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The Valkyrie: Page 304
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Hunding: With weapons a man defends himself. – (turning to Siegmund as he leaves: #67 varis:) Tomorrow, Woelfing, we shall meet; you heard what I said (:#67 varis) – guard yourself well! (He goes into the bedchamber and can be heard closing the bolt from within. #63)

This passage introduces the motif #69, which represents the tears of the anonymous woman for her brothers whom Siegmund had to kill in order to defend himself and her from the revenge of her family. They were forcing her into an unwanted, unloving arranged marriage, and Siegmund, responding to her appeal for help, attempted to free her from this burden. #69 is the basis for #80a. #80ab will first be heard in the context of Wotan’s wife Fricka’s complaint to him that thanks to his own infidelities to her, his wife, he has given a poor example to these illicit Waelsung twins who thumb their noses at the gods’ divine laws and the society founded on them.

This passage also introduces the famous motifs #70 and #71, both of which are associated, Cooke notes, with the tragic destiny of the Waelsungs. #70’s initial appearance in embryonic form was heard moments ago accompanying Siegmund’s remark to Sieglinde: “A Woelfing tells you this, whom as Woelfing many know well.” This motif’s inception therefore calls to mind Wotan’s intent to bring up his Waelsung heroes independent of society and its mores. Cooke concluded that #71 rises out of the last three notes of Erda’s #53, which recalls her proclamation of the ephemeral nature of all things in this life, including the gods’ inevitable doom. The destiny of the Waelsungs is to forestall this doom, to redeem the gods (religion) from it, but they can only do this by breaking divine law and breaching faith in the gods. It is this theme which lends unity to almost the entire family of heroic motifs which Cooke noted stem from the last three notes of #53, which includes #77 (representing the Valkyries, the illicit spawn – since Wotan is wed to Fricka - of Wotan and Erda, to whom Wotan looks to gather the fallen heroes who will aid the gods to defend Valhalla in the final battle against Alberich’s host of night; #88 (the motival symbol for the Valkyries’ inspiration of heroes to martyr themselves on the battlefield so they can gather them in Valhalla); and #92, the Motif which stands for the fearless hero Siegfried, Wotan’s last hope of redemption.

By aiding this anonymous but needy woman, Siegmund the social revolutionary demonstrates his instinct to redeem society, though society considers any individual who on his own account, influenced by his own conscience, threatens the status quo, even if it’s unjust, as the enemy. Thus Hunding instinctively despises Siegmund because of his independence of mind, and resorts to the expedient of telling him that the Norns (fate) haven’t favored Siegmund, as his pretext for despising him. In other words, for the common man, another man’s bad luck is often his sole ground for condemning and judging him, or worse, if the hero’s tragic fate is the product of his virtues, the common man holds the hero’s virtues to be vices. Hunding’s self-righteous indignation is due to the fact that Siegmund has helped a maiden to avoid a loveless marriage with a member of Hunding’s clan, echoing the situation he finds his twin sister Sieglinde suffering under. Siegmund, true to form, will also save his sister Sieglinde from her loveless marriage to Hunding.

The god Wotan, disguised, bringing up Siegmund in the wilderness to fight for what is ethically right in the face of society’s craven dependence upon thoughtless tradition, is Wagner’s metaphor for the moral legacy which modern secular man inherits from religious man’s belief in man’s immortal soul and divine origin, which is an impetus to man’s ethic of self-sacrifice and

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