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The Valkyrie: Page 302
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on a mortal woman whom Wagner never identifies. The pathos of this motif arises partly from the fact that neither Siegmund nor Sieglinde will ever learn their father’s true identity as Lord of the gods of Valhalla, and partly also from the derivation of #20a from Alberich’s Ring Motif #19. In other words, Siegmund’s true back-story, his virtual raison d’être, is Wotan’s futile desire to redeem the gods from Alberich’s curse on his Ring, futile because it is itself a product of the Ring, i.e., the nature of the human mind which seeks to accomplish the impossible, to attain metaphysical freedom, placing it forever at variance with the very world which gave it birth.

[V.1.2: B]

Siegmund now continues the narrative of his troubled life, inadvertently exposing himself to Hunding as the enemy of Hunding’s clan, who they have literally chased into Hunding’s own home:

Siegmund: (#24:) I longed to leave the wildwood and felt drawn to men and women: - (#64 clarinet) However many I met, wherever I might find them, though I sued for a friend or for women, - ever was I treated as an outcast. Ill fortune lay upon me. Whatever I held to be right others thought was wrong; to whatever seemed to me bad, others gave their approval. (animatedly) I was caught up in feuds wherever I went and met by anger wherever I fared; (hesitatingly) though I craved for bliss, I caused only woe. (#5) – And so I must call myself Wehwalt [“Woeful”], for woe is all I have known. (He looks up at Sieglinde and notices her sympathetic glance. #67; #40 or #64; #5)

 

Hunding: The Norn who decreed (#68) so wretched a fate felt little love for you: the man you draw near as stranger and guest will not be glad to greet you. (#67)

 

Sieglinde: Only cowards fear a man who, weaponless, fares alone! – (#63) Tell us, guest, how at last you lost your weapon in the fray. (#66)

 

Siegmund: A sorrowing maid had called me to arms: her kinsmen’s clan was wanting to marry the maid, unloved, to a man. … I flew to her aid; the horde of oppressors I faced in battle: the enemy fell to the victor. Her brothers lay there slain: the maid enclasped their corpses; grief drove out her anger. (#5:; [[ #69: ]]) In floods of unstaunchable tears she bathed the slain with her weeping: the murder of her brothers the hapless maid bewailed (:#5; :#69). – The dead men’s kin came storming along, vast in number, they groaned for vengeance: all round the battlefield foemen rose to meet

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