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The Valkyrie: Page 403
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three notes of #53, whose unifying factor is all the things Wotan sets in motion to redeem the gods from the fated twilight of the gods which Erda (who introduced #53) foresaw. These motifs include #71 (representing Siegmund the Waelsung’s tragic plight as an unwitting warrior in the service of Wotan’s futile longing for redemption), #77 (the Valkyries), #92 (Siegfried, the fearless Waelsung), and #95 (a compound motif comprising #88 and #92, the vocal line of the Valkyries’ attempt to persuade Wotan not to punish Bruennhilde for her effort to sustain Wotan’s hope of redemption by supporting the Waelsungs he had renounced).

This is one of the most impressive scenes in the Ring, where Siegmund’s exalted moral nature, his instinctively compassionate, individual conscience, bravely confronts death and even divine displeasure – which would be punished by the denial to the mortal Siegmund of the everlasting life he could otherwise have enjoyed in Valhalla – for the sake of remaining with Sieglinde as her support on earth. Siegmund will live a life of weal and woe, for love’s sake, rather than seek glory in the company of the gods as an immortal, bespeaking Wagner’s Feuerbachian pre-occupation with affirmation of the earthly and mortal but real life over the imaginary heavenly life. Siegmund’s resistance to the fate Bruennhilde has announced is embodied in the highly expressionistic new motif #89, which in variant forms will (in V.3.3) convey an almost unbearably sublime poignancy to Bruennhilde’s immortal defense of her action in supporting the Waelsungs in the face of Wotan’s accusations against her.

[V.2.4: B]

Now Siegmund’s plight (“Noth,” the tragic mesh of circumstance in which Wotan’s manipulation of events has placed Siegmund and Sieglinde), gradually awakens Bruennhilde’s active sympathy:

Bruennhilde: (#88) You saw the Valkyrie’s searing glance: with her you must now go! (#87)

 

Siegmund: (#64 voc:) Where Sieglinde lives in delight and sorrow, there, too, shall Siegmund tarry (:#64voc): your gaze has yet to make me blench: it will never force me from staying! (#87)

 

Bruennhilde: As long as you live, nothing, no doubt, would force you; (#88) but death, you fool, will force you: - (#89) hither I came to tell you this.

 

Siegmund: Where might the hero be found to whom I’d fall today? (#89)

 

Bruennhilde: (#87) Hunding will slay you in single combat.

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