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The Valkyrie: Page 439
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The Valkyrie: Act Three, Scene Three - Bruennhilde's rocky peak: Bruennhilde and Wotan

[V.3.3: A]

Bruennhilde now, in one of the most eloquent passages in the Ring, or for that matter in the entire history of the theater, appeals to Wotan to relent: this passage – and that which immediately follows, during which Bruennhilde’s plea overcomes Wotan’s resistance – is of such surpassing sublimity that it is almost unbearable when performed with authentic conviction. It is virtually blinding:

(#95?: Wotan and Bruennhilde, who still lies at his feet, are left alone. A long, solemn silence: their positions remain unchanged. [[ #96a ]]; #81; #87)

Bruennhilde: (slowly beginning to raise her head a little; starting timidly, then with increasing intensity: [[ #96a: ]]) Was it so shameful what I did wrong that you punish that wrong in so shameful a way? [[ #96a: ]] Was it so base what I did unto you that you seek to debase me to fathomless depths? (#96a; #89 repeated 5 or 6 times in following passage:) Was what I did so lacking in honour my lapse must deprive me of honour (:#96a; :#89)? (raising herself gradually into a kneeling position) (#81B vari >>?:; #87 hint?:) O tell me, father! Look in my eyes (#81B vari?:) and silence your anger; curb your wrath and explain to me clearly what hidden guilt (#81A:) forces you now, in stubborn defiance, your dearest child to disown (:#81A)! (#81A)

Wotan: (his position unchanged, gravely and sombrely) Question your deed, it explains to you your guilt! (#77)

Bruennhilde: I carried out your orders.

Wotan: Did I order you (#87) to fight for the Waelsung?

Bruennhilde: (#21 orch:; #77voc?:) So you bade me act (#21) as Lord of the Slain [“Herrscher der Wal”]. (#21)

Wotan: But I took my instruction back again.

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