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Twilight of the Gods: Page 933
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Rhinedaughters’ lament for the lost gold) and a #20ab variant (which Dunning formerly described as a #17 variant), {{ which sounds somewhat like the compound motif comprised of #12/#20b which, during Wotan’s confession to Bruennhilde in V.2.2, heralded Wotan’s prediction of the inevitable victory of Alberich’s as yet unborn son Hagen over the gods. But here it has an optimistic sound more like the triumphant variant of #17 associated in T.1.3.1 with Bruennhilde’s remark to Waltraute that the gods can, so far as she is concerned, go down to rack and ruin, since Siegfried’s love shines out from the Ring.” }} Thus Siegfried declares, accompanied by this hybrid motif which evidently partakes of #17, #19, and #20ab, that though the Ring were to win him the world’s inheritance, for the sake of love’s favors (accompanied now by #174a and #174c, the Rhinedaughters’ new lament for the lost gold) he’d gladly forego it. This reminds us again of the motival genealogy of the gods’ abode Valhalla, for #20a evolved out of Alberich’s Ring Motif #19. Siegfried therefore seems to be disavowing all the corruption of soul inhering in this genealogy, since musical feeling in the music-drama seems freed from the conceptual debate over truth and falsehood waged between objective science and subjective religious faith, i.e., between Alberich in Nibelheim and Wotan and the gods in Valhalla. Siegfried, like Bruennhilde, is of course unconscious that the religious half of this debate lives on in the refuge of feeling, the love he shares with his muse Bruennhilde.

Now Siegfried proclaims his heroic credo: since the Rhinedaughters threaten him, though (accompanied now by #52 – the portion of Alberich’s Ring curse which proclaimed doom to any one who co-opts Alberich’s Ring-power) the Ring were not worth a whit, the Ring they’ll never wrest from him. Accompanied by #45 (“Power of the Ring”) and a #19 variant (which sounds like Bruennhilde’s “Triumphant” variant of #17), Siegfried shouts that thus he flings life and limb away from him, as he throws an earth clod over his back. In other words, like Bruennhilde, he’s willing to die for love, or, to be more accurate, he’d rather be dead if he was forced to acknowledge that the fundamental motive of his life were self-preservation rather than love.

Wagner had very strong feelings on this subject, suggesting on several occasions that suicide would be preferable to acknowledging that man’s primary (or sole) motive is self-preservation (fear), as opposed to self-sacrificial love and compassion, which for Wagner was the sole worthy source of inspiration for human action (including the creation of art):

[P. 161] “No people has taken arms against invasions of its inner freedom, its own true essence, as the Germans: there is no comparison for the doggedness with which the German chose his total ruin, rather than accommodate himself to claims quite foreign to his nature. (…) It is the essence of that spirit which we call ‘genius’ in the case of highly-gifted individuals, not to trim its sails to worldly profit. (…) Recollection (Erinnerung) now became for it in truth a self-collection (Er-Innerung); for upon its deepest inner self it drew, to ward itself from the now immoderate outer influences. (…) [P. 162] Yet when its native countenance, its very speech was lost, there remained to the German spirit one last, one undreamt sanctuary wherein to plainly tell itself the story of its heart of hearts. From the Italians the German had adopted Music, also, for his own.” [723W-{9-12/65} What is German?: PW Vol. IV, p. 161-162]

“… R. suddenly quoted Egmont’s words, ‘I set you an example,’ and said this was what made Egmont so significant, this was the German conception of freedom – not to want to go on living when all one could look forward to was fear and the need for circumspection. R. spoke these words

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