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Correspondence Der Ring des Nibelungen

A comment

by Benjamin

I’m still following your Ring updates. I felt very moved by Wotan’s honour-bound burden, particularly listening to the music you attached. More so than Alberich, of whom it could be expected, and despite the chronology, I found myself very angry at the lord of Valhalla’s wife, the rules of hospitality relativised with regard to a racial enemy’s transgression. The duty is misunderstood and ranked above the love for kin.

The spiralling consequences for Wotan… The need for his intervening spear. The great loss of his daughter. The father’s heart was torn. His wife had the satisfaction of impressing her social function, but her rigidity to an awarded task measured against a god’s honour, the lesson was disregarded beyond its action alone.

There’s no racial consciousness there. I think this insistent, mechanical absolutism, contrasted with the sheer implications from a man’s perspective (who, I would feel, could somehow have ‘bent the rules’, just a little, in private, and then in swift male decision and action, given that Hunding was a racial enemy, where it not for the naïve, sympathetic literality of his wife’s open opinion having curtailed all hope of that)—that’s the tragedy of this story to me, in essence. The mundane and the terrible ramifications of a woman’s love for obedience to more than the man beside her.

One reply on “A comment”

Back in high school, I read a Russian retelling of the Nibelungenlied, and does this sentiment apply there? I was impressed at how the loyal Kriemhild’s revenge for her slain husband led to the extermination of the royal house of Burgundy. I was more cheering for Hagen because he didn’t let the gold go to waste.

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