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Siegfried: Page 592
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Alberich: (#50 frag:) What have you ever known about beating metals, you bungler? (#101:) The magic ring first forced the dwarf to lend me his skill (:#50; :#101).

 

Mime: (#6 frags >>:) Where’s the ring now? It was wrested from you by giants, you coward. (#101:) What you yourself lost my cunning would gain for me (:#101).

 

Alberich: Would the niggard not share the boy’s deed with others? (#50 frag) It doesn’t belong to you at all: the bright-eyed boy himself is its lord!

 

Mime: I brought him up; he’ll pay me now for rearing him: (#41 >>:) for my pains and all the burdens I’ve borne I’ve long lain in wait for my wages [“Lohn”] (:#41)!

 

Alberich: For rearing the boy does the niggardly scurvy slave boldly and brazenly want to be king? To the mangiest cur were the ring better suited than you: you’ll never get hold of the lordly ring, you lout! (#41 frag)

Two points come to the fore. First, Alberich and Mime debate who has foremost claim to the Ring, and when - to compete with Alberich’s rightful claim to being the manufacturer of the Ring - Mime tries to take credit for manufacturing the Tarnhelm, Alberich reminds him that it was only thanks to the Ring’s power, which Alberich’s labor produced, that Mime was able to do this. Mime’s name, of course, implies that he is an imitator, not a creative founder like Alberich. Mime represents the average man who, with respect to cultural achievement, receives rather than gives. When Alberich points out that Mime’s claims are irrelevant because Siegfried now owns the Ring, Mime asserts that Siegfried owes Mime the Ring as payment for rearing him. Mime, after all, reared Siegfried for the sole purpose of winning it from Fafner. Their debate is motivally characterized not only by #6, expressing their lurching, jerky, awkward motion, and restlessness, but also by #50, a motif generally associated with envy (and more especially with Hagen, the seed of Alberich’s envy, which he planted in the mortal woman who will give birth to Hagen), and also with Alberich’s remark to Wotan just prior to launching his curse on the Ring in R.4, that Alberich is giving Wotan freedom’s first greeting. #101 is generally associated with Mime’s scheming and cunning.

[S.2.3: B]

After this verbally violent and vulgar exchange, Mime tries a new tack, negotiation and collaboration, but Alberich will have none of it since Mime can’t be trusted:

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