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Twilight of the Gods: Page 927
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Wellgunde: (#174a/#3:) So strong (:#174a/#3)!

 

Woglinde: (#174b:) And so desirable!

 

All three: (#174b:) What a pity he’s stingy (:174b)!

 

(They laugh and dive beneath the waves. #175 [&/or #33b?])

Siegfried was formerly able to artificially restore the Ring to the Rhine by leaving its power safe in Bruennhilde’s protective hands, so that through her magic he was protected from the wounds of consciousness and fear of the end which had paralyzed Wotan. But Siegfried has unwittingly lost Bruennhilde’s protection by forcing the Ring out of her protective hands, and by giving her, his muse, away to Gunther, his audience. So now Siegfried openly wears Alberich’s Ring on his finger, as Wotan once did (with devastating consequences), and exposes its objective, bitter truth to the public. Furthermore, while the Woodbird once saved Siegfried from a premature death at the hands of Mime and his potion, no Woodbird or Rhinedaughter, nor even Bruennhilde’s runes, warned Siegfried of the danger he incurred by drinking Hagen’s potion, when Gutrune offered it to him. Siegfried was evidently already a fallen man before he drank that potion, whose effect is that Siegfried will eventually become too conscious of his motives to seek unconscious artistic inspiration from his true muse Bruennhilde, as otherwise he would never have drunk it.

As the Rhinedaughters offer to grant Siegfried his game in exchange for something, we hear what sounds even more like the fluttering of the Woodbird when it led Siegfried off to find Bruennhilde in the finale of S.2.3, and also when Siegfried was confronted by Wotan, disguised as the Wanderer, as he approached Bruennhilde’s mountaintop, and the Woodbird ran off. More than ever we feel that the elf who made Siegfried lose his game is Alberich, and that the game he’s lost is Bruennhilde. It is Bruennhilde whom Siegfried seeks in this hunt, without knowing it. And in fact the memory of Bruennhilde will be restored to Siegfried, for one brief moment, before his death in the next scene, when Siegfried drinks a drink prepared by Hagen, which is in fact Hagen’s antidote to the love-forgetfulness potion which Gutrune offered Siegfried in T.1.2.

Now the Rhinedaughters tell him what they desire of him should they grant him the game he seeks, the Ring on his finger. Siegfried complains that this would hardly be a fair exchange, giving them the Ring he won heroically by slaying a dragon, for the sake of a mangy bear-skin. Siegfried unwittingly reminds us that he has in fact given up Bruennhilde, who protected him from the Ring curse, for the sake of the Ring itself, and that therefore he is now doomed by the Ring curse. Siegfried and the Rhinedaughters now indulge in a witty repartee about Siegfried’s claim that his wife (ostensibly Gutrune, but in actuality Bruennhilde) would chide him if he wasted his wealth (“Gut”) on them, all set to #176. Siegfried, angry at their mockery, petulantly tells them he’ll never grant them the Ring, as they plunge again into the depths.

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