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The Valkyrie: Page 337
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Fricka: (#79:) The lord of battles awaits you: (#53 vari or #53/#54?:) let him explain the fate he has chosen (:#53 vari or #53/#54? [could it be #83’s embryo?]; :#79)! (she drives quickly away: #51; #81: surprised and with an expression of concern, Bruennhilde moves towards Wotan, who, leaning on the rocky seat, is sunk in gloomy brooding)


Fricka’s final remarks here are right out of Feuerbach’s playbook. Feuerbach was contemptuous of religious man’s withdrawal of responsibility from man in order to accord free will to God alone, since man invented God in the first place. In the following extract Feuerbach denigrates the Frickan concept that all honor and freedom is to be accorded to God alone:

“… is a God who accords no merit to man, who claims all exclusively for himself, who watches jealously over his honour – is a self-interested, egoistic God like this a God of love?” [173F-EOC: p. 327]

Interestingly, as Fricka insists that Wotan withdraw the magic from Siegmund’s sword so Siegmund will be defenseless against Hunding’s revenge, we hear what seems a foreshadowing of Motif #94, which will be introduced in definitive form later, in V.3.2, when Wotan describes to Bruennhilde how he will punish her by placing her on the mountaintop in defenseless sleep. Of course, Wotan will – in contradiction to his innermost desire - punish Bruennhilde expressly for attempting to thwart Wotan’s ultimate, tragic decision to let Siegmund die for the sake of the gods’ honor, by defending Siegmund from Hunding.

We see here in the conjunction of #51, representing Alberich’s curse on his Ring, and #81, which reminds us that Wotan is bound by his own law to destroy the sole possible means of redemption from its constraints and contradictions, namely, individual freedom and love, that Fricka - though wishing to preserve the source of man’s ideal of transcendent love, Freia, and divine law, the social contract engraved on Wotan’s Spear of authority - is not sufficiently flexible to make the changes necessary to allow man’s religious longing for transcendent meaning to live on in the face of Alberich’s threat. Wotan is left in despair because he knows what she doesn’t know, that the gods are destined to destruction unless redeemed by his free hero, the very hero which Fricka – the voice of religious faith – has forced Wotan to abandon.

In describing the responsibilities of a king in the following passage, Wagner seems to have captured Wotan’s despair in having to destroy Siegmund for the sake of what seems, at least on the surface, to be the larger social good, but what in fact is just collective egoism:

[P. 21] “[Describing “Public Opinion” as a reflection of “the vulgar egoism of the mass,” Wagner says that:] … the necessitation to yield to its requirements … becomes the earliest source of that higher form of suffering which the King alone can personally experience as his own. If we add hereto the personal sacrifice of private freedom which the monarch has to bring to ‘reasons of State,’ and if we reflect how he alone is in a position to make purely-human considerations … his personal concern, and yet is forced to immolate them upon the altar of the State: then we shall understand why the legends and the poetry of every age have brought the tragedy of human life the plainest and the oftenest to show in just the destiny of Kings. (…) [P. 22] (…) True justice and

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