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Siegfried: Page 466
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(#104 scale varis:) Were the knave not simply too scurvy, I’d smash him to pieces with all his smith-work, the old and addle-headed elf (:#104 scale varis)! (#104>>>:) My anger were then at an end! (#104>>>: In his anger Siegfried throws himself down on a stone bench. Mime cowers to keep out of his way. #104 [sounding like a big laugh])

 

Siegfried’s Youthful Horncall Motif #103 is, Cooke notes, a member of the family of Nature arpeggios in Major Key, akin to the Primal Nature Motif #1, the Rhinegold Motif #12, and the Rainbow Bridge Motif #56. At its inception it represents two things: (1) Siegfried’s tempestuous, youthful spirit, his will to self-expression, so to speak, and (2) his seeking for a natural companion superior to the calculating, scheming Mime. It will take on a considerable burden of richer meaning as the Ring drama proceeds, including an incarnation in fragmentary form in S.1.3 as the embodiment of Siegfried’s vital creative force, his labor of love, in re-forging his father Siegmund’s sword Nothung, a symbol of Wotan’s notion that his hoped-for hero must create himself to emancipate himself from Wotan’s (religion’s) protection and influence.

As Siegfried tests Mime’s new sword, knowing in advance it will shatter on Mime’s anvil, we hear Siegfried’s own motif #92, which reminds us that Siegfried, unlike Mime, is the fearless hero Wotan longed for. It is implicit that Siegfried alone, not Mime, will be able to re-forge his father Siegmund’s sword Nothung. Nothung represents Wotan’s grand idea, that through inspired acts of compassionate heroism (exemplified by Siegmund, Sieglinde, and Bruennhilde), or deeds of art (created by Siegfried, inspired by his muse Bruennhilde), the innocence which is lost as religious belief begins to wane, will be restored. Cooke noted that #92 derives, like the motifs #71, #77, #88, and #95, from the last three notes of #53, which of course is based on the opening musical arpeggio of the Ring, Motif #1, the original Nature Motif representing the innocence before the Fall. But #92’s derivation from the last three notes of #53 is more to the point, because Siegfried is inspired, like the Valkyries and Waelsungs who came before, by Wotan’s (mankind’s) fear of a shameful end to man’s ideal of transcendent value, and Erda introduced #53 in R.4 when she told the allegedly immortal god Wotan that all things must end (including of course the gods). Siegfried as an inspired artist-hero, a fount of originality and creativity, is thus shown to be an exponent of what Feuerbach described as “natural necessity,” for he is a fount of the new and ever-changing, the natural, which Wotan once extolled. However, as a self-proclaimed God whose authority allegedly establishes infallible, unchanging law, immutable values and eternal bliss, Wotan has found his impulse for change in constant contradiction with his desire for security and quiet (his socio-religious conscience, Fricka). And Mime’s vulgar opportunism in striving to draw profit from the original productions of his superiors, his brother Alberich, and Siegfried, in order to enjoy a complaisant existence, represents the egoism which underlies the gods’ quest for quiet and security in established society, and hostility towards authentically vital human beings.

After Siegfried smashes Mime’s new sword, as he has a thousand prior ones, he gives vent to his contempt for Mime in a diatribe set to the new Motif #104, which we may justifiably describe as representing Siegfried’s contempt for Mime. Mime is the polar opposite of Siegfried, and represents all those things in Wotan himself which Wotan, as he said, loathed (Ekel). Since Siegfried is actually Wotan reborn, minus consciousness of his true identity and origin, Siegfried’s instinctive contempt for Mime actually expresses Wotan’s own self-loathing. We must not lose

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