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Twilight of the Gods: Page 865
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#166 end frag? [a two-note figure]; #5; #168a; #166 end frag? [a two-note figure]; #168a?; #168b? [3 chords repeated – is this related to #42 end frag?]; [[ #168ab ]])

 

When Alberich, accompanied by #167 (the so-called “Murder Motif”), incites his son Hagen to win back Alberich’s Ring from those who co-opted it, saying that though Hagen was not strong enough to do what only Siegfried could do (defeat the dragon Fafner to win back Alberich’s Ring), he fathered Hagen to take a firm stand against [Wotan’s] heroes, and to feel stubborn hatred, Alberich harks back to Wotan’s experiment in S.2.1, when he offered Alberich a chance to see if Alberich could persuade Fafner to part with his Ring by agreeing to save Fafner’s life, by protecting him from Siegfried, so Fafner could live a long life in peace. Fafner, representing at that point in the story religious faith’s fear of freedom of thought and intellectual inquiry, the taboo against knowledge, answered Alberich’s offer, saying he preferred to have and to hold, and to sleep, in other words, to enjoy life consoled by the illusions of religious belief, which would be impossible if Fafner attained full, waking consciousness. Society evidently was not yet ready to renounce its religious impulse and the traditions (the social contract) which grew up around it, in favor of the modern, secular, scientific world which Alberich and Hagen offer. It is in this sense that Hagen did not have the strength which Siegfried alone had, to kill Fafner (i.e., to kill the grip which religious faith, and its offshoots in morality and art, still held on man’s heart). And Siegfried only had this power because religious faith (Wotan) could live on in him in the purer form of the feeling of transcendence (as expressed by secular art, particularly music), minus the baggage which religious faith carries.

Alberich says that, this being the case, Hagen will now avenge Alberich (avenge the wrongs perpetrated against Alberich by those who would use the Ring’s power to sustain consoling illusions, rather than stand up for Nature’s cold truth), accompanied by #37, the “Loveless Motif.” At this point we hear what seems to be a new compound motif, #20a/#151/#42 Variant, which sounds very like the compound motif #20b/#12, which was associated in V.2.2 with Wotan’s confession to Bruennhilde of Erda’s prophecy, that the gods’ days would be very near their end when Alberich fathered a child (Hagen), and associated also with Wotan’s hopeless resignation when he designated Alberich’s son (Hagen) heir to all that Wotan despises in the world and in himself, including not only the objective world, but the pomp of the gods. Hagen can accomplish his father’s wishes because Hagen represents the undivided, sole truth, whereas those who co-opted the Ring’s power to sustain consoling illusions are divided against themselves, holding in view simultaneously both the truth which ultimately cannot be denied, and the illusions which they invented as a substitute for the truth, illusions which can no longer be sustained in the face of the truth, man’s ever growing hoard of knowledge. There is always the risk the truth will rise to consciousness and contradict the illusions which hid it. We are reminded that Wotan himself admitted this when he complained to Bruennhilde that though Wotan could never create a free hero, even though he wooed Siegmund’s and Sieglinde’s mother with love, Alberich, who wooed Grimhilde lovelessly, through bribery with gold, could create this free hero. Hagen is free only in that he is free from illusion.

Now the sun begins to rise, and Alberich’s image to fade, as he repeatedly asks Hagen to swear he will wreak (the curse’s: #51’s) vengeance on the gods and heroes. Hagen, accompanied by #166 (Hagen’s personal despair) and #51 (the “Ring Curse,” of which Hagen, though despairing, is the

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