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Siegfried: Page 488
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[[ #112: ]] nor weld the sword and make it whole! (He sinks down in his despair on the stool behind the anvil.)

 

Mime can’t for the life of him fathom how - now that Siegfried has rediscovered his heritage and found a basis to emancipate himself from Mime’s influence - he can persuade Siegfried to serve Mime’s purposes by killing Fafner and obtaining the Ring and Hoard for him. By the same token, how, Mime asks, can he re-forge Nothung, the only sword that would serve his purpose, since all his Nibelung’s envy (“Neid”), “Noth,” and sweat cannot join its parts and make them whole. But this, after all, is Wotan’s problem also. How, Wotan asked, could he make a hero, not himself, a friendly foe, who would do, instinctively, and from his own “Noth,” without Wotan’s influence, that thing which Wotan needs, but cannot do himself. And that task is to kill Fafner and take possession of Alberich’s Ring, so that Alberich cannot regain possession of it and destroy the gods. So begins a series of comparisons between Mime and Wotan which, in sum, clearly imply that Mime represents those aspects of himself which Wotan loathed, and from which Siegfried has been entirely freed by virtue of Wotan’s confession to Bruennhilde, the submersion of Wotan’s head, his thought, in his unconscious mind, his heart.

Mime does not yet see Wotan, but we hear as this scene segues into Scene Two the first of two motifs identifying Wotan as “The Wanderer,” namely, #112. Dunning notes, echoing Cooke, that #112 is very likely derived from Loge’s Motif #35 {{ or was it #33b? }}, which Dunning calls “Loge’s Transformations.” This motif, we noted previously, is a basis for the Tarnhelm Motif #42, the Tarnhelm Transformation Motif #43, the Serpent (or Dragon) Motif #48, the Magic Fire Music #100, and, as we’ll see in Twilight of the Gods, the motif representing Hagen’s Potion, #154 (embracing the concepts of forgetting, remembering, and love, and Wagnerian “Wonder,” all at once). The theme which conceptually unifies this family of motifs is the fact that they all reference the concept of the transformation of knowledge into feeling, and feeling back into knowledge, i.e., they embrace the relationship of the conscious to the unconscious mind. Loge’s great gift, as Wotan said, was his ability to draw advantage from the enemy’s envy. That is to say, figuratively speaking, Loge, the archetype of the artist-hero, draws inspiration from forbidden knowledge to produce that veil of Wahn which hides this knowledge from man, and sublimates it into a consoling illusion which neutralizes its threat. Hence Wotan, who has now become a wanderer over the earth (Erde, or Erda), is gathering objective knowledge of the world, but also subjectively - through aesthetic intuition - repressing it and sublimating it as the source of inspiration for religious belief, and art. This is knowledge tempered by love.

One last point of note: When Wagner had almost completed Siegfried Scene One, he wrote:

“During the next few days I shall finish the first scene [of Siegfried]. It is strange, but only inthe course of composing the music does the essential meaning of my poem dawn upon me; secrets are continually being revealed to me which had previously been hidden from me. In this way everything becomes much more passionate and more urgent.” [646W-{12/6/56} Letter to Franz Liszt, SLRW, p. 361]

This is just by way of reminding the reader of Wagner’s oft-repeated assertion that his own artworks were not only the creation of his conscious mind, but also of unconscious inspiration,

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