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The Rhinegold: Page 152
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Fricka: Loveless husband, most heartless of men! For the barren bauble of might and dominion you’d gamble away, with ungodly contempt, (#18) [but seems to hint at] [[ #37?: ]] love and womanhood’s worth (:#18 – [possibly #37])?

 

Wotan: (#21:) In order to win you as wife, my one remaining eye I staked that I might woo you (:#21). How foolish you are to blame me now! I worship women more than you like! And Freia the good I’ll never give up: it never seriously entered my thoughts.

Fricka has identified love (feeling, instinct) with woman, and power (and therefore the human mind, and thought, the Ring) with man, as Feuerbach did when he proclaimed that love is feminine:

“Love is … essentially feminine … .” [71F-EOC: p. 72]

The conflict between Wotan and Fricka over Valhalla, i.e., over the price they must pay the Giants to build it, granting the Giants the goddess of love and sorrowless youth eternal (immortality), Freia, in exchange for Valhalla, bespeaks a contradiction at the heart of Wotan’s dream of securing for the gods a safe refuge for religious faith in Valhalla. For Wotan has to place in pawn the very ideal which sustains Valhalla, the goddess Freia, symbol for both transcendent - or divine - love, and immortality, in order to build the refuge in which the gods hope to preserve that ideal. Valhalla, even though it is the domestic refuge of divine love and transcendence, can only be built with the aid of the egoistic, corporeal animal drives of fear and desire (Fafner and Fasolt), and by promising those drives satisfaction by paying them Freia. Wotan, in other words, has to satisfy egoistic animal instinct to build his heaven, Valhalla, but cannot afford to openly admit this contradiction, because to do so might expose the allegedly spiritual realm Valhalla as nothing more than a sublimation or product of physical nature and mortal man’s mundane animal impulses. As Feuerbach said, the Christian is bound to deny nature yet secretly, and therefore hypocritically, satisfy it:

“ … the … true Christian … is bound to deny Nature, while he satisfies it … . … he publicly disavows what he privately does.” [165F-EOC: p. 314]

And in order to resolve this contradiction Wotan must fool the Giants into thinking he will pay them the goddess Freia for their labor, while somehow managing to persuade them, in the end, to forego their pay and accept a substitute which Wotan can afford.

Wotan justifies his actions to Fricka by reminding her that he once staked his one remaining eye in order to win her, thereby proving he sets great store by women and love, and that in any case he never seriously intended to sacrifice Freia to the Giants. Erda’s daughters the Norns will tell us in T.P how Wotan sacrificed one eye, half his sight, previously, in order to obtain wisdom from the waters of the well of wisdom which flows out from under the roots of the World-Ash Tree, and in order to break from it a branch to make the spear, the symbol and embodiment of his divine authority. Significantly, we hear #21, the spear motif, as he reminds Fricka of this sacrifice. If Wotan was indeed prepared to sacrifice his one remaining eye, the one he was left to see with after sacrificing the other eye to obtain wisdom, in order to win Fricka (who in a sense is the conscience

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