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Siegfried: Page 542
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under his disguise, and chastises Wotan for making his presence known in this spot that, as far as Alberich is concerned, belongs to Alberich alone and not to Wotan. Indeed, Bruennhilde herself had noted in V.3.1 that Wotan abhors this spot and never comes here. As he chastises Wotan the recurrence of motif #50 reminds us of Alberich’s original suspicion of Wotan’s and Loge’s intentions when they invaded his turf in Nibelheim in R.3, as well as his rage when he foresaw that Wotan seemed likely to get away with co-opting Alberich’s power without making the sacrifice in suffering (“Noth”) Alberich had to make in order to be worthy of the Ring’s power.

{{There seem to be several motival premonitions of moments from T.2.5, as well as some interesting musical reminiscences of past events, which ought to be examined. One especially fascinating instance is what sounds like a reference to one or more motifs associated with Bruennhilde’s remark to Hagen and Gunther that her magic protects Siegfried only at the front (the possible candidates include a #15 Vari, a #141 Vari, a #150 Vari, and #143) heard here as Alberich asks himself whether the dragon-killer (i.e., Siegfried) has come (to the spot Wotan has always previously avoided).}} One striking musical reference which Dunning confirmed is that as Alberich demands that Wotan withdraw from this spot, since Wotan’s deceit has steeped it in suffering (“Noth”), we hear a progression similar to that which accompanied Alberich’s diatribe against Wotan’s hypocrisy in R.4 when, after Wotan had captured Alberich, and was demanding his Ring, Alberich raged at the thought that the “Noth” Alberich had suffered for the sake of winning the Ring’s power would be exploited by Wotan, so that Wotan could free himself and the gods from having to pay Alberich’s price, and enjoy bliss at Alberich’s expense. It was precisely this offense, and Wotan’s sin against Mother Nature’s (Erda’s) objective reality, which Alberich designed his Ring curse to punish. Alberich, of course, confronts the same problem with Wotan now, since Wotan obviously hopes to preempt Alberich’s long-awaited attempt to regain his rightful power.

Alberich’s accusation that Wotan’s deceit has steeped this spot in suffering (“Noth”) expresses his critique of Wotan’s dependence on religious faith’s fear of the truth, represented by Fafner (Wotan’s fear) guarding access to Alberich’s hoard of knowledge and ring (the power of conscious thought), and deceit’s substitution of a consoling illusion for the truth. It is in this sense that Wotan has steeped the world in “Noth.” It was precisely through this cunning, this self-deceit, that Wotan and Loge co-opted Alberich’s Ring-power. Significantly, this co-optation, inspired by fear of the truth, occurred just after Alberich had transformed himself through the Tarnhelm’s magic into a serpent whose motif #48 represents religious faith’s fear of the truth. It can’t be accidental, then, that Siegfried will soon preempt Alberich’s effort to regain his Ring from Fafner, who, like Alberich before him, has transformed himself into the serpent representing faith’s fear of the truth.

This positing of consoling illusions predicated on man’s false belief in his transcendent value, i.e., his alleged autonomy from his mother, Nature (Erda), is what so offends Alberich: it is the sin his curse was intended to punish. On this view, we are forced to acknowledge that Alberich, not Wotan, is the truly free man, the freethinker, since he is not afraid to acknowledge those truths made inaccessible by Fafner (i.e., by Wotan’s - man’s – fear, the fear which inspired man to invent the gods and co-opt Alberich’s rightful power in the first place), while Wotan dare not freely acknowledge these hidden truths. This is what Alberich means when he demands that Wotan “let the place alone (“lass’ sie jetzt frei!)!” Alberich therefore is the true revolutionary, the heretic who

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