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The Rhinegold: Page 179
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could be. Ultimately, we will learn that the use of giving the Ring back to the Rhinedaughters is to redeem the world from the curse which Alberich is going to place on the Ring (having already cursed love). But more to our current point, this seemingly innocent remark provides us a foreshadowing of the subtle method Wotan’s hero Siegfried and Wotan’s daughter Bruennhilde, Siegfried’s lover and muse, will use to redeem the gods temporarily from Alberich’s Ring curse. For Bruennhilde, in whose safekeeping Siegfried will eventually place Alberich’s Ring, will be for a time a surrogate for the Rhinedaughters and the Rhine, who temporarily protects Siegfried and the world from the effects of Alberich’s curse on the Ring. Bruennhilde will, in effect, give birth to a variant form of Woglinde’s Lullaby #4 (the Woodbird’s songs #128 and #129), through which the world can figuratively return to sleep, escaping for a time the punishment which is the price of man’s Fall. This alternative to actually returning the Ring to the Rhinedaughters is the shrewd and subtle method to which Loge alludes, being as he is the archetype for the artist-hero Siegfried to whom Wotan will look for ultimate redemption from Alberich’s curse, just as Loge now offers to employ his cunning to redeem the gods from Alberich’s threat.

Fricka’s fear that through the Rhinedaughters’ seduction mortal men might be lured into breaking the gods’ laws, by the way, stems from the obvious fact that man is by nature a conscious, cultural being, which alone makes him capable of inventing and worshipping the gods, so any return to nature in an actual sense, as for instance through neglect of religiously sanctioned social virtues for the sake of animal desire, would be anathema. Little does Fricka know that all the virtues of self-denial and cooperation which societies allegedly under divine authority encourage, stem as much from selfish animal instinct as the most unrestrained satisfaction of lust does, though socially sanctioned behavior is so mediated by culture and custom that it is difficult to recognize what is natural in it.

[R.2: P]

Fafner, the more cynical of the two Giants, now whispers to his brother Fasolt that the gold is worth more than Freia, since eternal youth could also be obtained through the force of the Ring’s spell:

(Wotan is struggling silently with himself, while the other gods, tense and silent, stare fixedly at him. meanwhile, to one side, Fafner has been conferring with Fasolt.)

 

Fafner: (#24 vari:) Believe you me, the glittering gold is worth far more than freia: eternal youth may also be gained by him (:#24 vari, etc.?) (#4 or #16?; #12) who obtains it by force through the gold’s magic spell.

 

(Fasolt’s reaction indicates he has been persuaded against his will. Accompanied by Fasolt, Fafner approaches Wotan: #26a) (…)

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