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The Valkyrie: Page 427
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representing “Redemption by Love,” for many reasons, not least of which is that both Siegfried and Bruennhilde will betray their love before we reach the drama’s denouement. And there are many other reasons as well: there is much more at stake here. We must never forget the historical context in which the heroes and heroines live their lives, and Wotan’s (the spirit of collective, historical man’s) considered opinion that all these heroic characters are merely products of his own craven needs and fears.

#93 is, interestingly, in the same family of motifs which includes #8, #23, and #149, a family which seems to be associated primarily with two concepts. #8, the first of the series, and presumably fairly definitive in locking down its ultimate meaning, illustrated the Rhinedaughters’ pretence of love toward Alberich to mock him. #23, the next in the series, captures the domestic tranquility of a secure life within the confines of Valhalla, in both its initial form as the fortress of the gods, and in its subsequent incarnation as the love of Siegfried and Bruennhilde, in which Wotan’s hope to preserve Valhalla from Alberich’s threat is embodied. Cooke considered #23 an expression of inspiration of men by women. But clearly, Wotan’s resistance to Fricka’s suggestion that the domestic tranquility of Valhalla will keep him from wandering and seeking out new dalliances, both when #23 is introduced early in R.2, and later in R.4 when Fricka suggests they enter Valhalla together (at that point he protested that it had been won with evil wage), shows that Fricka’s inspiration has been ineffective, just as the Rhinedaughters’ flattery of Alberich’s romantic inclinations was false. But surely Cooke’s notion that this family of motifs represents woman’s inspiration is true of its ultimate incarnation as an expression of the sublimity of the love which Siegfried and Bruennhilde share, since we will later recognize their love as Wagner’s metaphor for the unconscious inspiration of the artist-hero Siegfried by his muse Bruennhilde! #149, the final entrant in the series of motifs within this family, is clearly associated with Bruennhilde’s inspiration of Siegfried to undertake adventures when it is introduced in T.P.2. But in this instance Bruennhilde does not attempt to inspire Siegfried to stay at home, as Fricka attempted to inspire Wotan to do, but instead inspires Siegfried with her love so that she can send him off on adventures. And the grand result of this last adventure inspired by his muse Bruennhilde is that he will betray his love for her, and she will in turn betray him. Therefore, there is something suspect in conceiving #93 as the Motif of “Redemption by Love.”

A grand motif which will be introduced in S.3.1 during Wotan the Wanderer’s final confrontation with Erda, #134, Wagner did actually describe as a redemption motif. He said that it should sound, at first hearing, as if it is the declaration of the founding of a “new religion”:

“Wagner expressly demanded that the Redemption theme [Dunning’s #134; Millington’s number 49] as it enters after Wotan’s words, ‘Was in des Zwiespalt’s wildem Schmerze verzweifelnd eins ich beschloss, froh und freidig fuehre, frei ich nun aus’ [Spencer’s translation of the Ring P. 247-248: “Wotan: What I once resolved in despair, in the searing smart of inner turmoil, [#134)] I now perform freely, in gladness and joy … “] … should be taken ‘slightly faster’ than the preceding bars and that it should be ‘very brought out (sehr heraus),’ as he tersely put it. He once characterized the spiritual significance of this theme (whilst going through the work at the piano) by the statement: ‘It must sound like the proclamation of a new religion.’ “ [878W-{6-8/76} WRR, p. 103]

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