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Siegfried: Page 485
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provide his heroes with a sword of his manufacture, and thereby condemning Wotan’s intervention in his father Siegmund’s life. In fact, we might go so far as to say that Siegfried is condemning Wotan’s entire quest to transcend his own true, egoistic nature, which is terribly ironic in view of the fact that Siegfried is the final product of Wotan’s quest.

Siegfried introduces motifs #110 and #111 when - upon being asked by Mime what he’ll do with the re-forged sword - he declares he will take it with him out into the world and leave Mime forever. #110 expresses Siegfried’s newfound, joyous sense of freedom from the constraint under which Mime has previously held Siegfried to keep him from fulfilling his destiny, by keeping his true heritage and patrimony secret, and #111 likewise expresses Siegfried’s ecstasy in emancipating himself from what he regards as Mime’s false claims upon him. But #111 is a very curious candidate for a motif carrying such a meaning: in point of fact its embryo was first heard in R.1 when the Rhinedaughters were mocking Alberich’s ugliness. It is derived most immediately from Motif #105, which is what has been called Mime’s “Starling Song,” the song in which Mime describes how much Siegfried owes to him for rearing him and educating him on the ways of the world. #111 is generally called “Siegfried’s Mission.” How interesting then that Siegfried should musically express his emancipation from Mime and absolve himself of all debt to Mime accompanied by the same motif Mime sang as he reminded Siegfried of his indebtedness to Mime!

The point is clear: all that Siegfried is - all his spontaneity, innocence, verve, passionate impulses, longing for freedom, hunger for love and belonging, etc. - stems originally from Alberich’s emancipation from the animal instinctuality represented by the Rhinedaughters, and his forging of the Ring of human consciousness. Yet Wotan’s primary impulse, inherited by Siegfried, is to disavow this true Nibelung origin, identity, and heritage, and emancipate himself from its claims, to disavow, if he can, the implications of the Valhalla Motif’s (#20a’s) foundation in Alberich’s Ring Motif #19. But Wotan’s quest to escape the consequences of the claim the giants make upon him for building Valhalla, and the claim Alberich makes for forging the Ring that not only produced Valhalla, but which was the sole means Wotan had for redeeming Freia from the giants’ claim, can’t come to fruition, as Wotan himself acknowledged subliminally in his confession to Bruennhilde. His quest is futile because, as Wagner said, we didn’t long for redemption through the restoration of innocence until we had lost it, and we lost it through the evolution of conscious human thought. The meaning of the gods’ and Waelsungs’ lives is entirely predicated on the Fall brought about by Alberich’s forging of the Ring of human consciousness. All efforts to escape paying the price of Alberich’s curse on his Ring actually fulfill his curse.

Wagner has captured Siegfried’s feeling of freedom from a debt he would just as soon disavow in the following interesting extract in which he complains that (like Mime) the German-Jewish composer Meyerbeer, who dominated the Paris Opera where Wagner had aspired to produce several of his own operas, pretended to take an interest in Wagner’s career while stabbing him in the back. Experts on the subject seem to agree that Meyerbeer’s intervention on Wagner’s behalf was genuine, but for reasons unknown Wagner accused Meyerbeer of machinations to insure his works would never be produced in any of the more significant European opera houses. But the most interesting aspect of this extract for our current purpose is Wagner’s remark that in his own development of himself as an artist he came to see Meyerbeer as his antithesis, that he was dismayed when even close friends suggested he was imitating (miming) Meyerbeer’s operas in his

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