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The Rhinegold: Page 118
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Alberich: Dull-witted and ugly they seem to me now I see you, the fairest of all.

 

Flosshilde: O go on singing so sweetly and subtly; how it bewitches my ear!

 

Alberich: My heart quakes and quivers and burns with desire, when such fulsome praise smiles upon me. (…)

 

Flosshilde: [[ #25 embryo: ]] How your charm cheers my eye, how your mellowing smile makes my spirits rise! (#105 embryo:) Your piercing eyes, your bristling beard … , might I always see and hold them! [[ #105 embryo: ]] Your toad-like build, the croak of your voice … (:#105 embryo).

 

Woglinde and Wellgunde: Hahahahahaha!

In the course of Flosshilde’s mocking praise of Alberich’s toad-like charm, Wagner introduces the Embryo for Motif #25, which will become the basis for what Deryck Cooke rightly described as the primary Love Motif of the Ring, represented to varying degrees by #39, #40, and most importantly, #64b. The other motifs in this family I will introduce during the discussion of #25’s definitive appearance. The key point for Wagner’s audience is that at #25’s inception in embryonic form we associate it with love employed as a weapon, and thus as an egoistic expression of brutality and sadism, the triumph of the beautiful over the ugly in the competition for mates. The point is, Alberich’s longing for love being thwarted, he will conclude that love is an illusion, and will act accordingly, with nothing to lose. His cynicism has already reached the point that he acknowledges that the quest for a love-mate is based on statistical probability: he notes that from an array of women, the chances are increased that at least one might choose him.

#105’s Embryo is also introduced here, and will be associated later - in its definitive form - with Mime’s claim that Siegfried owes him a debt of gratitude. Cooke has shown that #105 produces #111 and #127. #111 is first heard when Siegfried proclaims his emancipation from Mime and his alleged debt to him, and #127 makes its appearance when Wotan tells Alberich that he does not seek to interfere in his proxy Siegfried’s behalf, but will let Siegfried stand or fall on his own.

[R.1: G]

Having tried and failed to seduce any of the three Rhinedaughters, Alberich concludes, correctly, that no matter how often he would make the experiment, he would fail to find love for himself in the world. He is inherently incapable of finding it. So he expresses his existential angst in the following despairing cry:

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