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The Rhinegold: Page 174
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eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge), and the certainty of death. This may be behind Loge’s suggestion that the renunciation of love (which in the Ring means rising above dependence on animal instinct to attain fully human consciousness) has something of death in it.

Thus, Loge concludes, the Rhinedaughters (representing our former preconscious, instinctual life which we lost by virtue of acquiring the power of conscious thought) appeal to Wotan (mankind) to restore this paradise which has been lost since Alberich stole the Rhinegold and forged his Ring of power. As Loge says, the Rhinedaughters have complained to him of their “Noth,” i.e., the existential angst which is the price of human consciousness, the hallmark of the Fall, and therefore expect of Wotan that he will restore lost innocence. Since, in most origin myths, man has to steal divine power to obtain it, and the Fall is the spirit-world’s punishment of man for this theft of the divine prerogative of consciousness, which is man’s original sin, the Rhinedaughters’ request that Wotan – the god of gods - restore what has been lost through Alberich’s theft of the Rhinegold and forging of the Ring, can be understood as their longing (or rather, man’s longing) that religious faith redeem man from the tragic consequences of too great consciousness, consciousness of the truth. This concept is also behind the Prometheus Myth, in which Prometheus is punished by Zeus with an unhealing wound for giving man the divine privilege of fire (think of Loge here), and more importantly, foreknowledge, since Prometheus means “foresight,” or “foreknowledge.” In Wagner’s world, initially religious faith, and later, secular art, are man’s artificial attempts to restore this life of feeling which has been lost by thinking.

[R.2: M]

Fricka is, ironically, entranced by the idea that the Rhinegold could serve for fair adornment for women, which is a bit odd since Loge just finished telling everyone that Alberich had to renounce love in order to win it:

Fricka: (softly to Loge:) Might the golden trinket’s glittering gem be worn by women and serve as fair adornment?

 

Loge: A wife might ensure that her husband was true (#23:) if she lovingly wore the bright-shining jewel (:#23), (#13>#41:) which, shimmering, dwarfs have forged, bestirred by the spell of the ring (:#13>#41).

 

Fricka: (cajolingly, to Wotan: #24 violin:) Might my husband win the gold for himself (:#24 violin)? (#12)

The irony in Fricka’s questions, curiously enough, stems from the fact that in Wagner’s world man must have endured the Fall (after first obtaining consciousness) in order to have any incentive to restore the feeling, or love, or the innocence, that we had to sacrifice to obtain it. The gods by definition (being as they are man’s invention) represent man’s artificial attempt to temper thought,

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