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The Rhinegold: Page 169
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[R.2: K]

Wotan now confronts Loge, reminding him that Wotan only agreed to pay the Giants Freia because Loge promised to redeem her. But Loge begs to differ: what he did was merely promise to seek a way to redeem her. After all, he asks, how could he promise the impossible?:

 

Wotan: (#35) Slyly you seek to elude me; take care, in truth, that you don’t deceive me. (#33b or #30b or #36?:) Of all the gods your only friend (:#33b or #30b or #36?), I took you into the ill-trusting tribe. – (#34:) Now speak and counsel wisely (:#34)! (#21) When the citadel’s builders demanded Freia by way of thanks, (#33b or #30b) you know that I only acquiesced because you promised on oath to redeem the noble pledge. (#33a? or #33b ascending?)

 

Loge: With utmost care to ponder on ways by which to redeem it – that I did indeed promise. (#35:) but that I would find what never befell and what’s bound to fail (:#35), how could such a promise be made?

 

Fricka: See what a treacherous rogue you trusted!

 

Froh: (#35:) Loge’s your name, but I call you liar (:#35)!

 

Donner: Accursed flame, I’ll snuff you out!

 

Loge (#35: [as embryo for #100]) To hide their shame the fools defame me (:#35). (Donner aims a blow at Loge)

 

Wotan: (intervening) Leave my friend in peace! You don’t know Loge’s art [“Kunst”]: [[ #36: ]] greater the value of his advice (:#36) when he pays it out delayingly.

Froh has called Loge a liar, but Loge’s astute retort is that the gods defame him only to hide their shame, i.e., their shame at depending on him to help them deceive themselves. The gods need Loge, but they also need to disavow him. They can’t afford to acknowledge consciously that the foundation of their allegedly divine world is self-deception, any more than they can afford to admit the truth which they hide behind their veil of illusion, that the underlying basis of their allegedly

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