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The Valkyrie: Page 346
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knowledge of the world, into the pure subjectivism and inwardness of feeling, and there find “audience for his griefs” and utter “his oppressive secrets”:

“… nature [Erda] listens not to the plaints of man [as expressed in music and song], it is callous to his sorrows. Hence man turns away from Nature, from all visible objects. He turns within, that here, sheltered and hidden from the inexorable powers, he may find audience for his griefs. Here he utters his oppressive secrets; here he gives vent to his stilled sighs. This open air of the heart, this outspoken secret, this uttered sorrow of the soul, is God.” [93F-EOC: p. 122]

Music, the language of the unconscious, will keep Wotan’s unutterable secret, which will remain forever unspoken in words:

“It is terrifying, and makes one dizzy, to gaze into the awful caverns of the human heart. For the poet it is impossible to render in words all that passes at the bottom of this stanchless fount, which responds in turn to the breath of God and of the Devil; he may speak to you of hate, of love, of fanaticism and frenzy; he will set before your eyes the outward acts engendered on the surface of those depths: but never can he take you down into them, unveil them to your look. It is reserved for Music alone, to reveal the primal elements of this marvellous nature; in her mysterious charm our soul is shown this great, unutterable secret.” [356W-{2-4/42} Halevy and La Reine De Chypre: PW Vol. VIII, p. 179]

Specifically, Wagner’s musical motifs, engendered by the womb of Wotan’s wishes, Bruennhilde, will keep Wotan’s unspoken secret:

[P. 233] “The poet can only hope to realise his Aim [i.e. Wotan can only attain redemption through the free hero, which is the unspoken secret he confesses to Bruennhilde], from the instant when he hushes it and keeps it secret to himself [when Wotan represses his unbearable hoard of knowledge of his corrupt history and origin, and his true, craven identity, by storing it in his unconscious mind, Bruennhilde]: that is to say, when, in the language [P. 234] wherein alone it could be imparted as a naked intellectual-aim [i.e., words], he no longer speaks it out at all. [Wotan tells Bruennhilde that what he tells no one in words will remain forever unspoken] (…) A Tone-speech to be struck-into from the outset, is therefore the organ of expression proper for the poet who would make himself intelligible by turning from the Understanding [Wotan’s Hoard of knowledge] to the Feeling [musical motifs] … .” [529W-{50-1/51} Opera and Drama: PW Vol. II, p. 233-234]

And in the following extract Wagner tells us in greater detail just how the Poet, who can be equated for our present purpose with Wotan, can effectively redeem the horrors of world-history, i.e., of Wotan’s confession of the egoistic motives underlying all of his actions, by submerging his hoard of knowledge of the world and its history in music, by confessing it to Bruennhilde:

“If we now pry a little closer into the Poet’s [Wotan’s] business, we shall see that the realisement of his Aim [redemption from conscious knowledge] consists solely in the making possible an exhibition of the ‘strengthened actions’ of his characters (seiner gedichteten Gestalten) through an exposition of their motives to the Feeling … [i.e., Wotan confesses his hope for redemption, his underlying motive, secretly to Bruennhilde].

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