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Twilight of the Gods: Page 909
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humanity, all men in time and space), could not speak it aloud lest he lose his mind, that Bruennhilde says Hagen’s greatest courage would quail.

But Hagen, accompanied by #173 (Siegfried’s and Bruennhilde’s counter-oaths), asks whether or not Siegfried’s false oath would mark him out for Hagen’s spear. Bruennhilde responds, accompanied by #15 {{ and what sounds like other Rhinedaughter music, perhaps #13 }}, that oaths, true or false, are an idle concern, and that Hagen must seek stronger means to arm his spear if he’d best the strongest of men. Siegfried’s strength, his heroic fearlessness, arises from the fact that Bruennhilde holds for him the hoard of intolerable knowledge which Wotan imparted to her, particularly foresight of the shameful end of the gods, in this way protecting Siegfried from the wounds consciousness of this knowledge would inflict upon his psyche. The magical protection she offers Siegfried from Alberich’s curse on his Ring makes her Siegfried’s surrogate Rhine, an artificial and temporary substitute for restoring the Ring to the Rhinedaughters, who would dissolve it in the Rhine’s flood, ending its curse. Thus we hear #15 and probably #13. Oaths true or false are ineffective against this protection, because Siegfried only feels what Bruennhilde (that is to say, Wotan) thought, and therefore has no concern either with science’s objective truth, or with the gods’ (religious faith’s) dependence on illusions which, however, falsely stake a claim upon the truth, claiming to be the truth (and thus staking an open claim to the power of Alberich’s Ring, which cannot be sustained). Feuerbach had noted that when belief in God (a falsehood) could not be sustained in the face of science’s advancement in knowledge (truth) and man’s historical maturation in self-consciousness, God took refuge in feeling, which Feuerbach elsewhere identifies with music. As Wagner himself put it, in the modern, materialistic, atheistic, science-based world, religion can’t sustain itself, but it lives on in “the deepest, holiest inner chamber of the Individual: whither never yet has surged a conflict of the rationalist [i.e., Alberich and Hagen] and supranaturalist [Wotan, representing religious faith in the gods] … .” [See 705W]

Hagen acknowledges - accompanied by a harmony associated with Loge, the Waelsung heroes’ archetype, which may merely reference the #33b variant associated with Loge’s protective Ring of fire around Bruennhilde – that he well knows Siegfried’s conquering strength, which would make him hard to kill in battle. Siegfried is of course protected by ignorance granted him by his unconscious mind Bruennhilde, and Loge’s veil of Maya, representing the entire legacy of religious belief and art which has hidden the fatal truth from man for thousands of years. So Hagen asks Bruennhilde to whisper him sound advice how the seemingly invulnerable hero Siegfried might yield to Hagen’s might.

Bruennhilde’s response to Hagen’s request that she expose the secret of Siegfried’s Achilles’ Heel, is one of the most important and meaningful passages in the Ring, motivally, dramatically, and conceptually. She exclaims in frustration, accompanied initially by #64 (Love Motif) {{ (and perhaps a hint of #63, Sieglinde’s Motif, with a possible reference to Siegmund’s thanks to his sister Sieglinde in V.1.1 for giving him a drink when he was in need: “Cooling comfort came from the spring”?) }}, “O rank ingratitude! Shameful reward! (#150 Variant/#15 Variant: {{ [is there any hint of #23, #139, or other music heard in S.3.3 when Siegfried reached the crest of the peak where Wotan had left her asleep?] }} Not a single art was known to me that did not help to keep his body safe. (#141 Variant; {{ (#?: [perhaps something Siegfried sang to the Woodbird in S.2.3?] }} Unknown to him, he was tamed by my magic spells {{ (#143?: [or some other music associated in S.3.3 with Bruennhilde’s request that Siegfried not destroy her by coercing her love? Could it be a

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