A+ a-
Wagnerheim Logo
Wagnerheim Bookmark System
Twilight of the Gods: Page 753
Go back a page
753
Go forward a page

as the beneficiary of the unconscious artistic inspiration granted him by his lover, the wondrous Bruennhilde, but has given us a premonition of the entire plot of Twilight of the Gods.

That Bruennhilde’s teaching has left him untaught is a consequence of the fact that Bruennhilde, Siegfried’s unconscious mind, influences him subliminally with Wotan’s hoard of secret knowledge (identified moments ago with #150), i.e., she teaches him, but her teaching has left him untaught because he remains unconscious of its true source. Similarly, the Woodbird taught Siegfried the use he could make of both the Tarnhelm and the Ring, yet by the time he’d left Fafner’s cave with these objects in hand he had forgotten their use. Clearly, the Woodbird had taught Siegfried these things subliminally. And of course, Bruennhilde taught Siegfried the meaning of fear, yet through her love he was able to forget his fear. This concept goes right back to Wotan’s relationship with Bruennhilde’s mother Erda, who taught him both the meaning of his fear of the shameful end of the gods she had foreseen, and taught him also how to end his fear (through their child Bruennhilde).

Siegfried unwittingly foretells the entire plot of Twilight of the Gods in his seemingly innocent remark that Bruennhilde gave him more (i.e., access to Wotan’s unspoken secret) than he knows how to cherish (keep, or guard). By virtue of winning Bruennhilde Siegfried has fallen heir not only to the muse of unconscious artistic inspiration, man’s collective unconscious, through which man involuntarily created his religions with their supernatural gods, but he has also fallen heir to the hoard of repressed knowledge of the bitter truth which it is the ultimate purpose of religion to hide and replace with a consoling illusion. Siegfried, the secular music-dramatist (a figure for Wagner himself), is now the sole authentic vessel and guardian of the religious mysteries (i.e., knowledge of those inner processes through which man involuntarily created his gods, inner processes to which Wagner himself claimed to have unique access). But, as Siegfried notes, since he remains unconscious of this secret knowledge, he does not know how to cherish, guard, or keep it. In other words, Siegfried foresees that he may one day innocently betray Wotan’s unspoken secret, his hoard of knowledge, so that it rises, as Alberich foresaw, from the silent depths of man’s collective unconscious Bruennhilde, to the light of conscious day. This notion that Siegfried is destined to betray Wotan’s unspoken secret to the light of day is embodied by #150. We will see dramatic evidence for this in T.2.5, when Bruennhilde, again accompanied by #150, confesses to Gunther and Hagen her anger at Siegfried for having taken her knowledge away and betrayed her.

For evidence that Wagner regarded the special sort of music he composed for his music dramas as keeping the secret of the religious mysteries, in his following remark Wagner describes music not only as “the very mother-womb of Drama,” but also suggests that this music-drama (such as Siegfried will create under the spell of Bruennhilde’s inspiration, and present to an audience), is effectively an allegory or legend “shadowing the mysteries of religion.”:

“… she [music] feels called to re-assume her ancient dignity, as very mother-womb of Drama. … she is no rival, but its mother. She sounds, and what she sounds ye see upon the stage; for that she gathered you together: what she is, ye never can but faintly dream; so she opens your eyes to behold her through the scenic likeness, as a mother tells her children legends shadowing the mysteries of religion.” [837W-{10/72} On the Name ‘Music Drama’: PW Vol. V, p. 302]

Go back a page
753
Go forward a page
© 2011 Paul Heise. All rights reserved. Website by Mindvision.