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The Rhinegold: Page 198
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[R.3: D]

Now Mime grants us insight into why his interests might correspond with those of Wotan and Loge, for he notes that he sought to keep the Tarnhelm he’d made at Alberich’s behest, in order to free himself from enslavement, hoping instead to force Alberich to serve Mime’s needs:

Loge: You idler roused his wrath just now.

 

Mime: On me, the most wretched of all, he forced the worst of all tasks: (#42:; #41:) a metal helm he bade me weld; he told me exactly how to craft it (:#41). I cleverly noted what magic power lay in the work that I forged from the ore (:#42): (#19 varis:) so I wanted to keep the helm for myself, by means of its magic free me from Alberich’s sway - … perhaps outwit my tormenter and, placing him in my power, (#19 vari:) wrest the ring away from his grasp, so that, just as I’m now a slave to that bully, (#19 in jaunty vari with triangle: harshly) he’d serve me, a free man, in turn (:#19 vari)! (#5; #15?; #17; #19)

 

Loge: If you’re so clever, why did you fail?

 

Mime: (#42:) Alas, I who wrought the work (:#42) (#42?) failed to guess the spell aright … ! He who ordered the work and snatched it away has taught me now – too late, alas! – what artifice lies in the helmet: he vanished from sight, but his arm, unseen, (#5:) dealt weals to one who was blind (:#5). (…) Fool that I am, that’s all the thanks (#19:) that I earned for myself (:#19). (…)

In this respect Mime is like Wotan, wishing to free himself from Alberich’s threat by co-opting Alberich’s Ring-power and using it to serve Mime’s own needs and desires, compelling Alberich to serve Mime instead. And this provides us an extraordinarily important, seminal insight into the underlying kinship of Wotan with Alberich’s brother Mime, a kinship which was implicit in any case because Wotan describes himself later as “Light-Alberich,” and because Alberich’s Ring (#19) gives birth to the gods’ dwelling-place Valhalla (#20a). The clue to their underlying commonality of interests is Feuerbach’s remark that religious belief satisfies man’s practical motives, that religious man’s attempt to co-opt the power of the mind to satisfy feeling (the egoistic Giants) rather than the demands of objective thought (Alberich’s quest for objective, worldly power) actually has a practical, ulterior, egoistic objective, unlike art, which according to Feuerbach employs imagination freely for its own sake (i.e., for purely psychological or emotional satisfaction) rather than for some practical real-life end which serves the body’s interests:

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