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Twilight of the Gods: Page 898
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knowledge which this wondrous union formerly concealed (i.e., Alberich’s Ring). Therefore, in a sense Siegfried had to secretly break his oath to Gunther, by having figurative sexual relations with Bruennhilde his muse, in order to sustain his oath to Gunther, to provide Gunther with the false honor and glory upon which Gunther’s happiness depends. Only when this becomes clear near the end of the tale (in T.3.2-3) will Gunther reconcile himself with Siegfried, and acknowledge with bitterness that the honor Hagen claimed to be preserving by murdering Siegfried in revenge for breaking his oath to Gunther, was not an honor in which Gunther could place value, even though it was the truth. Gunther, like Wotan, had unwittingly depended upon cowardly self-deceit to sustain the belief in man’s transcendent value, and for Siegfried to betray the knowledge of this hypocrisy to consciousness, even if involuntarily and therefore innocently, was to break his oath to Gunther. In other words, Siegfried unwittingly sins by exposing man’s self-deceit. We are reminded of King Marke’s complaint to Melot in the last moments of Act Two of Tristan and Isolde, that Melot had not preserved Marke’s honor by exposing Tristan’s true relationship with Isolde to him, since Tristan had, up until then, been the sole guardian and founder of Marke’s honor.

[T.2.4: E]

Siegfried now condescendingly begs Gunther to put his foot down and take control of his wife Bruennhilde’s unseemly temper, suggesting that in time her anger will cool and ultimately she’ll be thankful that Siegfried won her for Gunther:

 

Siegfried: Gunther! (#150 vari >> :) Stop your wife from shamelessly bringing dishonour upon you (:#150 vari)! (#170?; #150?) Grant the wild mountain woman a moment’s respite and rest (#150?) (#40 or #64?:) that her brazen rage may abate (:#40 or #64?), (#voc?: [perhaps suggestive of music from R.4 when Loge released Alberich, just before Alberich cursed his ring, or of music associated in R.4 with loge telling Alberich he needs to pay his ransom and free himself before thinking of revenge?]) which a demon’s cunning craft [“Unhold’s arge List”] has roused against us all (:#40 or #64?; :#voc? [Loge/Alberich reference from R.4?])! (#5?) You vassals, withdraw (#? [an orchestral figure suggestive of Loge releasing Alberich in R.4?]) and leave this women’s wrangling! (#19?) (#36 vari:; [perhaps more music associated with Loge’s release of Alberich in R.4?]; #?: [is there any reference to music associated in R.4 with Wotan tearing the ring off of Alberich’s finger and Alberich crying “Ha! Ruined! Crushed!,” or to Wotan’s expression of triumph as he contemplates his newly won ring a moment thereafter?]) Like cowards we gladly give ground when it comes to a battle of tongues (:#36 vari; :#? [R.4 Loge reference?]; :#? [R.4 Wotan/Alberich reference?]).

 

(He goes right up to Gunther: #33b; #42?)

 

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