A+ a-
Wagnerheim Logo
Wagnerheim Bookmark System
The Rhinegold: Page 165
Go back a page
Go forward a page

by the naïve saints of Christianity, confused, as they were, by Jewish dogma, and they were able to deceive their confused imagination by seeing that longed-for state [i.e., man’s supernatural redemption from subjection to egoistic impulse, and the mortal body, in heaven] as a perpetual continuation of a new state of life freed from nature … .” [636W-{6/7/55} Letter to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 345-346]

In other words, Freia, the goddess of divine love and immortality, represents man’s artificial, futile because unassuageable, desire for infinite, endless life freed from those natural conditions which alone make life possible, as Wagner puts it, a state of perpetual life freed from nature (i.e., life freed from its preconditions). As Wagner implies above, when man posits the possibility of his redemption from his earthly coils in heaven, he does so by imaginatively smuggling into heaven the earthly things for which he longs, minus all those contradictions and difficulties which make it impossible to satisfy these desires completely in mortal life within the actual world. So it is Wotan’s task (a task which will be accomplished for him by Loge, man’s artistic capacity for self-deception) to seemingly satisfy the Giants’ demand for what Freia represents, without actually acknowledging their true claim on Freia herself. Our animal impulses must - in other words - be deluded into renouncing earthly satisfaction for the sake of a theoretical satisfaction in another world, the supernatural abode of the gods. Only in this way can religious man (who projects his own nature on to the gods of Valhalla) mistake illusion (Freia’s gifts) for truth.

Wotan, in a state of momentary panic at the possibility that Fafner’s threat fulfilled might overthrow the illusions which sustain the gods in men’s hearts, cries out that Loge (the archetypal artist through whose cunning alone the gods can continue to deceive themselves) delays too long.

[R.2: I]

At just this moment Freia’s brothers Froh and Donner, responding to her cry for help, show up to save her from the Giants’ threat, Donner in particular threatening to use force which is not at all in the spirit of the contract upon which Wotan agreed with the Giants:

[Fasolt and Fafner threaten to take Freia when Wotan won’t hand her over, accompanied by #26a. Froh and Donner, responding to Freia’s cry for help accompanied by [[ #31 ]], come running in.]


Freia: Help! Save me from these hard-hearted brutes!


Froh: ([[ #31: ]]: taking freia in his arms:) To me, Freia! – (to Fafner) Get back from her, you bully! Froh protects fair Freia (:#31).


Donner: (planting himself in the path of both the giants [[ #32ab: ]]) Fasolt and Fafner, you’ve felt my hammer’s blow before?

Go back a page
Go forward a page
© 2011 Paul Heise. All rights reserved. Website by Mindvision.