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Twilight of the Gods: Page 781
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knows how to cherish (i.e., to keep or guard), and that she should not blame him if her teaching left him untaught (i.e., if he remains unconscious of what she taught him subliminally). The main point about the Potion is not merely that it will make Siegfried fall in love with a false muse named Gutrune, whose sole concern is perhaps sexuality and/or status rather than love (the vulgar rather than spiritual “use” of art, so to speak), but that Hagen’s potion will make Siegfried forget to honor his true relationship with the muse of his unconscious artistic inspiration, Bruennhilde, so that he will betray her and the knowledge she holds for him - and protects him from - to the light of day. And, in a surprising development of the utmost irony, this will occur through the very means Siegfried has been employing to redeem the world, namely, through the production of a redemptive music-drama. As we will see in T.3.2, Siegfried will later perform his inspired artwork before his audience of Gunther, Hagen, and the Gibichungs, and betray his secret relationship with Bruennhilde to the light of day, in the very act of performing the work of art his muse Bruennhilde inspired.

Jean-Jacques Nattiez presented the hypothesis in his 1990 book Wagner Androgyne [Nattiez: P. 84-86] that Gutrune is Wagner’s metaphor for Italian opera and/or French opera comique. Wagner called modern Italian opera a wanton who (like Gutrune) does not feel real love, and described French Opera Comique as a coquette who enjoys men’s adoration without feeling love herself:

[P. 112] “Someone has very appropriately called the modern Italian opera-music a wanton. A courtesan may pride herself on always remaining her self; she never steps outside herself, never sacrifices herself but when she wishes for either pleasure or profit in return, and in this case she only offers to the joys of others that portion of her being which she can lightly enough dispose of, since it has become an object of her own caprice. In the embraces of a courtesan the Woman is never present, but only a portion of her physical organism: from love she reaps no individuality, but gives herself in general to the general world. Thus the wanton is an undeveloped, wasted woman … .

French opera-music passes rightly for a coquette. The coquette adores to be admired, nay even loved: but her peculiar joy at being admired and loved she can only taste, providing she herself be snared by neither love nor [P. 113] admiration for the object she inspires with each. The profit she seeks is delight in herself, satisfaction of her vanity: the whole enjoyment of her life lies in being admired and loved; and this would be instantly disturbed, were she herself to feel either love or admiration for another. (…) From nothing, therefore, does the coquette so guard herself, as from Love, in order to preserve untouched the only thing she loves – to wit her Self … . Wherefore the coquette loves from thievish Egoism, and her vital force is icy coldness.” [488W-{50-1/51} Opera and Drama: PW Vol. II, p. 112-113]

Once she learns of Siegfried’s death, however, Gutrune will display what certainly seems to be genuine grief at his passing, so Wagner’s description of Italian opera as a wanton or harlot, and French opera as a coquette, doesn’t precisely fit the Gutrune we come to know on the stage.

Nattiez’s thesis is the following: after noting various clues in the music associated with Gutrune, that she is Wagner’s metaphor for a lighter sort of music, such as that of the Parisian opera comique, he asks: “What role does Siegfried play here? He is the victim of Alberich’s son Hagen, who is thus at least a half-Jew … . It is a half-Jew, therefore, who lures Siegfried into the arms of French opera.” [Nattiez: p. 87] Nattiez speculated that Siegfried’s seduction by Gutrune (opera

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