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The Valkyrie: Page 432
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Wish-maid you are no more; Valkyrie you have been: - now henceforth be (sharply) what you are even now!

 

Bruennhilde: (deeply shocked) You’re casting me out? Do I grasp your meaning?

 

Wotan: No more shall I send you forth from Valhalla, (#88 urgent vari: [as heard when Siegmund challenged the fate Bruennhilde said was chosen for him]) no more show you heroes to add to the slain (:#88 urgent vari); (#88 definitive:) no victors you’ll guide again to my hall (:#88 definitive): nevermore at the gods’ friendly feast (#88:) will you lovingly hand me the drinking-horn; nevermore shall I fawn on your childlike mouth. From the gods’ own host you’re now cut off (:#88), cast out from the kin of immortals; our bond is broken: (#21) you’re banished from my sight! (#21)

 

Bruennhilde has ordained her own punishment by taking on the burden of being a Waelsung, i.e., of standing with the revolutionary individualism of the culture heroes upon whom Wotan depends to salvage the essence of Valhalla from Alberich’s threat to destroy it. Wotan’s complaint that Bruennhilde’s defiance of the fate Wotan had condemned Siegmund to suffer has put her at odds with him is merely rhetorical, since Bruennhilde has done nothing more than help pave the way for the friendly foe whom Wotan confessed to her he desired, who, in defying the gods would be most dear to them. But because she - Wotan’s unconscious mind - has chosen this path, she must be ready to suffer the tragic fate of the Waelsungs, of all those who, standing outside the established society, provide it with all that it values, yet suffer punishment for overthrowing the old order. Furthermore, she must ultimately endure the insight that all these values which Wotan and his Waelsungs are fighting for are ultimately predicated on self-deception, on fear of the truth. Wotan confessed this to her and in so doing presumably repressed this unbearable thought, but there is always risk that what he repressed will rise to consciousness again, fulfilling Alberich’s threat that someday he would bring his hoard up from the silent depths to the light of day and overthrow the gods of Valhalla.

Wotan also recalls how he confessed to Bruennhilde his need for a free hero who will create himself, when he tells Bruennhilde that though he has told her what she once was, she must now say what she is. Wotan, certainly, is banishing her from the realm of the gods, but as pointed out earlier, Wotan requires of his hero-redeemer that he be free from the gods’ protection anyway. In other words, what appears on the surface as Wotan’s intent to punish Bruennhilde, is actually the precondition for the hero’s freedom to do, spontaneously, what will ultimately serve the gods’ need for redemption. As Loge - the archetype for Wotan’s Waelsung heroes - put it, he is only ½ as godlike as the gods, and, unlike them, is not dependent on Freia’s golden apples of sorrowless youth eternal, i.e., not dependent on the religious promise of an eternal afterlife, for art provides the feeling that paradise is regained here and now, employing natural means to grant man the feeling of transcendence rather than making false practical promises of eternal life which can’t be satisfied.

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