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The Valkyrie: Page 441
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have grasped from Wotan’s confession that the real world now belongs to Alberich, that Wotan had confessed to her, his unconscious mind, that egoism is the basis for society and human history, so that his ideal, his longing for restoration of lost innocence and retreat from conscious thought, can now only be expressed subliminally, unconsciously, in art, not in open challenge to the bitter truth, a fight Alberich will inevitably win. It is not so much that she defied Wotan that has angered him, but rather, the fact that her defiance was “knowing,” i.e., conscious. Wotan is seeking a hero whose defiance of Wotan’s law will be subliminal, not open, public, conscious, active. He is seeking an artist-hero in whose art, a profound form of play, the terrible world can be overcome and redeemed merely aesthetically, through feeling, without actively asserting power in the real world, or staking a claim to the power of truth. Such art must be “powerless” in order to effectively redeem the gods from Alberich’s Ring-power.

[V.3.3: B]

Her confidence in the justice and righteousness of her appeal increasing as she proceeds, Bruennhilde now attempts to impart to Wotan the depth of compassion Siegmund’s stellar example sparked in her. This is the very essence of Bruennhilde’s sympathetic nature, and it tears our heart out experiencing it in the theater when the performance rises to the level of its material, a rare event:

Bruennhilde: (#96a:) Not wise am I, but one thing I knew (:#96a) (#81; #? – [a triplet figure influenced by #89]) (very slowly) that you loved the Waelsung: (more animatedly: #88:) I knew the discord that made you forget this one thing altogether (:#88). (#66 >>:; #81A:) Yet something else you had to see, the sight of which so sorely pained your heart (:#66>>; :#81A) (#? – [the last two notes of Bruennhilde’s vocal line a falling octave? – could it be a reference to Erda’s “endet!”, or Wotan’s “das Ende!”?]) you withheld your protection from Siegmund (:#? - falling octave?).

 

Wotan: You knew it was so and yet you dared to protect him?

 

Bruennhilde: (beginning quietly: #81/#89 on strings:) since, for you, I kept sight of that one thing alone on which, painfully torn by the other’s constraint, you helplessly turned your back (:#81/#89 on strings)! (#81/#89 string figure in a different key, &/or #81 vari: [a downward syncopated vari of great nobility, perhaps a #115 hint?]) She who, in battle, guards Wotan’s back, she saw only (#87) what you did not see: - (#87) Siegmund I had to see. (#88) (#88:) Heralding death, I stepped before him, (#88) (#81/#89:) beheld his eye and heard his word; (#87) I noted the hero’s hallowed need [“heilige Noth”]; the bravest of men’s lament rang forth (:#81/#89) – the fearful pain of freest

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