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The Valkyrie: Page 297
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Siegmund: Woeful [“Wehwalt”] I have called myself. Hunding I’ll await. (… his gaze is fixed on Sieglinde in calm and resolute sympathy: the latter slowly raises her eyes to his. A deep silence ensues, during which they both gaze into each others’ eyes with an expression of great emotion: #66; #63; #40 or #64 vari?)

Motif #65 expresses the “Noth,” the plight or ill-fortune the individualistic revolutionary Siegmund has inherited as a man with a personal conscience in a society which always caters to political and social expedience, i.e., the society established under Wotan’s spear of law and contracts (symbol for the “social contract”), to which love and goodness must often be sacrificed. The name Siegmund gives himself, Woeful, expresses his true status in a society concerned only for the status quo, security and quiet at all costs (including religious faith, a prime instance of man’s desire to be relieved of the burden of thinking or feeling for himself).

Siegmund’s invocation of Wotan’s nickname “Wunsch” (i.e., wish), as he expresses his hope that by leaving he’ll avert his own ill-fortune from Sieglinde, is ironic, in that, as we learn later, Wotan manufactured Siegmund’s troubled life (his “Noth”) in order to prepare Siegmund for his tragic destiny as the revolutionary who will redeem the gods from their sins.

#66, one of the most significant motifs in the ‘Ring,’ is introduced as Sieglinde suggests that Siegmund need not worry that he’s bringing his ill-fortune to her, since she suffers from it already. #66 therefore seems to express the plight, or Noth, of the Waelsungs in general, and, as Cooke says, is the embodiment of their sympathy for each other, for those who are destined to tragedy. They are destined to tragedy because Wotan has foredoomed them to pay the price of Alberich’s curse in order that the gods (the Ring’s symbol for man’s religious longing for transcendent value) can be redeemed from Alberich’s threat to overthrow them. By exploiting his Waelsungs – without their having any choice in the matter - to accomplish this, Wotan is effectively placing them in the same position as martyrs which Froh attributed to Alberich himself when he noted that because Alberich had already paid the price, renunciation of love, to forge the Ring of power, if the gods could take it they would not have to pay this price. #66 will later take on a special role as a reminder of Sieglinde’s compassion in particular, and of the fact that she died, suffering the greatest “Noth,” giving Siegfried birth. #66 conveys all of these contingencies which will from now on trouble the Waelsungs, who wish to live for love alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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