A+ a-
Wagnerheim Logo
Wagnerheim Bookmark System
Twilight of the Gods: Page 745
Go back a page
745
Go forward a page

art. And Wotan warned Bruennhilde that in living for the redemption by love, an ideal he once proclaimed with joy but has now renounced as unrealizable, inherently futile, she would end up by punishing herself. For the artist-hero and his loving muse perpetuate Wotan’s sin against all that was, is, and will be, i.e., the World Ash, in the inspired art they will create together.

That the Ring curse’s gnawing at the rope of fate is deeply linked with Siegfried, who represents Wotan’s hope to transcend the limits of natural law and egoistic impulse, by consigning to oblivion all that Wotan loathes in his own nature and origin, is proved by the sounding now of #57 (Wotan’s grand idea of redemption from Alberich’s curse in the Waelsung heroes, embodied by the sword Nothung, whose motif’s segment #57b is the original nature arpeggio representing the pre-fallen, still innocent world), while the Norns’ rope of fate is being split. It is also proved by the sounding moments later of a #103 fragment, #103 being Siegfried’s own youthful horncall. It is as if Siegfried, through his unconscious artistic inspiration by Bruennhilde (which is taking place, significantly enough, in the cave on Bruennhilde’s mountaintop, even as the Norns spin the rope of fate below it), is cutting the rope of fate with his sword Nothung, whose whole purpose was to restore the lost innocence of feeling and love, the time before the birth of human consciousness. We hear the curse motif #51 precisely at the moment the rope of fate breaks. But this is not so much the neutralization of the curse as its fulfillment: in all particulars Alberich’s curse will have run its course and fulfilled itself by the end of the Ring, and Siegfried and Bruennhilde will unwittingly play their part in this.

But the breaking of the Norns’ rope of fate is not merely a foreshadowing of the moment, much later, when Alberich’s curse on the Ring will indeed come to an end as the Rhinedaughters dissolve the Ring, restored to them by Bruennhilde, in the waters of the Rhine. It represents in its current context the figurative transcendence of the limits of time and space within the inspired artwork Siegfried creates, in the Wagnerian “Wonder,” the waning of Erda’s knowledge (spun by her daughters the Norns) before Wotan’s will, Siegfried’s muse of inspiration, Bruennhilde. It is through her inspiration of Siegfried’s art that he is freed from Wotan’s fear of the fated end Erda foresaw, freed both of Erda’s objective knowledge, and religious belief’s illusory claims to truth which were the cause of that fear. In other words, Alberich’s curse on the Ring does not end with the breaking of the Norns’ rope of fate, since Siegfried and Bruennhilde will eventually succumb to Alberich’s curse after all. The Norns do not foresee this only because the knowledge they spin is waning before Wotan’s will Bruennhilde, as she inspires Siegfried to go out into the wider world to undertake new adventures by performing heroic deeds of artistic creation.

The Norns’ scene, T.P.1, transpires between the two halves of Siegfried’s love duet with Bruennhilde, namely, S.3.3, and T.P.2, representing the unconscious inspiration of the artist-hero Siegfried by his muse Bruennhilde. Therefore it seems clear that the rope of fate they spin breaks, not literally, but figuratively, thanks to Siegfried’s creation of a work of art inspired by his muse Bruennhilde, before whom Erda’s knowledge of all that was, is, and will be - the real world and its laws and egoistic impulses - fades. Thus, after it snaps we hear #54, the Twilight of the Gods motif, representing - we must presume - not a literal prophecy of the eventual twilight of the gods which takes place in the last act, but the figurative twilight of the gods Bruennhilde spoke of in the ecstatic finale to S.3.3 when she described how the gods would go under in the face of the love she shares with Siegfried. The Norns proclaim the end of eternal wisdom (an oxymoron, of course), which only makes sense if we see its end as something subjectively experienced by both

Go back a page
745
Go forward a page
© 2011 Paul Heise. All rights reserved. Website by Mindvision.