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Siegfried: Page 572
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wan, short and misshapen, hunchbacked and halting, with drooping ears and rheumy eyes – away with the elf! I don’t care to see him anymore (:#7/#41)!

 

(He leans further back and looks up through the treetops. Deep silence. Forest murmurs. #11/#2 [“definitive forest murmurs”], #66:)

 

Siegfried: But – what must my mother have looked like (:#66)? That I cannot conceive of at all! – (#66: [developing]; #106 hint?:) Like those of the roe-deer, her bright-shining eyes must surely have glistened (:#66; :#106 hint?) – only far fairer (:#11/#2 “forest murmurs”)! (#66; #89?) (very softly: #?: [music from above: “That I cannot conceive of at all!”?]) When, in her dismay, she gave me birth (:#?), (#66?:) why did she have to die then (:#66?)? (#89?) (#58b?:) Do all mortal mothers perish because of their sons (:#58b?)? (#37?:) Sad that would be, in truth (:#37?)! (#106; #40?) Ah, might I, her son, (#106:) see my mother! – (#40) My mother – (#106:) a mortal woman (:#106)!

 

(#38 >>:; #24/#11: [as heard during the musical interlude before Loge’s narrative in R.2 about his inability to find anything which living beings could accept as a substitute for love] He sighs deeply and leans further back. Deep silence. The forest murmurs increase. Siegfried’s attention is finally caught by the song of forest birds. [[ #128: ]] He listens with growing interest to a woodbird in the branches above him. [[ #129 ]])

 

There is no doubt that the refreshment Siegfried draws from his aesthetic arrest in the presence of the now peaceful forest, purified of Mime’s irritating presence, is an evocation of the important Wagnerian distinction between nature and the artificiality of culture, which Wagner identifies with the “rabble,” dissipated by civilization and its decadent discontents. Here, in Wagner’s description of this rabble, who might otherwise, he suggests, have exemplified unspoiled purely-human naivete had they not been soiled by culture’s artificiality, we find the basis for at least a part of Wagner’s characterization of Mime, the moral dwarf bound by the narrow egoistic spirit of utilitarianism and self-interest, and the basis also for Siegfried’s instinctive abhorrence for Mime, which, as one can see in this extract, is not owing to Judaism, but rather to universal human egoism:

[P. 208] “… this rabble is in no wise the normal product of real human nature, but rather the artificial outcome of your denaturalised culture; … all the crimes and abominations with which we now upbraid the rabble, are only the despairing gestures of the battle which the true nature of Man wages against its hideous oppressor, modern Civilization; and … these revolting features are nowise the real face of Nature, but rather the reflection of the hypocritical mask of our State-and-Criminal-Culture. (…)

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