Synopsis of my interpretation of "Dutchman"

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

Moderators: alberich00, Justin Jeffrey

Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 430
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:03 am

Synopsis of my interpretation of "Dutchman"

Post by alberich00 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:42 am

Dear members and visitors to's discussion forum:

Well over a decade ago I posted an introduction to the content and scope of my prospective book on Wagner's seven repertory operas and music-dramas from "The Flying Dutchman" through "Parsifal" (the four-part "Ring" reckoned here as a single work), "The Wound That Will Never Heal," at Included in this introduction were thumbnail sketches of my interpretations of all seven works, so that readers could obtain an overview of how I construe these artworks as conceived by Wagner within one single conceptual frame of reference. I am posting in this discussion forum my synopses of Wagner's seven canonic operas and music-dramas, from 'Dutchman" through "Parsifal," so readers can see in brief how I relate one artwork to another in context.

Here is my synopsis of my interpretation of "The Flying Dutchman":

"Wagner’s initial symbol for the wound that will never heal, man’s existential dilemma, is the curse embodied by the Dutchman’s refusal to accept nature as he finds it. By refusing to give up his futile quest to round the cape against the wind, the Dutchman is taken at his word by Satan, and must wander the world forever unsatisfied and unredeemed. This provides a model for Wotan’s (Light- Alberich’s) subjection to Alberich’s curse, and Loge’s (Satan’s, i.e., self-deceit’s) complicity in it. This chapter will explore how The Flying Dutchman provided Wagner with numerous plot elements for the Ring, including the concept of Wotan as World- Wanderer, the notion of a curse that involves the endless accumulation of a Hoard of treasure, the thesis that there can be redemption by love, the concept that redemption requires immersion in the depths of the world’s waters, and the pessimistic vision of a cosmic holocaust. It also introduces the key concepts that the cursed one’s identity and fate are one, that contemplation of one’s true identity is unbearable, and that the heroine- redeemer takes upon herself the burden of the hero’s consciousness of sin - his identity."
Post Reply