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The Valkyrie: Page 319
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hope (ultimately futile) to restore man’s (alleged) pre-fallen innocence through nobility of action, as Wotan’s moral hero, and Siegfried, after Siegmund’s death falling heir to Nothung, will represent Wotan’s hope in the form of the artist-hero. Both equally represent what Feuerbach described as natural necessity. Wagner acknowledged his debt to Feuerbach on this score in the following tribute from Wagner’s autobiography:

“[Speaking specifically of Feuerbach’s 1830 book Thoughts on Death and Immortality, Wagner states that:] “I found it elevating and consoling to be assured that the sole authentic immortality [thus disqualifying the divine immortality granted by Freia in Valhalla] adheres only to sublime deeds [such as Siegmund’s compassionate interventions in the lives of two suffering women, including his own sister Sieglinde] and inspired works of art. (…) … Feuerbach became for me the proponent of the ruthlessly radical liberation of the individual from the bondage of conceptions associated with the belief in traditional authority, and the initiated will therefore understand why I prefaced my book The Artwork of the Future with a dedication and an introduction addressed to him.” [387W-{?/49 ML: p. 430]

[V.1.3: E]

Having finally recognized each other, Siegmund now acknowledges himself as Sieglinde’s twin-brother, and joyfully proclaims their newfound status as husband and wife, as he prepares to wed her with his newly named sword Nothung (“Needful”), so the Waelsung blood can flourish without taint by the blood of such unheroic, uninspired men as Hunding.

(He has thrown his arm around her in order to draw her away with him.)

 

Sieglinde: (tearing herself free in the utmost intoxication and standing before him) If you are Siegmund whom I see here – Sieglinde am I, who has longed for you: your own true sister you’ve won for yourself with the sword! (She throws herself at his breast.)

 

Siegmund: (#64:) Bride and sister you are to your brother – so let the blood of the Waelsungs blossom! (He draws her towards him with furious passion: #57, #40 or #64?, #76: the curtain falls quickly.)

Here of course Sieglinde introduces the concept of sibling incest in conjunction with the transmission - safe from taint of ignoble blood - of noble blood within the Waelsung clan. It is well known that Wagner discussed the symbolic significance of Oedipus’s incest with his mother Jocasta in light of the concept that this involved him in an unconscious crime against established society, a crime however which expressed the emancipation of the ever new individual, exemplar of natural necessity, from the strictures of an ever old, conservative world. However, once Oedipus and his mother became conscious of their true relationship, they were covered in shame thanks to societal judgment, their social conscience, though their loving relationship had seemed quite natural before they became aware of Oedipus’s true identity. [See 501W and 502W] But here, unlike

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