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Siegfried: Page 642
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the Rhinedaughters. Instead, Wotan paid off the Giants with it, as he admitted to Bruennhilde in his confession. No, Wotan doesn’t contemplate its restoration to the Rhine yet, though Loge – the archetype for the Waelsung race of heroes to whom Wotan looks for redemption – reminded Wotan five times in R.2 and R.4 that he ought to do it. He doesn’t because he believes that the love which Siegfried and Bruennhilde share (unconsciously inspired secular art, the Wagnerian music-drama) will redeem the world, and that Siegfried, being free from greed for the Ring’s power, and from fear, seems to be freed also from Alberich’s curse. The crucial point being made is that the temporary redemption from Alberich’s curse of consciousness provided by the art which Siegfried, under Bruennhilde’s inspiration, will produce, is wholly distinct from the ultimate redemption from the Ring curse, the seemingly permanent redemption, which can only be won by returning the Ring to the Rhinedaughters and allowing them to dissolve it (i.e., dissolve human consciousness itself) in the Rhine.

The following extract provides proof that Wagner distinguished the redemption offered by the loving union of Siegfried with Bruennhilde, in which Valhalla’s blissful dream can live anew, from the final redemption gained through returning the Ring to the Rhine. Wotan clearly hoped - as he expresses it to Erda here, accompanied by #134 (which Wagner called the Redemption Motif) - that Siegfried’s love for Bruennhilde, and Bruennhilde’s deed, upon waking for Siegfried, in inspiring him to produce art, would redeem the world:

“ … the pernicious power that poisons love is concentrated in the gold that is stolen from nature and put to ill use, the Nibelung’s ring: the curse that clings to it is not lifted until it is restored to nature and until the gold has been returned to the Rhine. This, too, becomes clear to Wodan only at the very end, once he has reached the final goal of his tragic career; in his lust for power, he had utterly ignored what Loge had so frequently and so movingly warned him of at the beginning of the poem; initially – thanks to Fafner’s deed – he learned to recognize the power of the curse; but not until the ring proves the ruin of Siegfried, too, does he see that only by restoring to the Rhine what had been stolen from its depths can evil be destroyed, and that is why he makes his own longed-for downfall a pre-condition of the extirpation of a most ancient wrong. Experience is everything.“ [616W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 307]

The fact that the love of hero and heroine, though believed by Wotan to be the key to redemption, is totally distinct from the final redemption the Rhinedaughters will offer, is implicit in the fact that both Siegfried and Bruennhilde in Twilight of the Gods will refuse pleas to return the Ring to the Rhine (a refusal which Siegfried makes to the Rhinedaughters themselves) by invoking love, that is to say, art, as an alternative to returning the Ring to the Rhinedaughters. The final redemption the Rhinedaughters offer will be, as Deryck Cooke put it, a metaphysical redemption. [Cooke: P. 247]

There is what seems to be motival evidence for this, but again this may be somewhat ambiguous. #134, clearly the motif most associated with Wotan’s hope that the love which Siegfried and Bruennhilde share - i.e., the creation of inspired art - will redeem the world, is not heard in the finale of Twilight of the Gods in any sort of definitive form, and certainly not in its capacity as a motif of redemption. Its final definitive, easily recognizable recurrence is heard near the finale in T.3.3 when Bruennhilde sets the record straight with Gutrune, who has accused Bruennhilde of bringing great harm (“Noth”) to everyone because of her spite (“Neid”), by setting Hagen, Gunther, and the Gibichungs against Siegfried. #134 is heard as Bruennhilde informs Gutrune that while

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