental, in combat.  Here more "fate" to 650 more "intentional"

.0   (general)

.1   (Scheintod, apparent death)

 

635 Sympathetic Death

[obsolete: will go to 630.5]

Includes suicide and dying of broken heart, etc.

.0   (general)

.1   (suicide; either killing of self or double suicide)

 

640 Last Farewells (Death-Bed)

Last farewells, last-goodnights on a death bed, gallows, or place of accident.

.0   (general)

.1   (farewells, sending of death messages)

.2   (testaments, bequests)

.3   (requests, preparation for death, last sacraments)

 

650 Killing, Murder, Manslaughter

The killing of another human being in a non-legalistic setting, murder, manslaughter, killing in justified or unjustified revenge, or unexplained killing (justified or not).

.0   (general)

.1   (attempted murder)

.2   (choice of death)

.3   (Menschenschlächterei, butchering a human being

.4   (through withholding or actively NOT preventing a preventable death)

 

660 Execution

Legalistic in form; cf. Retribution.

.0   (general)

.2   (gallows scenes in general)

 

 

 

700 SOCIAL EVENTS

 

 

710 Dances

Dances, dancing, dance floor, &c., and also public celebrations, e.g.,

.0   (general)

.1   (Kirmes, public festivities, fairs)

 

720 Funerals

.0   (general)

.1   (graveside, going, visiting the grave; here actions, 590 is the complaint)

.2   (death bells, hearing of the death as one approaches)

.3   (funeral, including the burial, but also recovering the body, the morgue, "the duckers;" lying in state)

.4   (wedding day - death day)

.5   (plants or birds on the grave, BUT NOT ominally, just present; here are flowers emphasizing the grave.  The "rose and the briar" go to 815 as being ominal.)

.6   (the cross by the wayside)

 

750 Conviviality, Celebrations, Repasts

Eating & drinking, having a good time, more private in nature than 710 above.

.0   (general)

.1   (celebration, party, e.g., a wedding)

.3   (scene at the inn, eating & drinking, food & drink, a meal)

.4   (fish, eels & snakes)

.5   (human flesh and/or blood)

 

 

 

800 DISCOVERIES, INFORMATION AND CONNECTIONS

 

 

810 Discoveries, (Non-)recognitions, Tests

Testing questions and "Proben" as well as chance discoveries; also the pointed NON-recognition of actual conditions.  Non-legal investigations.  (The legality of investigations and testimony goes to  950 – the discovery stays at 810).  Confessions to go 910.

.0   (general)

.1   (gratuitous discoveries, mostly of a misdeed)

.2   (questions & tests: of a disguise, identity, character, of suitability (e.g., a suitor's), or loyalty;  Liebesprobe ; test questions, questioning parentage, origin, home, where all the children came from; the testing of a disguise or pretension can occur in either direction (test by or of the disguised one))

.4   (belated, unwelcome discoveries, discovery or recognition too late)

.5   (through use of token, mark, sign, ring, etc.)

.6   (overhearing, hearing of something by chance)

a: Non-Recognition, Non-Discovery, False Perception

Of an identity, condition or situation.

b: Discovery, Recognition, Self Revelation

Discovery of identity, condition, situation; making oneself/itself known, self-presentation.

 

815 Messages (Reports, Visions, & Oracles)

Visions, signs, signals, reports.

.0   (general)

.1   (oracles, omens)

+ Retribution = divine justice, 

e.g., where plants & birds indicate  the meting out of justice

+ Reunion = 820.7

+ Trial = trial by ordeal

.2   (premonitions, dreams, visions)

.3   (prophecies, predictions)

+ 960.4 retributions = curse

.4   (signals, messages, letting know, also signs agreed upon; letters, reports)

 

820 Arrivals & Reunions

.0   (general)

.1   (too late, unwelcome)

.2   (temporary, aborted, inconclusive)

 

823 Return, Arrival, Reunion

E.g., bringing home the bride or booty or prisoners, reunion of recognized or "known" relations, lovers or friends, social order restored.  The arrival of non-related or non-recognized persons functions differently.

824 Arrival as a Stranger

I.e. focus on the arrival & reception accorded one a stranger or one not recognized; includes requests for lodging and/or extensions of hospitality (perhaps not accepted) which are not emphasized (s. Mores).  The treatment of non-recognition goes to 810: discovery.

.7   (reunion in heaven)

 

 

850 Captures, Claimings, Fetchings

Not elopement which is relatively "consensual"

.0   (general)

.1   (claiming, calling forth, being fetched by angels or the devil, the groom claiming his bride)

.2   (capture, taking prisoner)

.3   (temporary, unavailing, aborted, inconclusive)

.4   (press gang)

 

 

900 JUSTICE

 

 

910 Accusation (Denunciations, Deliveries, Reproaches,

Confessions Accusations, self-accusations, self reproach, delivering oneself or another person over, confessions to the priest

.0   (general)

.1   (admonitions from the hereafter)

.2   (whose blood is that?; blood gushing onto someone)

.3   (repentance in combination with 590)

.4   (simple reproach, perhaps without "criminal" implications; "who is to blame")

.5   (confrontation with a misdeed in a non-trial setting)

 

950 Trial

Legalistic in setting.    (The legality of investigations and testimony stays at  950 – the discovery goes to 810).

.0   (general)

.1   (civil, legal)

.2   (military, court-martial)

.3   (trial by ordeal, in conjunction with 815)

 

960 Retribution and Punishment

All kinds of punishments, retributions, revenge.  The unit is almost exclusively aspectual, acting in combination with actions listed elsewhere. Cf. 140: reward.

.0   (general)

.1   (threat of retribution, punishment, except gallows scene)

.2   (consolation, justice belongs to God)

.3   (supernatural or divine aspects to the retribution, mostly in combination with 815)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1000 METAPHORICAL NARRATIVES

 

 

1000 Love, Erotic Metaphors

2000 Domestic Metaphors

3000 Political Metaphors

4000 Religious Metaphors

5000 Other Metaphors

 

 

 

Complete List of Role Relationships

(Classes of dramatic Principals)

(The Dramatis Personae)

 

 

L          Lovers:

            Relationships defined by loving, courting, attempting to seduce, entice, having a good (amorous) time or not.  Included are also marital relationships, or what passes for such , called by Wilgus, Long and their students “binding relationships.”  Husband and wife acting as a couple are included here; acting as father and mother they are included among Family.  However, a lasting relationship is not necessarily implied (e.g., the prostitute), nor must the “love” which motivates the plot be mutual (e.g., “Winterrosen,” or “König und Marquise”).

F          Family:

            Relationships defined by family ties; blood relationships rather than social.  The “family” may be extended or nuclear, and may include stewards or step-parents, but only when they act in the capacity of immediate family relationships.

O/Ec     Occupational/Economic Figures:

            Relationships defined by a common and public social structure of work and commerce: artisans, innkeepers, soldiers, sailors, rangers.  characterized by professional or economic relationships; roles dictated by general social structure rather than authoritarian or personal relationships.  (The soldier or cowboy carrying out his duties is classed here; the figure whose role in the ballad is that of a lover is classed among the Lovers, even though he may be described incidentally as a soldier or a cowboy.

I           Institutional Figures:

            Relationships defined by the potential for exercising authority which is collective rather than individual.  Institutional agents are the representatives of authority (e.g., kings, police, popes), or agents acting in the religious or governmental institution’s stead,

            e.g., soldiers in combat; ships of war; the law and lawmen; priests representing the church as institution (e.g., the pope in “Tannhäuser”; not the figures which are the subject of religious teachings); feudal lords.  As an indexing device, these relationships have been assigned to the individual song  types, although they have not been used in the classification.

V          Victims:

            The relationships which involve victims or sufferers.  A criminal or an oppressor can create a “Victim,” and so can an institution (which then functions as the “Victim’s” opposite).  A “Victim” or a sufferer can ask for help, so that the helper—or even the avenger—is his opposite in the other direction.  This is borne out by such figures as Robin Hood, who is both “criminal” and “helper,” and as “outlaw” perhaps also “Victim” in his own right.  The relationships here are of exploitation and help; since both center on the “Victim,” the agent class is so named.

R          Religious/Supernatural Figures:

            Relationships which depend on the numinous, on the figure’s supernatural qualities, or on the figure’s position in a religious or mythological hierarchy.  Included are religious figures, supernatural characters, saints and biblical figures acting especially in their “official” or biblical capacities (e.g., Christ, Saint Peter); revenants and Scheintote (false dead).  As an indexing device, these relationships have been assigned to the individual song types, although they have not been used in the classification.

N or A/P           Animals/Plants:

            Relationships involving animals, plants, stars, streams, inanimate objects, forms of nature, whether or not the plot’s relationships actually depend on a figure’s being non-human.  As long as they act in a ballad, such figures have been recorded as an indexing device.  They have not been used in the actual classification or arrangement.

G         Gratuitous Figures:

            Relationships between ballad principals which are characterized by their lack of personally motivated depth, however important the figure may be to the ballad plot.  “Gratuitous Actors” is a category for principals not to be put in any of the other “pigeon holes,” and yet whose actions, while lacking enough substance to associate them with another class of principals, seems important enough as gratuitous: these are the figures who step in and out of the ballads, perhaps giving advice or an accusation, appearing in a dream, or functioning as a voice of the ballad itself.

C          Contestants and Combatants:

            Roles or relationships characterized mainly by contest or combat, e.g., Diederick in his punitive action against Ermenrich (V180).  The conflict here is not so much one of interpersonal relationships as it is of circumstances: warriors who define themselves through their combat; cowboys and Indians.  At times, however, the category is appropriate to contestants in psychological battles for personal hegemony (T.Unit 440), when, along with any other “personal” relationships, the roles motivating the ballad plot are defined by a gaming spirit or adversary nature.

 

These role relationships do not have to be mutual to be thematically valid; the presence of only one side of a relationship is sufficient to record that class of actor.

These classes are not mutually exclusive; just as in real life, the role relationships can combine (e.g., love and family).