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The Valkyrie: Page 409
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Siegmund: (drawing his sword: #57) This sword – which a traitor gave to one who is true; this sword which betrays me fey to my foe: (#21 vari or #60? – [possibly as heard when Wotan ordered Bruennhilde to fight for Siegmund in V.2.1?; #5 voc?:) if it cannot avail against that foe, then let it avail against a friend (:#21 vari or #60?; :#5 voc?)! (#57: He aims the sword at Sieglinde.) (#5 varis:) Two lives smile upon you here: - take them, Nothung, envious [“neidischer”] steel! Take them at a stroke!

 

Bruennhilde: (in the most passionate and tempestuous show of sympathy: #87:; #88 vari:; #5:; [[ #90a: ]]) Stay your hand, Waelsung (:#87)! Hark to my word! Sieglinde shall live and Siegmund with her! My mind is made up; I’ll change the course of the battle: Siegmund, on you both blessing and victory I bestow (:#5; :#90a). Do you hear the call? Now arm yourself, hero! Trust in the sword and wield it securely: the weapon will ever be steadfast, just as the Valkyrie steadfastly shields you! (#77 vari?) Fare you well, Siegmund, most blessed of heroes! I’ll see you again on the battlefield.


(She storms away and, together with her horse, disappears in a side gully on the left. Siegmund gazes after her in joy and elation. The stage has become slowly darker; heavy storm-clouds descend over the back of the stage, gradually concealing the mountain walls, gorge and elevated ridge. #64; #87; #90a woodwinds)

Bruennhilde, like Antigone, ultimately is (seemingly) spontaneously moved to a self-sacrificial act of compassion against the power of the state and divine law, in order to save the yet to be born Waelsung, the artist-hero Siegfried, from destruction:

[P. 188] “In this State [Thebes under the Machiavellian King Creon] there was but one sorrowing heart, in [P. 189] which the feeling of Humanity had sought a shelter: -- it was the heart of a sweet maiden, from whose soul there sprang into all-puissant beauty the flower of Love. Antigone knew nothing of Politics: -- she loved.” [506W-{50-1/51} Opera and Drama: PW Vol. II, p. 188-189]

It is Siegfried who will someday wake and wed Bruennhilde, the muse whose compassionate intervention now paves the way for Siegfried’s birth, and their union will produce that art in which Wotan hopes to find the idealistic spirit of Valhalla redeemed. What has ultimately moved Bruennhilde to take decisive action in Siegmund’s and Sieglinde’s behalf was Wotan’s confession of his need for a free hero, the seed which Wotan planted in his own unconscious mind, Bruennhilde, the womb of his wishes. It is her womb which will figuratively (where Sieglinde will literally) give birth to Wotan’s reincarnation as Siegfried, the redemption of religious feeling from objective consciousness in art.

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