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Twilight of the Gods: Page 888
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Maya, Siegfried is unconscious, dreaming. And this will be true even when, later (in T.3.2) he unwittingly and involuntarily exposes the secret of his unconscious artistic inspiration within his completed work of art, the narrative he sings to the Gibichungs about how he came to understand birdsong. Wagner gives us two metaphors for Siegfried’s betrayal of the secrets of his unconscious mind to the light of day. The first is that he gives his muse of inspiration, Bruennhilde, away to his audience, Gunther and the Gibichungs, by giving Bruennhilde to Gunther in marriage. The second metaphor is the song narrating his history, and how he came to grasp the meaning of birdsong, which he sings, at Hagen’s behest, to the assembled Gibichungs in T.3.2, during which he will reveal his true relationship with his muse Bruennhilde to his audience.

Bruennhilde then demands (accompanied by #161/#45, Hagen’s Watch Motif, which underlined his plotting to have Siegfried bring Bruennhilde to Gunther and the Ring to Hagen, and the Power of the Ring Motif, respectively) that if Gunther took from her the Ring by which she was wed to him, he should assert his right to have Siegfried return it to him, but Gunther’s confusion and inability to explain anything is expressed by #154 (Hagen’s Potion). Both #161 and #45 remind us that the sole possible explanation behind all this confusion is Hagen’s infamous manipulation of events to insure the Ring be returned to himself and his father Alberich, who alone can wield its real power. Gunther asserts that he did not give Siegfried any Ring, and asks if the Ring to which Bruennhilde alludes is the same one Siegfried is wearing now. Bruennhilde herself expresses her confusion as she asks where they are hiding the Ring that Gunther carried off as his prize. Bruennhilde’s despairing struggle to solve this conundrum is accompanied by #12/#154 and #42’s end fragment, suggesting she has now guessed that some sort of cunning, magical subterfuge (in fact, both the Tarnhelm and Hagen’s Potion have played key roles), a conspiracy between Siegfried and Gunther, is behind this. We hear an orchestral explosion of an inversion of #164 as Bruennhilde screams at Siegfried: “(#164 Inversion:) Ha! He it was who wrested the Ring away from me. (#17 Variant) Siegfried, the treacherous thief.” #164, representing Bruennhilde’s growing recognition that the blissful love she has known with Siegfried is actually the instrument of Wotan’s punishment for her insistence on living for love, is dramatically expressed in Siegfried’s incomprehensible betrayal of Bruennhilde’s love here, since Bruennhilde concludes Siegfried has won her love with the sole purpose of handing her over a captive to a loveless marriage with Gunther. This is the very punishment which Bruennhilde initially supposed Wotan intended for her in V.3.2, that she would be left asleep to be forced into marriage, and shame, with any man who found her, no matter how unworthy. It would be as if Siegmund, Siegfried’s father, had aided Hunding and the Neidings in abducting Sieglinde to hand her over to them, rather than saving Sieglinde from her loveless marriage.

But Siegfried is strangely oblivious, calmly contemplating the Ring on his finger as if under a spell, and recalling how he originally won it from Fafner, not at all remembering he has just recently forced it off of Bruennhilde’s finger. It was not from a woman it came to me, he says, as we hear Fafner’s “Serpent Motif,” #48. Instead – accompanied now by #15 (the Rhinedaughters’ cry “Rhinegold! Rhinegold!”) and #126 (Fafner’s Fear Motif), Siegfried says: “(#15; #126:) I recognize clearly the spoils from the fight which I once won at (#161 Variant) Envy-Cave (#59a, b, or c?) when slaying the might dragon.” The presence here of #15, {{ and evidently also one or more of #59’s three segments, }} is extraordinary. They take us back to that moment in S.2.3 when Siegfried emerged from Fafner’s cave with the Ring and Tarnhelm, which the Woodbird told him to retrieve, explaining why he should retrieve them by describing their use in detail. But when he

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