The Valkyrie: Act Three, Scene Three - Bruennhilde's rocky peak: Bruennhilde and Wotan
Bruennhilde now, in one of the most eloquent passages in the Ring, or for that matter in the entire history of the theater, appeals to Wotan to relent: this passage – and that which immediately follows, during which Bruennhilde’s plea overcomes Wotan’s resistance – is of such surpassing sublimity that it is almost unbearable when performed with authentic conviction. It is virtually blinding:
Bruennhilde: (slowly beginning to raise her head a little; starting timidly, then with increasing intensity: [[ #96a: ]]) Was it so shameful what I did wrong that you punish that wrong in so shameful a way? [[ #96a: ]] Was it so base what I did unto you that you seek to debase me to fathomless depths? (#96a; #89 repeated 5 or 6 times in following passage:) Was what I did so lacking in honour my lapse must deprive me of honour (:#96a; :#89)? (raising herself gradually into a kneeling position) (#81B vari >>?:; #87 hint?:) O tell me, father! Look in my eyes (#81B vari?:) and silence your anger; curb your wrath and explain to me clearly what hidden guilt (#81A:) forces you now, in stubborn defiance, your dearest child to disown (:#81A)! (#81A)
Wotan: (his position unchanged, gravely and sombrely) Question your deed, it explains to you your guilt! (#77)
Bruennhilde: I carried out your orders.
Wotan: Did I order you (#87) to fight for the Waelsung?
Wotan: But I took my instruction back again.