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The Rhinegold: Page 175
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the source of man’s real power - which might otherwise be unbiased and objective, holding up a mirror to reality - with feeling (love). Loge’s answer to Fricka’s inquiry follows from this. As Loge tells her that a wife might insure her husband’s fidelity if she wore a jewel forged by dwarves under the Ring’s spell, we hear #23 (recalling Fricka’s previously expressed hope that the domestic charm of Valhalla would sustain Wotan’s fidelity to her, i.e., to all the values embodied by Valhalla), followed – as Cooke noted - by a transformation of #13 (the Rhinedaughters’ exclamation “Heiajaheia!” in celebration of the pre-fallen Rhinegold) into the Embryo of #41 (the motif representing the Nibelungs’ slave labor under the coercion of Alberich’s Ring). This foreshadows the moment when the great Waelsung hero Siegfried, having won Alberich’s Ring, presents it to his newfound wife and muse Bruennhilde (Wotan’s daughter) as their wedding Ring, in T.P.2, where the irony of its employment as the symbol of love’s bond will become overwhelming and tragic. Significantly, #23, first associated with Valhalla, will attain its fullest orchestral development in S.3.3 when Siegfried is first approaching the sleeping Bruennhilde to wake her, and experiences aesthetic arrest as he surveys her mountain peak and her sleeping form. I will explain the symbolic significance of #23’s presence at that point in S.3.3 later, but will content myself here by suggesting that Valhalla will, in a sense, be recreated in the loving union of Siegfried and Bruennhilde, in whom Wotan hopes to restore the innocence lost through Alberich’s forging of the Ring. It is well to remember here something we can’t repeat too often, that the Ring Motif #19 gave birth to the Valhalla Motif’s first segment, #20a, i.e., the real is the foundation of the ideal.

Cooke described how #13 here transforms into its variant form #41, and explained that since #13 represents the Rhinedaughters whose love Alberich sought, but who spurned and mocked him, Alberich converts his thwarted instinctive longing for love into his compensatory quest for power over others, which attains its horrifying climax in his enslavement of his fellow Nibelungs, for the purpose of amassing a hoard of treasure which Alberich plans to use to secure world-power. Cooke’s assessment is astute, and can well be incorporated into our own interpretation.

[R.2: N]

Wotan’s curiosity gets the better of him, and he asks Loge how one might manufacture such a Ring:

 

Wotan: (as though in a state of increasing enchantment: #12:; #19:) To wield the ring seems wise to me (:#12; :#19). – but, Loge, how might I learn the art? How could I make the jewel?

 

Loge: (#19:) A rune-spell makes a ring from the gold (:#19): no one knows what it is, (#18:) yet the spell is easily cast by him who forswears love’s delights (:#18). (Wotan turns away in displeasure.) You’d rather not; you’d be too late in any case: Alberich did not hesitate; (#19:) fearless, he gained the magic power (harshly: #37:) and managed to make the ring (:#37).

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