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The Valkyrie: Page 405
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of Alberich’s, or Hella’s, host of night, in serving Hunding’s scheme unwittingly, as Bruennhilde herself suggests in T.1.3.2 when she asks Siegfried, disguised as Gunther, whether he is of Hell’s night-dwelling host (i.e., part of Alberich’s Nibelung host of night.)

Alberich’s objective knowledge of nature and the power it brings may be the only alternative to the illusory realm invented by the religious imagination, but there is a third alternative, art, which is even free - according to Wagner’s conception, since the artist stakes no claim on the truth - from morality and its dependence on religious assumptions of free will and transcendent compassion. It is noteworthy that Siegmund’s figurative threat to join the ranks of Alberich’s host of night is accompanied by intense and tragic variants of #24 and #25, associated with Freia as the goddess of love fleeing the Giants’ claim to her, and #40 (stemming from #39, first heard in embryo as Alberich exclaimed: “The third, so true, rejected me as well?”), expressing the anguish of lovelessness and futile longing for love which was Alberich’s perverse gift to the world.

[V.2.4: C]

Bruennhilde now unconvincingly tries to tempt Siegmund to renounce his earthly love for his sister Sieglinde for the sake of the essential privilege of Valhalla’s inhabitants, who enjoy sorrowless youth eternal thanks to Freia’s golden apples. This, by the way, proves that Wagner regarded the immortality granted by Freia’s golden apples as entirely distinct from Freia’s virtue as goddess of love, for Siegmund, in the name of authentic love, disparages the endless bliss the gods and martyred heroes enjoy in Valhalla by virtue of Freia’s golden apples, just as his father Wotan will in the end when (as described by Waltraute in T.1.3.1) he refuses to partake of Freia’s golden apples any longer):

Bruennhilde: (shaken: #87) (#87 vari:) You’re so little heedful of bliss everlasting (:#87 vari)? (hesitantly and cautiously) Is she all to you, this pitiful woman who, tired and sorrowful, lies there, faint, in your lap? (#89 [strongly emphasized!]) Is there nothing else you hold dear?

 

Siegmund: (gazing up at her bitterly: #40 variant?) (#88 vari: [a flowing, urgent vari]) Young and fair though you shimmer before me (:#88 vari): (#64 hint; #88?:) cold and hard my heart now knows you to be (:#64 hint; :#88?)! (#24:; 40 vari:) Can you only scoff, then be on your way, you false, unfeeling maid (:#24; :#40 vari)! (#88:) But if you must gloat at this grief of mine, (#64?:) then let my anguish gladden you (:#88; :#64?); may my plight [“Noth”] regale your spiteful [“neidvolles”] heart: - (#40:; #88:; [[ #90 frag: ]]) but of Valhalla’s cold delights speak not, in truth, to me (:#40; :#88; :#90 frag)! (#24 & #25 or #40?; #40)

Note the irony that in rejecting the eternal, painless bliss which Valhalla offers Siegmund is also renouncing Sieglinde as goddess of transcendent love, and immortality, whose golden apples give the gods - and presumably also all the heroic martyrs whom the Valkyries inspire and bring to

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