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The Valkyrie: Page 408
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And, back in my own home,

Would beg the old pains

To burn once again in me;

I cannot separate myself from them.

For pain is not a single part

Cut off from the health of soul … .” [22F-TDI: p. 145-146]

And not only have Siegmund and Wagner himself paraphrased Feuerbach, but also, as anyone can see who experiences the first scene of Wagner’s even earlier Romantic opera Tannhaeuser, Tannhaeuser’s complaint to Venus that he can’t bear the eternal bliss of her love, but prefers to return to the real world of pain and death where he can enjoy the pleasure of being inspired by the imagined ideal of her love to praise it in song, is borrowed from Feuerbach’s discourse on the meaninglessness of man’s longing for transcendent being above. Siegmund neither fears hell nor desires heaven, but seeks only earthly, concrete love.

[V.2.4: D]

Now Bruennhilde’s growing sympathy for Siegmund’s “Noth” rises to its greatest pitch, inspiring her to break faith with Wotan in order to support the mortal Siegmund against the will of the gods. Bruennhilde’s change of heart in Siegmund’s favor can be heard in the new motif #90, a change of heart inspired by sheer compassion for Siegmund’s brave defiance of the gods for the sake of love, but even perhaps more by her intuition that the greatest of heroes, Siegmund’s son Siegfried, will be born of Sieglinde. Thus, Bruennhilde attempts to persuade Siegmund to leave Sieglinde in Bruennhilde’s care, so that Siegmund’s as yet unborn son can be saved and brought to birth. Bruennhilde’s decision in Siegmund’s favor preempts his threatened murder-suicide involving himself, his wife, and his unborn child:

Bruennhilde (#88:) I can see the need [“Noth”] that gnaws at your heart (:#88); I can feel the hero’s holy sorrow. Siegmund, commend your wife to me: (#?:; #40:; #64 hint:; #88:; [[ #90 hint: ]]) let my shelter shield her securely (:#?; :#40; :#64 hint?; :#88; :#90 hint)!

 

Siegmund: (#24:; #25 or #40:) No one but I shall touch the pure woman as long as she lives: if I’m fated to die, I shall kill her first as she lies here, dulled by sleep (:#24; :#25 or #40?).

 

Bruennhilde: (with growing emotion: #64?:) Waelsung! Madman! Hear my plan: commend me your wife (:#64?) (#40:; #64:; #88: [not #103 or #150?]) for the sake of the pledge she received from you in her bliss. (:#40; :#64; :#88)

 

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