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The Rhinegold: Page 117
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[Alberich says if he seems ugly to her she can have her way with eels.]

#8 is first heard here. Cooke demonstrated that #8 is the basis for the motif family which includes #23, #93, and #149. #23 will be heard later in the context of Fricka’s expression of her wish that Wotan’s fidelity to her could be won by providing him domestic tranquility in the gods’ abode Valhalla. #93 is famous as the motif with which Wagner brings the Ring to a close, and is generally regarded, without solid evidence, as Wagner’s motif representing redemption by love. #93 is first heard in V.3.1 when Sieglinde praises Bruennhilde for having compassionately stood behind the Waelsungs Siegmund, Sieglinde, and Sieglinde’s as yet unborn Waelsung son Siegfried, when Wotan, Fricka and Hunding threatened to destroy them. #149 makes its first appearance much later, in T.P.2, in association with Bruennhilde’s hope that her love will inspire Siegfried to undertake new adventures.

The embryo for motif #41 - later, in its definitive form, to be identified with the Nibelung dwarves’ labor in the bowels of the earth under the coercion of the power wielded by Alberich with his Ring - has been heard here in association with Alberich’s notion that he must use force to obtain what he wishes from nature, i.e., in association with conscious intention rather than spontaneous instinct. Feuerbach tells us that man must force nature to satisfy his needs:

[P. 316] “ … the true man … says: the earth will give me fruit if I give it what is appropriate to its nature; … for nature gives me nothing, I myself must take everything, at least everything that is not already a part of me – and moreover I [P. 317] must take it by extreme violence. (…)To whom then does it really belong? To the one who takes it.” [336F-LER: p. 316-317]

[R.1: F]

The Rhinedaughters Woglinde and Wellgunde, having decided to befool Alberich into believing they really might satisfy his longing for love (though they hold him and his awkward form and demeanor in contempt), have flattered Alberich with the sadistic intent to set him up for a brutal failure. The wisest of the three Rhinedaughters, Flosshilde, is not so wise after all, because she is perfectly prepared to aid and abet her sisters’ intent to lure Alberich on with false hope of love, with the sole purpose of mocking his futile longing:

Flosshilde: (…) (#5 embryo:) Two you have wooed: if you asked but the third, sweet solace your true love would bring you!

 

Alberich: What lovely singing wafts this way. – How good there’s not just one of you: with many, one might like me, with one, none would choose me! (…)

 

Flosshilde: (…) How foolish you are, you dull-witted sisters, not to find him good looking! (…)

 

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