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Siegfried: Page 519
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is able to convert a source of woe and anguish into something blissful, for which he longs, follows from Wotan’s repression of intolerable knowledge, the hidden source of inspiration, and its sublimation into the veil of Wahn, or illusion, represented by Loge’s fire, which masks the frightful source of inspiration and sublimates it into blissful feeling, as art does. We are reminded of Wotan’s description in R.2 of Loge’s cunning, that it draws advantage (inspiration) from the enemy’s envy, and reminded also of Sieglinde’s hope, which she expressed to Bruennhilde in V.3.1, that Sieglinde’s woe will be Bruennhilde’s bliss.

[S.1.3: D]

When Siegfried poses the question, how could Mime, a coward, teach Siegfried fear, Mime instantly offers the solution: Fafner, the Dragon (Serpent), will teach Siegfried fear, and as I have said previously, Fafner the dragon represents Wotan’s (man’s) existential fear, which represses and makes inaccessible Wotan’s hoard of forbidden knowledge:

Siegfried: But, Mime, how can you teach me it? (#98/#34) How could a coward be my master?

 

Mime: Just follow me and I’ll lead you there; I’ve thought up a way of teaching you. (#98) (#48>>:) I know of an evil dragon who’s killed and devoured many: (#118:) Fafner will teach you fear (:#48) if you’ll follow me to his lair (:#118). (#98)

 

Siegfried: Where does he lie in his lair? (#98?)

 

Mime: Neidhoehle [“Envy-cave”] it is called: to the east, at the edge of the wood. (#98)

 

Siegfried: And so it’s not far from the world? (#98)

 

Mime: (#?: – [the same music to which mime sang “Neidhoehle it is called”]) It lies very close to the cave (:#?)!

Mime’s answer to Siegfried’s question, where does Fafner live, is that Fafner’s lair is Envy-Cave (“Neidhoehle”). Fafner’s lair is, in other words, the very embodiment of all those aspects of society, the ways of the world, such as the desire for permanence, for property, for security, for quiet, for unquestioned faith, for unchanging tradition, which are the enemies of the creative soul for whom change and variety are life-blood. Wagner clarifies this point with a little piece of wit: to Siegfried’s question whether Neidhoehle is far from the world, Mime answers that the world lies very close to the cave. The point is, Neidhoehle, i.e., Fafner’s (fear’s, or self-preservation’s) stranglehold over freedom of thought, his tabooing access to knowledge, imagination, and the power of thought, in order to preserve the status quo, is the very essence of the human world into

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