Although in Amzulescu's "Catalogue of the Narrative Subjects and Variants" (1983) The Unfaithful Wife is rightly registered as a "family ballad", type 134 (291), with three sub-types, I will refer here to an epic or bravery song thematically belonging to the family ballad, but registered as a heroic epic song. The type 205 (286), Ghită Cătănută, knows hundreds of variants published in collections and magazines, or stored on tapes in the Archive of the "Constantin Brăiloiu" Institute of Ethnography and Folklore. Structural analysis of the poem led Amzulescu (1981) to the conclusion that this is a heroic ballad, the main character of which is a brave man who fights his enemy and wins, punishing at last his young wife who did not help him in a crucial, provoked or unprovoked episode of the struggle. The inter-play of the cultural, archaic context and the social, performing context shows how the singers, in different cultural and emotional contexts, slightly but firmly moved the emphasis either on the ethic or the heroic meaning of the story. As the ballad is mainly sung by men, and the traditional occasions of performing it were the wedding party (feast) or men gatherings, most of the versions of the ballad Ghia Catanut show a strongly male oriented attitude. The cruelty with which the young wife and her mother are punished stands, sometimes, against the moral values of the modern times.
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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
2020 Volume 65
Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.