UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Nibelungensaga in nineteenth century drama Hay, Letitia Anne 1932

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UlB.C L i b r a r y | NO. yftfy*' THE NIBELUNGENSAGA I N NINETEENTH CENTURY DRAMA b y L e t i t i a Anne H a y A T h e s i s s u b m i t t e d f o r t h e D e g r e e o f MASTER OP ARTS i n t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f MODERN LANGUAGES \ The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a A p r i l , 1 9 3 2 . TABLE OP CONTENTS CHAPTER I PAGE INTRODUCTION I CHAPTER I I FRI E D R I C H HEBBEL 18 CHAPTER I I I RICHARD WAGNER 54 CHAPTER I V HENRIK I B S E N 80 BIBLIOGRAPHY §4 THE NIBELUNGENSAGA IN NINETEENTH CENTURY DRAMA CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION In a l l Teutonic l i t e r a t u r e the greatest monuments of the middle ages are those poetic and prose works which deal with the l i v e s of the Niblungs and Volsungs. The sagas them-selves, however , which form the basis of these mediaeval works, extend hack into the misty past of the Germanic peoples and, consequently,the mythological element i n them i s important. Gods and demi-gods,dwarfs and giants,play t h e i r parts as well as human beings. The e a r l i e s t of the Morse versions of these monuments,the poetic Edda,dates from about 900 A.D.,and i t i s r i c h i n the portrayal of p r i m i t i v e Germanic life,when,accord-ing to early b e l i e f s , t h e gods themselves came into d i r e c t personal contact with the dwellers on the earth. A great number of the lays i n the Edda are German i n origin,and the legends seem to have t r a v e l l e d back and f o r t h from Germany to Scandinavia. With the coming of C h r i s t i a n i t y into Germany, however, the attitude there towards the old b e l i e f s changed, and eventually the mythological elements p r a c t i c a l l y d i s -appeared from the more modern versions of the o l d sagas. But t h i s change did not a f f e c t the northern versions as early, for the vBlsungasaga, which, was composed about the twelfth century,is untouched by the softening elements of C h r i s t i a n -i t y . The-se mediaeval monuments are made up of three d i s t -inct elements - actual history,legendary heroic deeds,and 2 pure myth. Thie h i s t o r i c a l element i s the r e s u l t of the mig-r a t i o n period,when the Germanic t r i b e s were moving westward and southward. Wars were the natural consequence of t h i s movement,and the ensuing v i c t o r i e s and defeats were soon mingled with mythological t a l e s . A second natural outcome of the wars of the migrations was the emergence of great heroes, whose vali a n t deeds were celebrated i n story and song by a worshipping people. With the passage of years history,myth, and legend were intermingled i n the minds of t h i s p r i m i t i v e people,who had no knowledge of time or h i s t o r y . H i s t o r i c a l heroes were endowed with divine powers;historieal events were embellished with mythological elements;heroes,separated by c e n t u r i e s , i n the minds of the people became contemporaries. In the Nibelungenlied,for example,the a n n i h i l a t i o n of the Burgundians under King Gunther by the Huns i s actual h i s t o r y , and the name Giseiner has been found i n the Burgundian law code. D i e t r i c h von Bern,too,is an h i s t o r i c a l figure,but while the saga makes him a contemporary of E t z e l , i n r e a l i t y he l i v e d a century l a t e r . In the gay,attractive character of Siegfried*-;, with h i s s t r i k i n g beauty,and h i s great powers,is found the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the old sun-god Baldr,of Horse mythology, who embodies a l l that i s pure and beautiful,strong and happy. The greatest purely German work of art,which has been inh e r i t e d from mediaeval l i t e r a t u r e , i s , w i t h o u t doubt, the Nibelungenlied,an epic masterpiece by an unknown author. As f a r as can be ascertained i t was written about the end of the twelfth century,but whether i t was compiled by various authors or whether one man was e n t i r e l y responsible f o r the whole e p i c , i s a m a t t e r o f c o n j e c t u r e . The s t o r y , w h i c h t e l l s o f e v e n t s o f t h e f i f t h c e n t u r y , a p p r o x i m a t e l y , i s h i s t o r i c a l i n many r e s p e c t s , b u t w i t h an u n d e r c u r r e n t l e f t o f t h a t myth-o l o g i c a l element, w h i c h i s so much more dominant i n the n o r t h -e r n sagas. C h r i s t i a n i t y was t h o r o u g h l y e s t a b l i s h e d i n Germany by the time of the N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , and p r o b a b l y f o r t h a t r e a s o n , many o f t h o s e elements c o n t r a r y t o C h r i s t i a n t e a c h i n g s "-ere s u p p r e s s e d . Not o n l y d i d the r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s o f the p e r i o d a f f e c t the s t o r y , but the s o c i a l customs a l s o e x e r t e d a g r e a t i n f l u e n c e , the c u l t u r e o f the a u t h o r ' s age b e i n g a t t r i b u t e d t o the much more b a r b a r o u s p e r i o d i n w h i c h the a c t i o n o f the N i b e l u n g e n l i e d b e l o n g s . Time has a c t e d upon the o l d l e g e n d s and f u s e d the m e d i a e v a l c h i v a l r y , t o g e t h e r w i t h i t s customs and t r a p p i n g s , w i t h the b a r b a r i c b a c k g r o u n d o f t h e o r i g i n a l s t o r y , and the s t o r y t e l l e r , w i t h o u t any h i s t o r i c sense, i s n a i v e l y unaware o f h i s a n a c h r o n i s m s . F e u d a l i s t i o l o y a l t y p l a y s a v e r y l a r g e p a r t i n the poem, the whole outcome i n the s e cond p a r t depending upon Hagen's l o y a l t y t o Gunther and h i s b r o t h e r s , and upon t h e i r l o y a l t y t o t h e i r comrades-in - a r m s . Gunther c o u l d have saved the l i v e s o f h i s men and o f h i s f a m i l y i f he had been d i s l o y a l t o Hagen and. had d e l i v -e r e d him up t o K r i e m h i l d ' s r e v enge. Hagen c o u l d have saved h i s own l i f e by r e m a i n i n g a t home i n Worms, but l o y a l t y t o h i s l i e g e l o r d bade hirn accompany him on a p e r i l o u s j o u r n e y . S i e g f r i e d ' s murder h i n g e s upon B r u n h i l d ' s i n s i s t e n c e t h a t , as a v a s s a l , he s h o u l d come and pay homage t o h i s l o r d . . 4 Rlldeger, A t t i l a ' s v a s s a l , i s an e x a c t p r o t o t y p e o f a p r o d u c t o f c h i v a l r y , and t h e demands t h a t such a c u l t u r e made upon a k n i g h t , a r e f o u n d i n t h e v e r y d r a m a t i c and p o w e r f u l scene, where Rtid-e g er i s f o r c e d t o choose between h i s l o y a l t y t o h i s K i n g and h i s l o a y a l t y t o h i s g u e s t s . One t i e i s as s a c r e d as the o t h e r and Rlldeger i s i n a t e r r i b l e dilemma, - w h i c h e v e r oath he b r e a k s he f e e l s h i m s e l f c o m p l e t e l y d i s g r a c e d . F e u d a l i s m and c h i v a l r y were a t t h e i r z e n i t h i n the M i d d l e Ages, and as the N i b e l u n g e n l i e d s e r v e s as a m i r r o r f o r t h e l i f e o f the t i m e , t h e y have, n a t u r a l l y , prominent p l a c e s i n the poem. The N i b e l u n g e n l i e d i s i n t h i r t y - n i n e c a n t o s , and i s d i v i d e d i n t o two d i s t i n c t p a r t s . The f i r s t p a r t c o n t a i n s the s t o r y o f S i e g f r i e d ' s e x p l o i t s , o f h i s wooing o f B r u n h i l d f o r Gunther and o f K r i e m h . i l d f o r h i m s e l f , and f i n i s h e s w i t h h i s d e a t h a t the hands o f Hagen. The second p a r t o f the poem c o n t a i n s the s t o r y o f K r i e m h i l d 1 s p l o t t i n g f o r revenge a g a i n s t Hagen for- the murder o f h e r husband, and shows the d r e a d f u l s l a u g h t e r she b r i n g s about. S i e g f r i e d , t h e h e r o of the f i r s t p a r t , i s a l m o s t d i v i n e i n h i s g r e a t n e s s , i n h i s e x t r a o r d i n a r y s t r e n g t h and manly b e a u t y , and i n h i s i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y . But he i s more t h a n the l e g e n d a r y d r a g o n - s l a y e r , he has t h e q u a l i t i e s o f t h e i d e a l m e d i a e v a l h e r o as w e l l , f e a r l e s s n e s s and s t r e n g t h , and a l s o f a i t h f u l n e s s and g e n t l e n e s s . A l t h o u g h he i s k i l l e d i n the e a r l y p a r t o f the poem, i n the s i x t e e n t h c a n t o , y e t he i s nev-e r f o r g o t t e n ; i t i s from h e r p a s s i o n a t e l o y a l t y t o h i s memory, t h a t K r i e m h i l d t u r n s i n t o an. a v e n g i n g f u r y . In the f i r s t p a r t o f t h e e p i c , t h e p i c t u r e g i v e n o f K r i e m h i l d , K i n g Gunther's f a i r s i s t e r , i s a charming one. She i s l o v e l y , sweet, v e r y m a i d e n l y , and one i s i m p r e s s e d above a l l w i t h h e r g e n t l e n e s s , w h i c h makes the change i n h e r c h a r a c t e r i n the second p a r t a l l t h e more e f f e c t i v e . These two c h a r a c t e r s have come under the s o f t e n i n g i n f l u e n c e s o f m e d i a e v a l c u l t u r e ; t h e y are more c i v i l i z e d t h a n the p r i m i t i v e c h a r a c t e r s o f Gunther and Hagen. Hagen, Gunther's foremost l i e g e m a n , stands out i n s t r o n g c o n t r a s t t o S i e g f r i e d , d a r k n e s s c o n t r a s t e d w i t h l i g h t . He i s gloomy, g r i m and s i n i s t e r , whereas S i e g f r i e d i s gay, l i g h t -h e a r t e d and l o v a b l e . Hagen p l a y s a v e r y i m p o r t a n t r o l e i n the N i b e l u n g e n l i e d . B e f o r e S i e g f r i e d comes he i s G u n t h e r 1 s c h i e f a d v i s o r , and h i s prime source o f i n f o r m a t i o n . I t i s lie who knows a l l about S i e g f r i e d and h i s prowess. I t i s he who a d v i s -es S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h , p a r t l y out o f l o y a l t y t o h i s Queen, B r u n h i l d , b u t a l s o because he i s e n v i o u s o f t h e a l l - c o n q u e r i n g h e r o , who, i n h i s i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y , i s always v i c t o r i o u s . Hagen i s f a r - s e e i n g and i n t e l l i g e n t . He c a n see t h e r e a l i n -t e n t i o n b e h i n d K r l e m h i l d ' s i n v i t a t i o n t o E t z e l b u r g , and he knows what i s i n s t o r e f o r t h e B u r g u n d i a n s i f t h e y go. But once Gunther has d e c i d e d upon the j o u r n e y , he i s t o o proud t o s t a y a t home, to o p r o u d t o a v o i d the consequences o f h i s own misdeeds, b u t a l s o t o o l o y a l t o Gunther t o l e t him go w i t h o u t him, when t h e r e i s danger. Hagen's l o y a l t y t o h i s K i n g i s g r e a t l y s t r e s s e d , e s p e c i a l l y t h r o u g h o u t the second p a r t , and he i s so d i s -d a i n f u l l y s c o r n f u l o f K r l e m h i l d ' s underhand means o f revenge, so d a r i n g l y c o u r a g e o u s , t h a t one cannot h e l p a d m i r i n g the impregnable man. b r a v e r y and l o y a l t y o f the now m i d d l e - a g e d B r u n h i l d , i n c h a r a c t e r , i s v e r y c l o s e t o Hagen. She,too, i s u n c i v i l i z e d , a r r o g a n t , untamed, a p r i m i t i v e woman. As Hagen b e a r s g r i e v a n c e s a g a i n s t S i e g f r i e d , because he Is i n v u l -n e r a b l e and i n v i n c i b l e , so does she n u r s e resentment a g a i n s t K r i e m h i l d d u r i n g t w e l v e l o n g y e a r s , because she f e e l s t h a t h e r husband's s i s t e r has degraded h e r s e l f by m a r r y i n g a v a s s a l . B r u n h i l d , however, l a c k s the g r e a t n e s s w h i c h s e r v e s so w e l l t o redeem Hagen's c h a r a c t e r . Once she i s v a n q u i s h e d , end descends from t h e pr o u d h e i g h t s o f h e r i n v i n c i b i l i t y , she becomes a p e t -u l a n t , s p o i l e d woman, e n t i r e l y l a c k i n g i n de p t h o f c h a r a c t e r . She p l a y s h e r p a r t o f an i n j u r e d Queen, thus g i v i n g Hagen an excuse t o p l o t f o r S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h , and t h e n , no l o n g e r n e c e s s a r y t o t h e s t o r y , she a u t o m a t i c a l l y drops out o f i t , Gunther i s not o u t s t a n d i n g f o r any e s p e c i a l q u a l i t i e s , he i s , i n f a c t , t he weak c h a r a c t e r o f the s t o r y ; n e c e s s a r i l y so because Hagen i s t h e i m p o r t a n t a d v e r s a r y o f S i e g f r i e d and l a t -e r o f K r i e m h i l d , and any s t r e n g t h e n i n g o f Gunther's c h a r a c t e r would d e t r a c t f r o m t h a t o f h i s c h i e f v a s s a l . He i s r a t h e r l e s s p r i m i t i v e t h a n Hagen, i n c l i n e d t o be c r e d u l o u s , and i s a po o r judge o f c h a r a c t e r . He r e f u s e s t o see the change i n K r i e m h i l d , and cannot u n d e r s t a n d how she c o u l d be t r e a c h e r o u s towards him. The c h a r a c t e r s o f Gerenot and G i s e l h e r , e s p e c i a l l y t h e l a t -t e r , have been somewhat more i n f l u e n c e d by c h i v a l r y ; t h e y a r e not as pagan and as c r u e l as Hagen and Gunther, b o t h r e f u s i n g t o have a n y t h i n g t o do w i t h S i e g f r i e d ' s murder. But t h e i r c h i v -a l r o u s resentment i s not s t r o n g enough t o outweigh t h e i r sense 7 of duty to t h e i r King, and both remain l o y a l to Gunther to the death. Rudeger Is a f i n e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the mediaeval chiv-a l r y , an example of a perfect knight - hospitable, kindly, loy-a l , jet w i t h a l l a courageous and f e a r l e s s warrior. Chivalry i s seen at i t ' s highest point i n the f i g u r e of Rudeger. E t z e l and D i e t r i c h von Bern, the only two knights who are l e f t a f t e r the dreadful slaughter, are both h i s t o r i c a l characters. They l i v e d i n d i f f e r e n t centuries, but with the passage of time and the lack of written records, these two great figures were brought together i n heroic songs. The character given to the King of the Huns i s not very admirable. He i s kind and generous to Kriemhild, and i s deeply g r a t e f u l to her f o r h i s son. He has no thought of the Queen's revenge-f u l plans, and endeavours to prevent any disagreement with h i s guests, u n t i l he himself i s drawn irrevocably into the f r a y by the murder of h i s son by Hagen. The brave and mighty figure of the h i s t o r i c a l E t z e l i s scarcely to be recognized i n the E t z e l of the Nibelungenlied. He can be imagined sueing f o r favours from Kriemhild, almost a weakling. When the slaughter breaks out i n the d i n i n g - h a l l , E t z e l i s only too anxious to leave the scene of b a t t l e under the protection of D i e t r i c h , and while he becomes eventually as anxious to k i l l o f f the Burgundians as h i s Queen, he himself makes no attempt to take any part i n the c o n f l i c t . One would expect a d i f f e r e n t characterization of the great conqueror, yet i t i s easy to r e a l i z e that, he i s made a weakling f o r the same reason that Gunther Is, because the p l o t demands i t . 8 D i e t r i c h of Bern i s the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the true C h r i s t i a n knight. His r e l i g i o u s q u a l i t i e s are not stressed, i t i s only known that he i s a C h r i s t i a n at the court of the heathen E t z e l . But how d i f f e r e n t i s h i s C h r i s t i a n i t y from that of the Burgundians! D i e t r i c h i s moderate and thoughtful preferring to avoid bloodshed: a good f r i e n d and advisor to E t z e l , but also sympathetic with the Burgundians, and anxious to prevent the l a t t e r from entering into Krlemhild's net. Yet when h i s wrath i s aroused by the slaughter of h i s men, he i s j u s t l y unhesitating i n h i s attack, a dauntless hero. His nature i s more deeply under the influence of C h r i s t -i a n i t y ; the r e l i g i o n of the Burgundians i s only a t h i n veneer, covering p r i m i t i v e paganism. D i e t r i c h i s more tempered and humble, incapable of the extremes of v i o l e n t hate and vengeance, revealed i n most of the other characters. A study of the old epic impresses one with the excellent powers of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n possessed by i t $ s unknown author. His f a v o r i t e method of d e l i n e a t i o n i s contrast; he sets the l i g h t over against the dark, S i e g f r i e d against Hagen; the Kriemhild of the f i r s t part, sweet and womanly, against the passionate. and w a r r i o r - l i k e Brunhild;" the tolerant and s e l f -c o n t r o l l e d D i e t r i c h against the passion-crazed Queen of the Huns. The characters are r e a l , v i t a l people, and while i n c e r t a i n aspects a l l the knights are of one conventionalized pattern, l o y a l and u n f l i n c h l i n g l y courageous, yet each one i s an i n d i v i d u a l , with i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ; - S i e g f r i e d Gunther, Hagen, Rudeger, D i e t r i e h - each one i s a d i s t i n c t personality. The p s y c h o l o g y , t o o , i s s i i r p r i s i n g l y good, e s p e c i a l l y i n the c h a r a c t e r of K r i e m h i l d . A c u r s o r y g l a n c e a t S i e g f r i e d ' w i f e g i v e s one the i m p r e s s i o n t h a t the tremendous change in. h e r c h a r a c t e r i s somewhat u n c o n v i n c i n g b u t on l o o k i n g more c l o s e l y one sees t h a t i t i s not a t a l l e x a g g e r a t e d , b u t i s on t h e o t h e r hand e x c e e d i n g l y w e l l - d r a w n . She was p a s s i o n a t e l y i n l o v e w i t h S i e g f r i e d , and he has been f o u l l y murdered f o r a cause i n w h i c h she n a t u r a l l y c o u l d see no j u s t i c e . She was t h e r e f o r e , as a m a t t e r o f c o u r s e , enraged a g a i n s t Hagen. Then b r o o d i n g o v e r h e r l o s s , as she d i d , h e r h a t r e d was e a s i l y t u r n ed i n t o an a l m o s t m a n i a c a l l u s t f o r revenge s.l a l l c o s t s . She f e l t t h a t l o y a l t y t o S i e g f r i e d demanded t h i s from h e r , so she s a c r i f i c e d h e r s e l f t o E t z e l , because she hoped t h a t t h r o u g h h i m she might have h e r chance. A l l t h e l o n g y e a r s , f rom th e t i m e ' o f S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h t o t h e v i s i t o f t h e B u r g u n d i a n s t o E t z e l b u r g , t h a t d e s i r e f o r revenge was c o n t i n u a l l y g r o w i n g , u n t i l i t was t h e s o l e t h o u g h t o f h e r h a l f - c r a z e d mind, and drove h e r t o t h e s l a u g h t e r o f a l l h e r kinsmen f o r the sake of. revenge on one man. A l t h o u g h t h e g e n e r a l tone o f the f i r s t p a r t o f the poem i s a happy one, i t i s n o t w i t h o u t a p r e s e n t i m e n t c f d i s -a s t e r , f o r i n t h e v e r y f i r s t s t a n z a s , i n t h e d i s c u s s i o n o f K r i e m h i l d ' s dream, a r e l i n e s o f e v i l f o r e b o d i n g . A f t e r the d e a t h o f S i e g f r i e d the tone o f the poem changes d e f i n i t e l y ; from the t w e n t y - t h i r d c a n t o i t i s v e r y gloomy, and from the t h i r t y - s e c o n d i t t u r n s i n t o a t e r r i b l e p o r t r a y a l o f w h o l e s a l e s l a u g h t e r . The f i r s t p a r t o f the e p i c , i n i t s g a y e r and l i g h t -e r mood, i s v e r y d e l i g h t f u l r e a d i n g . The a u t h o r i s not w i t h o u t 10 a c e r t a i n quaint sense of humor, the following stanza describ-ing the scene i n the church; "Da gieng sie zu dem Munster und mit i h r v i e l der Fraun. Da war i n solcher Zierde die KBnigin zu schaun, Dass da hoher Wunsche mancher ward verloren; Sie war zur Augenweide v i e l der Recken auserkoren."* Then i n the beginning of the seventh Canto, where Gunther a r r -ives at Isenland, the author charmingly mentions some of the e t e r n a l l y feminine c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ; "Da hiess die KBnigstochter von den Fenstern gehn Die minniglichen Maide: sie s o l l t e n da nicht stehn Zum Ariblick fur die Fremden; sie folgt e n unverwandt. Was da die Frauen thaten, das i s t uns wohl bekannt. Sie z i e r t e n s i c h entgegen den unkunden Herrn, Wie es immer thaten schBne Frauen gern. Dann an die engen Fenstern t r a t e n sie heran, 2 Wo sie die Helden sahen: das ward aus Neugier gethanJ" Some of the descriptions of maidenly beauty, e s p e c i a l l y Kriem-h i l d ' s, are extremely p o e t i c a l ; "Da kam die Minnigliche, wie das Morgenroth T r i t t aus triiben Wolken." 3 "Wie der l i c h t e Vollmond vor den Sternen schwebt, Des Schein so h e l l und lauter s i c h aus den Wolken hebt, So glEnzte sie i n Wahrheit vor den andern Frauen gut: Das mochte wohl erhftben den zieren Helden den Muth." 4  1. Simrock, Das Nibelungenlied, 97. 2. Ibid, 129.' 3. Ibid, 91. 4. Ibid, 93. I I That which i s most n o t a b l y l a c k i n g i n the N i b e l u n g e n l i e d i s n a t u r e d e s c r i p t i o n , a q u a l i t y wh ich i s much more s t r e s s e d i n the second g r e a t e p i c o f t h i s p e r i o d , the G u d r u n l i e d . The s t a n z a i c s t r u c t u r e which i s u s e d i n the N i b e l u n g e n -l i e d i s an u n u s u a l one f o r e p i c p o e t r y , and i t i s not always advantageous , because each thought i s l i m i t e d t o f o u r l i n e s , and the s teady f l o w o f the a c t i o n i s h i n d e r e d . I t i s a l s o the cause o f a g r e a t d e a l o f u n n e c e s s a r y padd ing when an a c t i o n or a d e s c r i p t i o n i s comple ted w i t h the t h i r d l i n e . The f o u r t h l i n e i n the f o l l o w i n g s t a n z a i s an example o f the f r e -quent p a d d i n g . I t has no d i r e c t c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the p r e c e d i n g t h r e e . "Die Jagd war zu Ende, doch n i c h t so ganz und g a r . Zu der P e u e r s t e l l e b r a c h t e der Jager Schar Haute mancher T h i e r e und des Wi lds genug. H e i . was des zur Kuche des KBnigs Inges inde t r u g l " * But t h i s , however , i s a minor m a t t e r , which does not s p o i l the g r e a t n e s s o f the poem. C o n s i d e r i n g i t s mixed o r i g i n , the e p i c p o s s e s s e s an ex-t r a o r d i n a r y u n i t y . K r i e m h i l d i s the f i g u r e around whom the s t o r y c e n t r e s , and event f o l l o w s e v e n t , each one c o n t r i b u t i n g another s tep towards the i n e v i t a b l e c a t a s t r o p h e , the d e s t r u c t -i o n o f the B u r g u n d i a n s . The n a r r a t i v e moves at t imes s t e a d i l y f o r w a r d , each canto b r i n g i n g new developments to the p l o t , at o t h e r t imes i t pauses w h i l e the a u t h o r , f a s c i n a t e d w i t h the beauty o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r garments , spends l o n g p a r t s o f can tos on d e s c r i p t i o n s o f the l o v e l y m a t e r i a l s , the p r e c i o u s j e w e l s , and the r i c h h u n t i n g and f i g h t i n g a p p a r e l I . S imrock , Das N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , 305 . 12 which adorn the b e a u t i f u l ladies and the knightly warriors. The descriptions of these scenes are usually v i v i d and picture-sque, though occasionally overdone. The mediaeval poet had no r i c h or varied vocabulary upon which to draw, and so r e p e t i t i o n i s frequent but f a r from be-ing tedious, i t gives rather the impression of a c h i l d - l i k e naivete. Certain words always rhyme - i f "wfp" appears, " l i p " follows i t u n f a i l i n g l y . Certain epithets are always applied to the characters - Kriemhild i s always "die schBne Konigin" or "das edle Weib", Hagen i s always "der grimme ^agen", the king and his vassals are always " r i t t e r l i e h . ' Whatever they become, the author continues to describe them i n such terms, a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c which tends at times to degenerate into almost an empty convention but which at the same time invests the characters with a l a s t i n g d i g n i t y . But, while many points i n the Nibelungenlied are open to c r i t i c i s m , i t i s nevertheless unsurpassed i n mediaeval l i t e r a t u r e because of i t s vividness, i t s colour, i t s rugged-ness - p a r t l y hidden by the trappings of c h i v a l r y - and above a l l i t s national i n t e r e s t . C a r l y l e , i n his essay on the Nibel-ungenlied, concludes with the following paragraph: " A creation from the old ages , s t i l l bright and balmy, i f we v i s i t i t ; and opening in t o the f i r s t History of Europe, of Mankind. Thus a l l i s not.oblivion; but on the edge of the abyss that separates the Old World from the New, there hangs a f a i r Rainbow-land; which also, i n curious r e p e t i t i o n s of i t s e l f (twice over, say the c r i t i c s ) , as i t were i n a secondary or even i n a ternary r e f l e x , sheds some feeble t w i l i g h t f a r 13 I n t o t h e d e e p s o f t h e p r i m e v a l T i m e . " 1 As h a s b e e n s t a t e d , t h e n o r t h e r n v e r s i o n o f t h e N i b e l -u n g e n l i e d , t h e e s s e n c e o f w h i c h i s t o b e f o u n d i n t h e v B l s u n g a -s a g a , i s much more p r i m i t i v e i n t o n e . I n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y t h e s t o r y and s o n g s o f t h e N i b e l u n g e n a n d o f S i e g f r i e d a n d t h e o t h e r h e r o e s t r a v e l l e d n o r t h i n t o S c a n d i n a v i a ; t h e r e t h e y u n d e r -went c e r t a i n c h a n g e s , b u t r e t a i n e d t h e more p r i m i t i v e a n d m y t h -o l o g i c a l f o r m , w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t t h e v B l s u n g a s a g a , w h i c h was w r i t t e n down a b o u t t h e same t i m e a s t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , c o n t a i n s much more o f what a r e s u p p o s e d t o be t h e o r i g i n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h e l e g e n d . T h e r e a r e , o f c o u r s e , many s i m i l a r i t i e s b e t w e e n t h e two s t o r i e s , b u t t h e d i f f e r e n c e s a r e a l s o b o t h numerous a n d I n t e r e s t i n g . F i r s t l y , t h e names a r e d i f f e r e n t y e t c l o s e e n o u g h t o show r e l a t i o n s h i p . S i e g f r i e d i s S i g u r d , K r i e m h i l d i s G u d r u n , G u n t h e r i s G u n n a r , F r a u TJte i s G r i m h i l d , E t z e l i s A t l i . The S c a n d i n a v i a n H a g e n i s H o g n i , a b r o t h e r o f K i n g G u n n a r ' s a n d h i s r d l e i s somewhat d i f f e r e n t . S e c o n d l y , t h e r e a r e a l s o d i f f e r e n c e s i n e v e n t s . The V B l s u n g a -s a g a s t a r t s w i t h t h e o r i g i n o f t h e r a c e o f t h e V o l s u n g s , d e s c e n d a n t s o f W o tan, o f w h i c h S i g u r d i s t h e l a s t a n d g r e a t e s t h e r o . I t g i v e s i n d e t a i l t h e s t o r y o f S i g u r d ' s b i r t h a n d u p b r i n g i n g , w h i c h d e t a i l s a r e o m i t t e d i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d . S i g u r d d i s c o v e r s B r u n h i l d b e f o r e g o i n g t o t h e c o u r t o f G u n n a r , where he i s g i v e n a d r i n k o f f o r g e t f u l n e s s b y G u d r u n . The two Queens q u a r r e l w h i l e b a t h i n g , n o t as K r i e m h i l d a n d B r u n -h i l d d o , a t t h e e n t r a n c e t o t h e c a t h e d r a l . S i g u r d i s k i l l e d w h i l e a s l e e p i n b e d b y G u t t o r m , one o f t h e K i n g ' s b r o t h e r s , I . C a r l y l e , C r i t i c a l E s s a y s a n d M i s c e l l a n i e s , I I , 2 7 3 . 14 w h e r e a s S i e g f r i e d i s k i l l e d b y H a g e n while o n a h u n t . B r u n -h i l d d i e s w i t h S i g u r d i n t h e V o l s u n g a s a g a , b u t t h e r e i s no n e e d f o r t h i s i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , b e c a u s e no m e n t i o n i s made o f t h e p r e v i o u s a c q u a i n t a n c e o f t h e t w o s u p e r h u m a n b e i n g s . The s t o r i e s a l s o e n d i n d i f f e r e n t w a y s . K r i e m h i l d , p l o t t i n g r e v e n g e a g a i n s t H a g e n f o r S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h , i n v i t e s h e r b r o t h e r s t o E t z e l b u r g f o r t h a t p u r p o s e , b u t she a c c o m p l i s h e s i t o n l y a t t h e c o s t o f m u r d e r i n g a l l h e r k i n . I n t h e VBlsunga-s a g a , h o w e v e r , A t l i i n v i t e s t h e N i b e l u n g s t o h i s c a s t l e i n o r d e r t o o b t a i n t h e R h i n e g o l d f r o m them, a n d a s a p u n i s h m e n t f o r t h e m u r d e r o f h e r b r o t h e r s b y h e r h u s b a n d , G u d r u n k i l l s A t l i . The s t o r y t h e n g o e s o n t o t e l l o f t h e a d v e n t u r e s w h i c h b e f e l l h e r a f t e r h e r h u s b a n d ' s d e a t h , a n d f i n i s h e s w i t h t h e w i p i n g o u t o f t h o s e who w e re a k i n t o t h e r a c e t h a t s l e w S i g u r d . Some m y t h i c a l e l e m e n t s w h i c h a r e f o u n d i n t h e vBlsunga-s a g a h a v e a l s o b e e n r e t a i n e d i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , b u t many h a v e b e e n d i s c a r d e d . Gone i s t h e w a l l o f f i r e w h i c h s u r r o u n d s B r u n h i l d i n h e r m a g i c s l e e p , a n d she i s no l o n g e r known as a f a l l e n V a l k y r i e , a l t h o u g h h e r s u p e r h u m a n p r o w e s s i n t h e f i e l d o f b a t t l e a n d h e r w a r l i k e q u a l i t i e s show t r a c e s o f h e r s e m i -d i v i n e o r i g i n . S i e g f r i e d r e t a i n s h i s i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y i n b o t h l e g e n d s , b u t t h e H e l m o f Awe i n t h e VBlsungasaga b e c o m e s , i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , a m a g i c h o o d , a n d i t plays a much larger p a r t , b e c a u s e i t i s i n d i s p e n s a b l e t o S i e g f r i e d i n a s s i s t i n g G u n t h e r t o w i n B r u n h i l d . The g o l d e n t r e a s u r e w i t h i t s a c c -o m p a n y i n g c u r s e , i s o n the o t h e r h a n d , o f r e l a t i v e l y s l i g h t 15 i m p o r t a n c e i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d . The i n v i n c i b l e s w o r d r e -m a i n s i n b o t h v e r s i o n s , w i t h m e r e l y a c h a n g e i n name. O d i n , o r W o t an, a p p e a r s s e v e r a l t i m e s i n t h e V S l s u n g a s a g a , b u t he i s f o r g o t t e n i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , a n d w i t h h i m g o e s a l s o S i g -u r d ' s famous h o r s e G r a n i , w h i c h i s o f t h e same r a c e a s t h e h o r s e s o f t h e g o d s , a n d w h i c h O d i n h i m s e l f c h o s e f o r t h e y o u n g h e r o . The N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , as h a s b e e n s a i d , i s w r i t t e n i n v e r s e , a n d t h e m e d i a e v a l a u t h o r h a s u s e d h i s s m a l l v o c a b u l a r y a b u n d a n t l y . Many v e r s e s a r e o f t e n n e e d e d t o e x p l a i n a s m a l l i n c i d e n t . The V o l s u n g a s a g a , h o w e v e r , I s i n p r o s e , a n d i t ' s a u t h o r was a s s p a r i n g o f w o r d s a s t h e a u t h o r o f t h e German e p i c was p r o l i f i c . T h i s p r o s e v e r s i o n i s d i v i d e d i n t o v e r y s h o r t c h a p t e r s , f o r t y - t h r e e i n a l l . The f i r s t t w e l v e d e a l w i t h t h e a d v e n t u r e s o f t h e f i v e g e n e r a t i o n s o f V o l s u n g s t h a t p r e c e d e d S i g u r d ' s b i r t h , t h e n e x t e i g h t e e n d e a l w i t h S i g u r d ' s h e r o i c l i f e , a n d t h e f i n a l c h a p t e r s t e l l o f G u d r u n ' s m a r r i a g e t o A t l i ( E t z e l ) a nd t h e d o w n f a l l o f t h e r a c e . The N i b e l u n g e n -l i e d i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h one g e n e r a t i o n , t h e V B l s u n g a s a g a t r e a t s o f t h e r a c e o f t h e V o l s u n g s f r o m t h e b i r t h o f t h e f i r s t s o n o f O d i n (Wotan) t o t h e d e a t h o f t h e c h i l d r e n o f G u d r u n . Though t h e p r o s e o f t h e V o l s u n g a s a g a i s v e r y c o n c i s e , y e t t h e r e i s no l a c k o f d e t a i l . I t i s much more p r i m i t i v e i n t o n e t h a n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , f o r i n t h e l a t t e r , m e d i a e v a l e t i q u e t t e h a s s u p p r e s s e d t h e s m a l l i n t i m a t e d e t a i l s o f l i f e , a n d l e f t a p o l -i s h e d s u r f a c e . The p i t h y p r o s e o f t h e S c a n d i n a v i a n s a g a c a n -n o t compare w i t h t h e n a i v e p o e t i c b e a u t y o f t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , b u t i t h a s a c h a r m o f i t s own i n i t s r u g g e d n e s s . 16 W i t h t h e d e c a y of c h i v a l r y i n t h e f o u r t e e n t h c e n t u r y , t h e f a b r i c o f m e d i a e v a l c h i v a l r i c p o e t r y r a p i d l y d i s i n t e g r a t e d , e v e n t h e b e s t o f i t was f o r g o t t e n , a n d i t was n o t u n t i l t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y t h a t t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d b e g a n t o r e c e i v e due r e c o g n i t i o n . W i t h t h e b i r t h o f R o m a n t i c i s m i n German l i t e r -a t u r e came a l s o t h e f u l l r e b i r t h o f m e d i a e v a l p o e t r y . The o l d e p i c s w e re p u b l i s h e d a n d w i d e l y r e a d , a n d many v a r i e d v e r s i o n s w e r e c o n s t r u c t e d f r o m t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , m o s t o f t h e m , how-e v e r , t a k i n g one s i n g l e c h a r a c t e r , s u c h a s K r i e m h i l d , B r u n h i l d , o r S i e g f r i e d a s t h e c e n t r a l f i g u r e , a n d c o n s t r u c t i n g t h e poem o r p l a y a r o u n d them. The b r e a d t h o f t h e c a n v a s i n t h e med-i a e v a l poem made i t d i f f i c u l t t o encompass i t w i t h i n t h e l i m i t s o f a d r a m a o r a n e p i c o f o r d i n a r y l e n g t h . L a t e i n t h e c e n t u r y w i t h t h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f H e b b e l ' s t r i l o g y , " D i e N i b e l u n g e n " i n 1862, a n d o f W agner's t e t r a l o g y , " D e r R i n g d e s N i b e l u n g e n " i n 1855, ( p r o d u c e d as a w h o l e i n 1876), came t h e c l i m a x i n t h e r e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e o l d N i b e l u n g e n s a g a . H e b b e l ' s t a s k was t o d r a m a t i z e t h e o l d N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , i n o r d e r t o b r i n g i t b e f o r e t h e German p u b l i c . He f o l l o w e d t h e o l d e p i c , f o r whose a u t h o r he h a d a p r o f o u n d a d m i r a t i o n , v e r y c l o s e l y , w i t h o n l y a f e w c h a n g e s , t h e reasons f o r w h i c h a r e e a s i l y u n d e r s t o o d . The more p r i m i t i v e s t o r y , h o w e v e r , w i t h i t s g o d s a n d m y t h s , h e l d much more a t t r a c t i o n f o r Wagner t h e R o m a n t i c i s t , w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t h i s g r e a t m u s i c - d r a m a i s t a k e n m a i n l y f r o m t h e VBlsungasaga. B o t h t h e s e w o r k s a r e g i g a n t i c i n c o n c e p t i o n , a n d a g r e a t d e a l o f i n t e r e s t i s a d d e d t o t hem b e c a u s e t h e y a r e i n t e n s e l y s u b j e c t i v e , b o t h H e b b e l a n d Wagner h a v i n g i n t r o d u c e d t h e i r own p h i l o s o p h y a n d theories 17 I n t o t h e i r dramas. And the f a c t t h a t they are so d i f f e r e n t , t h a t each o f the modern a u t h o r s c o u l d i n t e r p r e t the o l d t a l e f rom h i s own s t a n d p o i n t , i s f u r t h e r p r o o f o f the g r e a t human and a r t i s t i c v a l u e s i n h e r e n t i n the l e g e n d . CHAPTER I I P R I E D R I C H HEBBEL F r i e d r i c h H e b b e l f i r s t came i n t o c o n t a c t w i t h t h e N i b -e l u n g e n l i e d d u r i n g h i s s t a y i n Hamburg i n 1 8 3 5 , b u t i t was n o t u n t i l t w e n t y y e a r s l a t e r t h a t he s t a r t e d w o r k o n h i s own t r e a t m e n t o f t h e o l d e p i c poem. To a l l o u t w a r d a p p e a r a n c e s h i s i d e a was s i m p l e e n o u g h ; i n h i s own w o r d s , " d e r Zweck d i e s e s T r a u e r s p i e l s w a r , d e n d r a m a t i s c h e n S c h a t z d e s N i b e l -u n g e n l i e d ' s f u r d i e r e a l e Buhne f l u s s i g z u m a c h e n . " 1 B u t on a c l o s e r e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e o l d e p i c , H e b b e l h a d s e t h i m s e l f a n enormous t a s k . I t was i m p o s s i b l e f o r h i m t o w r i t e a drama-t i c t r e a t m e n t o f t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d w i t h o u t g i v i n g t h e c h a r -a c t e r s t h e d e e p m o t i v a t i o n w h i c h i s t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t p a r t o f h i s d r a m a t i c t h e o r y . The m e d i a e v a l w r i t e r a t t e m p t e d o n l y t o t e l l a s t o r y , he d i d n o t f e e l t h a t he h a d t o u n d e r s t a n d a l l t h e u n d e r l y i n g c a u s e s a n d r e a s o n s o r t o make them c l e a r t o t h e r e a d e r s . T h e r e was so much a c t i o n i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , t h a t H e b b e l h a d a d i f f i c u l t t a s k t o m o t i v a t e t h e c h a r a c t e r s p s y c h -o l o g i c a l l y , so t h a t t h e i r a c t i o n s m i g h t be u n d e r s t o o d b y m o d e r n r e a d e r s a n d i n o r d e r t o d r a w t h e a c t i o n i n t o r e a s o n a b l e d r a m a t i c l i m i t s . I n a l e t t e r t o Hermann M a r g g r a f , A p r i l 5, 1862, H e b b e l o u t l i n e s t h e p u r p o s e o f h i s w o r k o n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d ; " M e i n Zweck w a r , d e n d r a m a t i s c h e n G e h a l t d e s N i b e l u n g e n l i e d e s f u r d i e Buhne z u h e b e n , n i c h t a b e r d e n p o e t i s c h - m y t h l s c h e n I . B a r t e l s , ' 113. 19 d e s a l t - n o r d i s c h e n S a g e n k r e i s e s , f l u s s i g z u machen, dem u n s e r E p o s a n g e h t i r t , u n d d a s 1st m i r , w i e d i e i n Weimar a n g e s t e l l t e P r o b e b e w e i s t u n d m e i n e h e m a l i g e r G e g n e r S c h o l l i n s e i n e r g r o s s e n R e c e n s i o n b e s t a t i g t , v o l l k o m m e n g e l u n g e n . I c h m a c h t e m i c h d a h e r g a n z a h h E n g i g v o n dem G e d i c h t , b i s a u f dem G r a d d a s s i c h s o g a r d e n LBwen d e s O d e n w a l d e s s t e h e n l i e s s , u n d g r i f f n u r b e i d e n " V e r z a h n u n g e n " d e r e n G e r v i n u s s c h o n g e d e n k t , n o t h g e d r u n g e n i n E d d a u n d V B l s u n g a h i n u b e r . I c h b i n demnach n u r d a s S p r a c h r o h r d e s a l t e n D i e h t e r s , u n d w i l l a u c h , a u f jede S e l b s t & n d i g k e i t m i t V e r g n u g e n V e r z i c h t l e i s t e n d , d u r c h a u s n i c h t s a n d e r e s seyn"^" A n d i n a n o t h e r p l a c e h e s a y s : " D e r M y s t i c i s m u s d e s H i n t e r g r u n d e s o i l h8chstens d a r a n e r i n n e r n d a s s i n dem G e d i c h t n i c h t d i e S e c u n d e n - U h r , d i e d a s D a s e i n d e r M u c k e n u n d A m e i s e n a b m i s s t , s o n d e r n n u r d i e S t u n d e n - U h r s c h l a g t . H e b b e l was t h e g r e a t e s t p h i l o s o p h i z i n g p o e t o f h i s c e n t -u r y , t h e f o u n d e r o f t h e m o d e r n p s y c h o l o g i c a l drama. The dram-a t i c t h e o r i e s w h i c h h e s o u g h t t o e x p o u n d i n h i s p l a y s were new a n d e p o c h m a k i n g . The two m a i n t h e o r i e s w h i c h a f f e c t " D i e N i b e l u n g e n " c o n c e r n t h e p r o p e r p e r i o d t o c h o o s e f o r t h e p l a c i n g o f a t r a g e d y , a n d h i s c o n c e p t i o n o f t r a g i c g u i l t . He c h o s e f o r h i s t r a g e d i e s a l w a y s a n age o f t r a n s i t i o n , a t u r n i n g - p o i n t i n w o r l d h i s t o r y , where two c i v i l i z a t i o n s o r p h i l o s o p h i e s c l a s h e d . Human p r o g r e s s was e v o l v e d f r o m t h i s c o n f l i c t , b e c a u s e o n l y t h a t c o u l d e n d u r e w h i c h was i n harmony w i t h t h e D i v i n e I d e a . The m a i n f i g u r e s i n a t r a g e d y s h o u l d be p e o p l e who were t r a p i c a l l y a f f e c t e d b y s u c h a c o n f l i c t  1. B r i e f e , V I I , 1 6 3 . 2. T gb. I V , 5 9 3 3 . 20 o r a d v a n c e m e n t I n c i v i l i z a t i o n , t h o s e p e o p l e who were d e f i n i t e -l y m a r k e d as b e i n g i n c a p a b l e o f p r o g r e s s i n g w i t h t h e r e s t o f t h e w o r l d , who, t h e r e f o r e , n a t u r a l l y , f e l l , as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f a n age t h a t was p a s t ; o r o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , t h o s e who were t o o f a r i n a d v a n c e o f t h e i r f e l l o w m e n . So H e b b e l saw i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d n o t o n l y a n o p p o r t u n i t y o f m a k i n g c l e a r t o t h e German n a t i o n one o f t h e i r g r e a t e s t monuments, b u t a l s o a n e x c e l l e n t v e h i c l e f o r some o f h i s d r a m a t i c t h e o r i e s . H e r e he f o u n d a n i d e a l c o n f l i c t b e t w e e n t h e o l d o r d e r a n d t h e new, a c o n f l i c t b e t w e e n H e a t h e n i s m a n d C h r i s t i a n i t y . The o l d w o r l d w i t h i t s p a s s i o n a t e l o v e s a n d h a t e s , whose e x a g g e r a t e d s e n s e o f l o y a l t y o n l y s e r v e s t o l e a d i t s i n h a b i t a n t s t o c r i m e a n d m u r d e r , c o n f l i c t s w i t h t h e more a d v a n c e d c i v i l i z a t i o n o f t h e C h r i s t i a n e r a , w i t h i t s q u a l i t i e s o f t e m p e r a n c e , h u m i l i t y , a n d g e n t l e n e s s , a n d as a n a t u r a l r e s u l t , t h e o l d m u s t g i v e way b e f o r e t h e new. H e b b e l ' s s e c o n d g r e a t d r a m a t i c t h e o r y , t h a t o f t r a g i c g u i l t , i s e q u a l l y i m p o r t a n t f o r t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f h i s t r e a t -ment o f t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d . H e b b e l s e e s i n n & t w ^ a n i m p o r t -a n t f a c t i n t h e r e l a t i o n <%& t h e i n d i v i d u a l a n d t h e u n i v e r s a l . Any man who t r i e s t o s e t h i m s e l f , a s a n i n d i v i d u a l , a b o v e t h e l e v e l o f t h e u n i v e r s a l , i s p r e p a r i n g t h e p a t h f o r h i s own u n -d o i n g , b e c a u s e o n c e a man i s o u t o f t u n e w i t h t h e h a r m o n y o f t h e w o r l d , he p l a c e s h i m s e l f b e y o n d t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h a t w o r l d , a n d c a n t h e r e f o r e no l o n g e r e x i s t i n i t . The a c t i o n s o f t h i s o u t s t a n d i n g p e r s o n a l i t y may a r i s e f r o m n o b l e o r i g n o b l e m o t i v e s , b u t t h a t a f f e c t s i n no way t h e i n e v i t a b l e r e s u l t . S i e g f r i e d , h o w e v e r i n n o c e n t l y , p l a c e s h i m s e l f a b o v e 21 h i s f e l l o w m e n h y h i s e x t r a o r d i n a r y p o w e r s , a n d so comes i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h t h e w o r l d . B r u n h i l d , d e s t i n e d f o r i m m o r t a l i t y and a p l a c e a bove a l l human b e i n g s b y t h e g o d s , f a l l s a s a c r i f i c e t o t h e c i v i l i z a t i o n o f more o r d i n a r y m o r t a l s . H e b b e l saw i n " d e r grimme Hagen" o f t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , a n e x c e l l e n t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e r e a o f h e a t h e n i s m . He i s a n o u t - a n d - o u t H e a t h e n , a member o f a n o l d b a r b a r o u s a g e , w i t h o u t t h e t h i n v e n e e r o f C h r i s t i a n i t y h i d i n g h i s t r u e n a t u r e , a s I s t h e c a s e w i t h K r i e m h i l d . H e b b e l t a k e s g r e a t p a i n s a l l t h r o u g h t h e p l a y t o e m p h a s i z e t h e l a c k o f C h r i s t i a n f e e l i n g s i n H a g en's n a t u r e , a n d he m o t i v a t e s h i s a c t i o n s a s a r e s u l t o f h i s c h a r a c t e r . When t h e c u r t a i n r i s e s , H agen i s t h e f i r s t t o s p e a k , a n d t h e n o t e s t r u c k i s h i s l a c k o f r e v e r e n c e f o r C h r i s t a n d h i s i m p a t i e n c e w i t h t h e r e s t r i c t i o n s p l a c e d u p o n h i s p l e a s u r e w i t h t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f t h e new r e l i g i o n . H a g e n "Nun, k e i n e J a g d ? G u n t h e r Es 1 s t j a H e i l i g e r T a g J H a g e n D a s s d e n K a p l a n d e r S a t a n s e l b e r h o l e , V o n dem e r s c h w a t z t . " A n d a s G u n t h e r t r i e s t o c a l m h i m , "Was g i b t ' s d e n n h e u t 1 ? G e b o r e n 1 s t e r l a n g s t j Das war - l a s s t s e h e n i - J a , j a , z u r Z e i t d e r F l o c k e n ] S e i n P e s t v e r d a r b u n s e i n e B a r e n h a t z . " 1 H e b b e l makes Hagen's p r i m i t i v e , f o r c e f u l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s v e r y I . H e b b e l , Werke, I V , I I . 22 p r o m i n e n t , i n o r d e r t h a t he may be c o n t r a s t e d s h a r p l y w i t h t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of t h e new e r a , t h e C h a p l a i n i n t h e s e c o n d p a r t a n d D i e t r i c h v o n B e r n i n t h e t h i r d . T h i s a s p e c t o f Hagen i s v e r y l i t t l e s t r e s s e d i n t h e o l d e p i c , b u t H e b b e l d e p i c t s h i m a s a t h o r o u g h - g o i n g p a g a n . H a g e n i s shown n o t o n l y a s a h e a t h e n , b u t a l s o as a b a r b a r i a n , as i s shown i n h i s w o r d s t o V o l k e r ; " J a , du bezBgst a u c h d a n n n o c h D i r d i e G e i g e G e r n m i t d e s F e i n d e s Darm u n d s t r i c h e s t s i e M i t e i n e m s e i n e r K n o c h e n . " ^ H e b b e l s t r e s s e s Hagen's i n s i s t e n c e u p o n S i e g f r i e d ' s s e c r e c y w i t h r e g a r d t o h i s p a r t i n t h e w i n n i n g of B r u n h i l d , probably b e c a u s e he knew t h a t S i e g f r i e d , n a ? v e a n d i n g e n u o u s a s he was, might l i k e l y d i s c l o s e i t and t h e r e b y g i v e h i m , Hagen, a g o o d r e a s o n f o r k i l l i n g h i m . We s e e f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g h i s h a t r e d a n d j e a l o u s y o f t h e y o u n g h e r o . H i s p r i m i t i v e , v e n g e f u l n a t u r e r e j o i c e s i n t h e death o f S i e g f r i e d , a n d he g o e s t o t h e b a r b a r o u s e x t r e m e o f h a v i n g t h e d e a d b o d y l a i d o u t s i d e K r i e m -h i l d ' s d o o r . He u t t e r l y l a c k s c o n s i d e r a t i o n f o r o t h e r s , w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f h i s K i n g . A t t h e b o t t o m o f a l l t h e s e p a g a n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f H a g e n , so w e l l - d e v e l o p e d b y H e b b e l , l i e s t h e f e e l i n g o f a b s o l u t e l o y a l t y t o h i s l i e g e l o r d . T h i s q u a l i t y i n h i m c o u l d be a d m i r a b l e w e r e i t n o t t h a t i t i s so a l l - a b s o r b i n g t h a t any amount o f t r e a c h e r y a n d c r i m e c a n be c o m m i t t e d when i t i s t o t h e a d v a n t a g e o f t h e K i n g . A l t h o u g h H a g e n h a s become S i e g f r i e d ' s B l u t s v e r w a n d t e r . he c o l d b l o o d e d l y b e t r a y s h i m . T h i s e x a g g e r -I . H e b b e l , W erke, I V , 12. 23 a t e d l o y a l t y t o one man,to t h e e x c l u s i o n o f human f e e l i n g s f o r a l l o t h e r s , w h i c h H e b b e l makes so v i v i d , m a r k s H a g e n d e f i n i t e l y a s a member o f a n age t h a t h a s o u t l i v e d i t ' s d a y , a n d w h i c h t h e r e f o r e m u s t be d e s t r o y e d . The N i b e l u n g e n l i e d c h a r a c t e r i z e d H a g e n a l m o s t e n t i r e l y b y t h e one c o n v e n t i o n a l a d j e c t i v e " g r i m m e " , w h i c h c o n v e y e d i n t h e one w o r d a l l H a gen's p r o u d , r e l e n t l e s s " , u n b r i d l e d n a t u r e , h i s p a s s i o n a t e h a t e s a n d j e a l o u s i e s . H e b b e l ' s m e t h o d o f c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i s more s u b t l e . We g e t a g l i m p s e o f h i s n a t u r e t h r o u g h t h e w o r d s o f P r a u U t e as H a g e n g o e s t o t h r o w t h e s t o n e , a f t e r S i e g f r i e d h a s s u c c e s s f u l l y o u t d i s t a n c e d G u n t h e r , G i s e l h e r a n d G e m o t , a l w a y s b y one f o o t ; "Dem s c h w a r t t s i m H e r z e n , So f r o l i e h e r a u c h t h u t J " 1 A n d a f t e r S i e g f r i e d h a s o u t d i s t a n c e d h i m , she s a y s o f S i e g -f r i e d ; " D a f u r W i s c h t e r s i c h a u c h e i n m a l d i e S t i r n , G o t t L o b ! S o n s t k l m ' d e r T r o n j e r urn v o r W u t h l " H e b b e l i n t e n s i f i e s H a g e n ' s p e r s o n a l i t y b y g i v i n g h i m more s t r e n g t h o f c h a r a c t e r . I t i s H a g e n who a l w a y s t a k e s t h e i n i t i a t i v e , i t i s he who p l a n s a n d f o r c e s S i e g f r i e d t o c a r r y o u t t h e s e c o n d c o n q u e s t o f B r u n h i l d ; i t i s he who o b t a i n s t h e s e c r e t o f S i e g f r i e d ' s i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y f r o m K r i e m h i l d , l y i n g i n t h e m o s t c o l d - b l o o d e d , c a s u a l m anner; i t i s he who v o l u n t a r -i l y t a k e s t h e e n t i r e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h , as he t e l l s G u n t h e r a f t e r i t i s a l l o v e r : 1. H e b b e l , W e r k e , I V , 2 8 . 2. I b i d . 2 9 . 24 <' "Du m e i n K o n i g , H a s t n i c h t s b e f o h l e n , d e s s e r i n n ' r e D i c h , I c h h a f t e g a n z a l l e i n . " 1 T h i s i n n o v a t i o n o f H e b b e l ' s makes Hag e n a l l t h e more o u t s t a n d -i n g . I n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d he i s a p o w e r f u l v a s s a l , who s t a n d s i n h i g h f a v o u r w i t h G u n t h e r , i n H e b b e l he i s a d v i s o r - i n - c h i e f t o t h e K i n g , he i s t h e s o u r c e o f a l l i n f o r m a t i o n , t h e one who r e a d s a n d u n d e r s t a n d s a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e drama. When t h e c l a s h comes b e t w e e n B r u n h i l d a n d S i e g f r i e d , i t i s H a g e n a l o n e who c a n u n d e r s t a n d h e r a t t i t u d e ; " S i e l i e g t i n s e i n e m B a n n , u n d d i e s e r H a s s H a t s e i n e n G r u n d i n L i e b e i D o c h i s t ' s n i c h t L i e b e , w i e s i e Mann u n d Welb Z u s a m m e n k n u p f t . E i n Z a u b e r i s t ' s , D u r c h d e n s i c h i h r G e s c h l e c h t e r h a l t e n w i l l , U nd d e r d i e l e t z t e R i e s i n ohne L u s t , Wie ohne W a h l , zum l e t z t e n R i e s & n t r e i b t . " ^ H a g e n c a n s e e t h a t t h e h a n d o f f a t e o f t h e o l d g o d s h a s mark-e d t h o s e t w o s u p e r - b e i n g s f o r e a c h o t h e r , t h a t i t was f o r e -o r d a i n e d t h a t t h e y s h o u l d be u n i t e d b y u n b r e a k a b l e b o n d s , a n d t h a t o n l y d e a t h c a n s o l v e t h e p r o b l e m t h a t h a s now a r i s e n b e c a u s e t h e y a r e s o c l o s e l y b o u n d t o g e t h e r . I t i s H a g e n who r e a d s t h e p l a n s i n K r i e m h i l d 1 s m i n d . He knows a l l t o o w e l l what she i n t e n d s t o d o , w h i l e G u n t h e r t r u s t s b l i n d l y i n h e r l o y a l t y t o h e r k i n d r e d . He w a r n s G u n t h e r b u t i n v a i n : "Und wean s i e u n s so h a s s t , so muss s i e b r e n n e n , E s d a r z u t h u n , d e n n s e l b s t d i e L i e b e 1 s t  I . H e b b e l , w e r k e , I V > 1 5 5 . a I b i d , 1 3 4 - 1 3 5 . 25 So g i e r i g n i c h t n a c h K u s s u n d n a c h Umarmung, Wie g r i m m ' g e r H a s s n a c h M o r d u n d B l u t u n d T o d , Und wenn d e r L i e b e l a n g e s F a s t e n s c h a d e t , So w i r d d e r H a s s n u r immer h u n g r i g e r . I t i s H a g e n ' s p i e r c i n g e y e t h a t r e a d s t h e c h a r a c t e r o f E t z e l a t a g l a n c e . " i c h d a c h t e a n d e n L e u e n , D e r E i s e n k e t t e n , w i e man s a g t , z e r r e i s t U n d W e i b e r a a a r e s c h o n t e . • Nimmer w i r d ' s m i t E t z e l ' s W i l l e n G e s c h e h e n , d a s s man u n s d i e T r e u e b r i c h t , D enn e r 1 s t s t o l z a u f s e i n e R e d l i c h k e i t , E r f r e u t s i c h , d a s s e r e n d l i c h s c h w o r e n k a n n , Und f u t t e r t s e i n G e w i s s e n urn so b e s s e r , A l s e r ' s s o v i e l e J a h r e h u n g e r n l i e s s . " ^ T h e s e a d d i t i o n s a n d d e e p e r m o t i v a t i o n s i n Hagen's c h a r a c t e r a r e p e r f e c t l y j u s t i f i e d b y H e b b e l ' s d r a m a t i c t h e o r i e s . I f he w i s h e d t o p i c t u r e t h e c o n f l i c t b e t w e e n t h e e r a s , t h e n Hagen's c h a r a c t e r h a d t o b e so t r e a t e d , t h a t he p e r s o n i f i e d t h e t y p e o f one s i d e o f t h e c o n f l i c t . H e b b e l ' s c h a n g e s a r e f e w , b u t n e c e s s a r y a n d e f f e c t i v e , a n d i n p e r f e c t h a r m o n y w i t h t h e g e n e r a l i m p r e s s i o n o f Hagen's c h a r a c t e r t h a t i s o b t a i n e d f r o m r e a d i n g t h e N i b e l u n g e n l l e d . The o t h e r i m p o r t a n t c h a r a c t e r , who w i t h H a g e n r e p r e s e n t s t h e o l d w o r l d o f p a g a n i s m i s B r u n h i l d , d e p i c t e d b y H e b b e l as l e a d i n g a s t r a n g e , u n e a r t h l y s o r t o f e x i s t e n c e i n h e r l o n e l y n o r t h e r n c a s t l e . The o l d e p i c l a y s no p a r t i c u l a r s t r e s s o n 1. H e b b e l , werke, I V , 1 8 4 . 2. I b i d , 2 6 3 . 26 t h e s u p e r h u m a n o r i g i n o f B r u n h i l d o t h e r t h a n h e r u n u s u a l s t r e n g t h a n d p r o w e s s - w h i l e s t i l l a v i r g i n . H e b b e l d o e s n o t e x a c t l y f o l l o w t h e E d d a v e r s i o n , w h i c h r e p r e s e n t s h e r a s a f a l l e n V a l k y r i e , erondemned t o mate w i t h a m o r t a l as a p u n i s h -ment f o r h e r d i s o b e d i e n c e t o Wotan, o n t h e c o n t r a r y he r a t h e r e n s h r o u d s h e r o r i g i n i n m y s t e r y , s h o w i n g h e r a s o n l y h a l f -c o n s c i o u s o f a g r e a t a n d s t r a n g e r o y a l d e s t i n y , p l a n n e d f o r h e r b y t h e P a t e s . She knows o f a f u t u r e s t r u g g l e b u t means t o f i g h t f o r t h e p o w e r w h i c h she c a n o n l y e n j o y t h r o u g h f r e e -dom. H e r t r a g e d y i s t h a t she must s u r r e n d e r t h a t f r e e d o m , n o t t o t h e d e s t i n e d h e r o b u t t o t h e weak s u b s t i t u t e who w i n s h e r b y a t r i c k . H e b b e l , t o make t h i s l o s s more b i t t e r , shows B r u n h i l d i n a t r a n c e - l i k e v i s i o n j u s t b e f o r e s h e i s t o f i g h t w i t h G u n t h e r , t h e i n f i n i t e b e a u t y a n d p o w e r o f t h e k i n g d o m t h a t w i l l be h e r s , c a n she b u t o v e r c o m e any m o r t a l man who c l a i m s h e r as h i s b r i d e . The p a g a n e l e m e n t i n B r u n h i l d H e b b e l r e i n f o r c e s b y t h e i n v e n t i o n o f P r i g g a , h e r m a i d , a n - o u t - a n d -o u t h e a t h e n , who h a s r e c e i v e d t h e c h i l d f r o m W o t a n h i m s e l f , h e n c e u n d e r s t a n d s more c l e a r l y t h a n B r u n h i l d t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f h e r d e s t i n y . P r i g g a a l o n e knows t h e m e a n i n g o f t h i s t r a n c e a n d s i n c e B r u n h i l d ' s a d v e r s a r y i s n o t S i e g f r i e d , t h e B a l m u n g -s c h w i n g e r , she f o r e s e e s v i c t o r y as a n a t u r a l o u t c o m e . F o r t h i s r e a s o n t h e y a r e a l l t h e more s u r p r i s e d a t G u n t h e r ' s a p p a r e n t c o n q u e s t o f B r u n h i l d . A c c o r d i n g t o F r i g g a t h e B a l m u n g s c h w i n g e r was t h e o n l y one t o f e a r , b u t o n c e B r u n h i l d i s conquere.d, F r i g g a s e e s t h a t t h e c a u s e o f t h e o l d g o d s i s l o s t a n d h o p e s o n l y t h a t B r u n h i l d may l i v e h a p p i l y as a n o r d i n a r y woman. The Queen's p r o u d n a t u r e , h o w e v e r , n a t u r a l l y 27 r e b e l s a t t h e c o n q u e s t , she r e f u s e s t o h a v e a n y t h i n g more t o do w i t h G u n t h e r , and H a g e n r e l a t e s t h a t d u r i n g t h e v o y a g e she p i c k e d h i m u p b y t h e n a p e o f t h e n e c k a n d h e l d h i m o v e r t h e w a t e r . H e b b e l c l e v e r l y m o t i v a t e s h e r f e e l i n g s t o w a r d s G u n t h e r , f i r s t b y h e r n a t u r a l i n d e p e n d e n c e , s e c o n d l y b y h e r l o n e l i n e s s f o r h e r own c o u n t r y . She q u e s t i o n s K r i e m h i l d on h e r a r r i v a l a b o u t t h e s k y , i t i s s o l i g h t a n d t h e l a t t e r t e l l s h e r t h a t s o m e t i m e s t h e r e a r e s t o r m s , when d a y i s t u r n e d I n t o n i g h t . : !Kame da s N u r h e u t e n o c h i M i r w a r ' s w i e H e l m a t h s g r u s s . " I , r e p l i e s B r u n h i l d . The t h i r d m o t i v a t i o n i s h e r a n n o y a n c e a t G u n t h e r ' s e v a s i v e a n s w e r s t o h e r q u e s t i o n s a b o u t S i e g f r i e d ' s r i g h t t o m a r r y K r i e m h i l d . H e b b e l h a s h e r e c h a n g e d t h i n g s somewhat f r o m t h e o l d e p i c . T h e r e , no h u m i l i a t i n g s c e n e t a k e s p l a c e o n s h i p b o a r d , b u t o n t h e w e d d i n g n i g h t ; t h r o u g h d e s i r e t o p r e s e r v e h e r v i r g i n i t y a n d b e c a u s e o f t h e s t o r y o f S i e g f r i e d a n d K r i e m h i l d , B r u n h i l d t i e s G u n t h e r up o n t h e w a l l . The r e f e r e n c e t o h e r l o n e l i n e s s , t h e s c e n e w i t h t h e v i o l e t s , h e r p l e a t o t h e B u r g u n d i a n s t o t r e a t h e r as a n u n d e v e l o p e d c h i l d a n d t o h a v e p a t i e n c e w i t h h e r : " i c h b i t t e E u c h a l l e , nehmt m i c h f u r e i n K i n d , I c h werde s c h n e l l e r w a c h s e n w i e e i n a n d ' r e s , D o c h b i n i c h j e t z t n i c h t mehr." , a l l t h e s e v e r y human t r a i t s a r e a d d i t i o n s made b y H e b b e l . These s c e n e s show u s B r u n h i l d as she w o u l d r e a l l y t r y t o b e . She q u e s t i o n s P r i g g a as t o t h e m e a n i n g o f h e r t r a n c e , b e f o r e she f o u g h t w i t h G u n t h e r a n d t h e n u r s e l i e s f o r t h e s a k e o f  1. H e b b e l , W erke, I V , 7 1 . 2. I b i d , 7 4. 28 B r u n h i l d ' s own h a p p i n e s s , a n d t e l l s h e r she h a d s e e n t h i s v e r y l a n d a n d was h a p p y . "Wenn i c h e n t z u c k t Gewesen b i n , a l s i c h d i e s L a n d e r b l i c k t , So muss i c h ' s w i e d e r w e r d e n , " ^ B r u n h i l d s a y s f r o m t h e f u l n e s s o f h e r h e a r t . G u n t h e r ' s s u s p i c i o u s a c t , h o w e v e r , i n g i v i n g h i s r o y a l s i s t e r t o a v a s -s a l , a r o u s e s h e r i r e , w i t h t h e same r e s u l t as i n t h e o l d e p i c . B u t S i e g f r i e d ' s i n t e r v e n t i o n s i n t h e m a r i t a l a f f a i r s o f Gun-t h e r a n d h i s b r i d e , s a v e t h e s i t u a t i o n , a n d B r u n h i l d , com-p l e t e l y s u b d u e d now w i t h t h e l o s s o f h e r v i r g i n i t y , r e v e r e s a n d h o n o u r s G u n t h e r a b o v e a l l o t h e r men. T h i s i s , o f c o u r s e , o n l y n a t u r a l . N o t o n l y i s she i n t h e o r d i n a r y way z e a l o u s f o r h e r h u s b a n d ^ s h o n o u r , b u t now t h a t s h e , who h a d deemed h e r s e l f i n v i n c i b l e , h a s b e e n c o n q u e r e d , she c a n f i n d s a t -i s f a c t i o n o n l y i n G u n t h e r ' s p r o w e s s , - he must w i n g l o r y f o r t h e m b o t h . H e b b e l e m p h a s i z e s t h i s f a i t h a n d p r i d e i n G u n t h e r o n t h e m o r n i n g a f t e r t h e w e d d i n g n i g h t . D i s c u s s i n g h e r d i s -l i k e o f K r i e m h i l d ' s u n i o n w i t h S i e g f r i e d , she s a y s , " I c h k a n n ' s n i c h t s e h ' n , D a s s D e i n e e d l e S c h w e s t e r s i c h e r n i e d r i g t . G u n t h e r . S i e t h u t , w i e Du. B r u n h i l d . N e i n , n e i n , Du b i s t e i n M a n n ! " 2 He a l s o s t r e s s e s t h e m a r k e d c h a n g e i n B r u n h i l d a f t e r t h e s e c o n d c o n q u e s t . G u n t h e r c a l l s h e r h i s n o b l e w i f e a n d she 1. H e b b e l , W e r k e , I V , 7 4 . 2. I b i d , 9 6 . 29 a n s w e r s , " i c h h 8 r ' m i c h g e r n so n e n n e n , u n d e s koraint M i r j e t z t so s e l t s a m v o r , d a s s i c h d a s R o s s G e t u m m e l t u n d d e n S p e e r g e w o r f e n h a b e , A l s s a h ' i c h D i c h d e n B r a t e n w e n d e r d r e h ' n l I c h mag d i e W a f f e n n i c h t mehr s e h ' n , a u c h 1 s t M e i n e i g n e r S c h i l d m i r j e t z t z u s c h w e r , i c h w o l l t e I h n a u f d i e S e i t e s t e l l e n , u n d i c h rnusste D i e Magd urn B e i s t a n d r u f e n ! J a , i c h mogte J e t z t l i e b e r l a u s c h e n , w i e d i e S p i n n e n v/eben, Und w i e d i e V o g e l i h r e N e s t e r b a u ' n , A l s d i c h b e g l e i t e n i " 1 W i t h c o m p l e t e s u b m i s s i o n t o G u n t h e r , t h e Amazon h a s become a t e n d e r , l o v i n g w i f e , a n d as a c o n s e q u e n c e , a h e l p l e s s o n e . T h i s t e r r i b l e a s p e c t o f h e r new l i f e m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f t o h e r , when f i r s t s h e c a l l s f o r r e v e n g e . "Und r a c h e n w e r d ' i c h m i c h ! V e r s c h m E h l t ! W e i b , W e i b , wenn Du i n s e i n e n Armen A u c h e i n e N a c h t g e l a c h t h a s t u b e r m i c h , So s o l l s t Du v i e l e J a h r e d a f u r w e i n e n , I c h w i l l - - Was r e d 1 i c h ! I c h b i n s c h w a c h w i e s i e . ( s t u r z t F r i g g a a n d i e B r u s t I t i s Hagen who o p e n s t h e way f o r h e r r e v e n g e , Hagen, who s e i z e s t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o g e t r i d o f S i e g f r i e d , u n d e r t h e mask o f l o y a l t y t o h i s s o v e r e i g n a n d h i s Queen. T h i s c h a n c e f o r r e v e n g e w o r k s B r u n h i l d u p i n t o a mad f r e n z y , o n w h i c h n o t e t h e t h i r d a c t c l o s e s .  1. H e b b e l , Werke, I V , 96. 2. I b i d . 1 0 9 . 3 0 B r u n h i l d . " P r i g g a , m e i n L e h e n Oder a u c h d a s s e i n e J P r i g g a Das s e i n e , K i n d ] B r u n h i l d I c h w a r d n i c h t " b l o s s v e r s c h m & h l t , I c h w a r d v e r s c h e n k t , i c h w a r d w o h l g a r v e r h a n d e l t J P r i g g a V e r h a n d e l t , K i n d J B r u n h i l d Ihm s e l b s t zura W e i b z u s c h l e c h t , War i c h d e r P f e n n i n g , d e r Ihm e i n s v e r s c h a f f t e j P r i g g a D e r P f e n n i n g , K i n d . B r u n h i l d Das i s t n o c h m e h r , a l s M o r d , Und d a f f t r w i l l i c h R a c h e l R a c h e l R a c h e l 1 1 1 T h i s l a s t s c e n e i s e n t i r e l y H e b b e l ' s i n v e n t i o n and i s d r a m a t i c a l l y a m a r v e l o u s i m p r o v e m e n t u p o n t h e o l d e p i c . I n f a c t t h e w h o l e t r e a t m e n t o f t h e q u a r r e l s c e n e i s e x c e l l e n t , ft© shows u s t h e d e p t h s o f B r u n h i l d ' s s o u l a n d t h e t e r r i b l e s e n s e o f d e g r a d a t i o n s h e e x p e r i e n c e s . B r u n h i l d , i s , l i k e S i e g -f r i e d , s e t a p a r t f r o m t h e common l o t , a n d so a c c o r d i n g t o H e b b e l ' s t h e o r y she i s a t r a g i c f i g u r e , a l t h o u g h , u n l i k e S i e g f r i e d s h e h a s n o t r i s e n a b o v e t h e m u l t i t u d e b y h e r own a c t i o n s , b u t h a s b e e n p l a c e d t h e r e b y t h e o l d g o d s . A c c o r d -i n g t o H e b b e l ' s t h e o r y , h o w e v e r , t h e c a u s e s o f s u p e r i o r i t y I . H e b b e l , W erke, I V , 1 1 3 . 31 a r e i m m a t e r i a l , i t i s t h e f a c t i t s e l f t h a t f o r e s h a d o w s d i s -a s t e r . Had B r u n h i l d b e e n a n o r d i n a r y m o r t a l , she m i g h t have s e e n l e s s t r a g e d y i n t h e d e c e p t i o n , b u t t h a t s h e , who s t o o d s o h i g h , who m i g h t ftave h a d s u c h a w o n d e r f u l d e s t i n y , was t r i c k e d i n s u c h a d e s p i c a b l e m a n n e r was a b s o l u t e l y u n f o r g i v -a b l e . K r i e m h i l d q u e s t i o n s h e r f r o m h e r own o r d i n a r y f e m i n i n e p o i n t o f v i e w ; "Du l i e b s t j a m e i n e n B r u d e r , K a n n s t Du d a s M i t t e l s c h e l t e n , d a s D i c h i h m Z u e i g e n machte?"- 1-t o w h i c h B r u n h i l d g i v e s a n s w e r w i t h a p a r a l y z e d 11 O l " drama-t i c a l l y e x p r e s s i n g h e r r e a c t i o n t o K r l e m h i l d ' s p o i n t o f v i e w , w h i c h i s u t t e r l y i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e t o h e r . A c c o r d i n g t o H e b b e l ' s i d e a s , w i t h S i e g f r i e d ' s d e s t r u c t -i o n , B r u n h i l d d e s t r o y s h e r own s o u l . As H a g e n c l e a r l y s e e s , " D i e s e r H a s s h a t i h r e n G r u n d i n L i e b e . " B r u n h i l d h e r s e l f r e a l i z e s t h i s a n d r e f u s e s t o h a v e a n y i n t e r c o u r s e w i t h G u n t h e r , s p e n d i n g h e r t i m e c o w e r i n g n e a r S i e g f r i e d ' s tomb, a l i v i n g b o d y w i t h a d e a d s o u l . T h i s l a t e r c o n c e p t i o n o f B r u n h i l d i s e n t i r e l y H e b b e l ' s . I n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d s h e d r o p s e n t i r e l y o u t o f t h e p i c t u r e , b u t H e b b e l k e e p s h e r b e f o r e u s t o t h e end,, a l t h o u g h s h e d o e s n o t a p p e a r p e r s o n a l l y , t o e m p h a s i z e f u r t h e r t h e f a l l o f h e a t h e n i s m . The r e p o r t o f t h e m e s s e n g e r s , W e r b e l a n d Swemmel, o f B r u n h i l d ' s p r e s e n c e i n S i e g f r i e d ' s tomb a l s o s e r v e s t o h e i g h t e n , t h r o u g h j e a l o u s y , t h e r e v e n g e f u l d e s i r e s o f K r i e m h i l d . M o r e o v e r , a s H e b b e l r e a l i z e d , t h e l a c k o f any m e n t i o n o f B r u n h i l d i n t h e s e c o n d p a r t o f t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d I . H e b b e l , W erke, I V , I I I . 32 was a l a p s e o n t h e p a r t o f t h e m e d i a e v a l a u t h o r w h i c h n e e d e d t o b e r e c t i f i e d . I t r e q u i r e d no l e s s s u b t l e m o t i v a t i o n o n H e b b e l ' s p a r t t o e n a b l e m o d e r n a u d i e n c e s t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e p s y c h o l o g y o f K r i e m h i l d . H i s f i r s t move i n t h a t d i r e c t i o n was t o l e s s e n t h e e x t r e m i t y o f t h e c h a n g e i n h e r c h a r a c t e r . H i s K r i e m h i l d i s f i r s t p o r t r a y e d a s a y o u n g woman o f a c e r t a i n amount o f d e c i s i o n a n d c h a r a c t e r , r a t h e r t h a n t h e s w e e t , m o d e s t , s h y m a i d e n o f t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d . H e b b e l shows h e r as b e i n g q u i c k o f t e m p e r . She d o e s n o t h i d e h e r a n g e r when she s e e s a s t r a n g e k n i g h t i n t h e c o u r t whose a r r i v a l h a d n o t b e e n a n n o u n c e d t o h e r . " S e i t warm i s t ' s B r a u c h A n u n s e r ' m H o f , d a s s w i r ' s n i c h t mehr e r f a h r e n , Wenn f r e m d e G a s t e e i n g e z o g e n s i n d ? W i r d d i e s e s t o l z e B u r g z u Worms am R h e i n D e r S c h a f e r h u t t e g l e i c h , i n d e r s i c h J e d e r B e i N a c h t u n d T a g v e r k r i e c h e n k a n n , d e r w i l l ? " - 1 -"Warum so h i t z i g ? " a s k s U t e . A s i n t h e m e d i a e v a l e p i c H e b b e l g i v e s K r i e m h i l d a d i s t a s t e f o r men a n d m a r r i a g e , b u t t h e new K r i e m h i l d i s much more d e c i d e d i n h e r s e n t i m e n t s . " I c h h B r t e s t e t s , d a s s L i e b e k u r z e L u s t Und l a n g e L e i d z u b r i n g e n p f l e g t , i c h s e h ' s J a a u c h a n D i r u n d w e r d e nimmer l i e b e n , 0 n immer, n i m m e r i " H e b b e l c l e v e r l y shows t h e i n s t a n t e f f e c t t h e s i g h t o f S i e g -f r i e d h a s u p o n t h i s p r o u d b e a u t y . As she i s a b o u t t o s w e a r a n o a t h r e g a r d i n g t h e s t a t e o f h e r h e a r t , she b r e a k s o f f 1. H e b b e l , Werke, I V , 2 3 . 2. I b i d , 2 1 - 2 2 . 33 when she s e e s h i m , h u t o n b e i n g c a l l e d t o t a s k b y U t e , h e r r e a c t i o n i s v e r y n a t u r a l a n d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c : "Was kummern m i c h d i e G-Este m e i n e s B r u d e r s , Wenn i c h n u r w e i s s w i e i c h s i e m e i d e n k a n n . 1 , 1 I t i s t h r o u g h s u c h l i t t l e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y human d e t a i l s t h a t H e b b e l makes K r i e m h i l d more v i v i d , s h o w i n g h e r as a p r o u d , h a u g h t y p r i n c e s s , q u i c k t o a n g e r a n d s c o r n i n g l o v e . B u t w i t h e q u a l s k i l l H e b b e l shows t h e s o f t e n i n g i n f l u e n c e o f l o v e . She becomes c a l m e r , more g e n t l e , a l i t t l e s a d . When TJte c o u n c i l s h e r n o t t o r e j e c t S i e g f r i e d ' s w o o i n g , she a n -s w e r s : " E r w l r b t w o h l n i c h t , so b r a u c h i c h ' s n i c h t z u tun."- 1-W h i l e S i e g f r i e d i s away a t I s e n l a n d she becomes q u i t e g e n t l e a n d s h y , a n d i s v e r y w o r r i e d when G i s e l h e r , t e a s i n g h e r , t h r e a t e n s t o d i s c l o s e some s e c r e t t o S i e g f r i e d . !j H e b b e l ' s e x c e l l e n t c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f K r i e m h i l d i n her q u a r r e l w i t h B r u n h i l d , i s a n e x a m p l e of h i s i n s i g h t i n t o f e m i n i n e n a t u r e . He shows K r i e m h i l d , t r y i n g t o be f r i e n d l y , b u t she c a n n o t g e t away f r o m t h e k n o w l e d g e o f B r u n h i l d ' s b e t r a y a l , a n d i s i n c l i n e d t o a c t p a t r o n i z i n g l y t o w a r d s h e r . The old e p i c f a i l s t o e x p l a i n how K r i e m h i l d knows t h e s e c r e t o f B r u n h i l d ' s s u b j u g a t i o n , b u t H e b b e l e x p l a i n s v e r y v i v i d l y how S i e g f r i e d i s f o r c e d t o t e l l t h e s e c r e t of t h e r a v i s h e d g i r d l e . B r u n h i l d b e l i e v e s h e r h u s b a n d t o be t h e g r e a t e s t k n i g h t i n t h e w o r l d b u t K r i e m h i l d knows i t i s S i e g f r i e d a l o n e who c a n c l a i m t h a t d i s t i n c t i o n . B y r e a s o n o f t h e i r own p r o u d h a u g h t y n a t u r e s t h e y a r e b r o u g h t t o a q u a r r e l . K r i e m h i l d I . H e b b e l , W e r k e , I V , 2 5 . 34 r e m a i n s s l i g h t l y p i t y i n g a n d c a l m l y s u p e r i o r u n t i l B r u n h i l d s e e s f i t t o s c o r n h e r b o a s t i n g a b o u t S i e g f r i e d ' s a b i l i t i e s . ' B r u n h i l d " Du p r a h l s t , K r i e m h i l d , u n d i c h v e r a c h t e D i c h ! " 1 K r i e m h i l d t h e n l o s e s a l l r e s t r a i n t a n d i n h e r f u r y a t s u c h t r e a t m e n t f r o m t h e a r r o g a n t B r u n h i l d , r e v e a l s t h e f a t a l s e c r e t -n D a s K e b s w e i b m e i n e s G a t t e n m i c h v e r a c h t e n * " ^ T h e n , h a v i n g gone so f a r , she c a n n o t c o n t a i n h e r f u r y and shows t h e g i r d l e , w h i c h r e v e a l s t h e a w f u l t r u t h t o t h e d e c e i v -e d q u e e n . K r i e m h i l d i s , o f c o u r s e , i m m e d i a t e l y s o r r y f o r B r u n h i l d ' s s a k e , b u t she f e e l s t h a t she was p e r f e c t l y j u s t i f i e d . She t r i e s t o p l a c a t e B r u n h i l d b u t i n h e r p r o f f e r e d s y m p a t h y she o n l y makes t h e o t h e r ' s shame t h e d e e p e r . K r i e m h i l d , n e v e r h a v i n g f e l t t h e s u p e r i o r i t y w h i c h B r u n h i l d f o r m e r l y p o s s e s s e d , j d o e s n o t f o r a moment r e a l i z e e x a c t l y what s u c h a r e v e l a t i o n w o u l d mean t o h e r , a n d t h e r e f o r e she h a s no f o r e b o d i n g o f t h e \ a w f u l c a l a m i t y w h i c h w i l l r e s u l t f r o m i t . The k n o w l e d g e t h a t s u c h a t h i n g c o u l d n e v e r h a v e h a p p e n e d t o h e r anyway, b e c a u s e S i e g f r i e d c o u l d h a v e c o n q u e r e d a n y o n e , makes i t i m p o s s i b l e f o r h e r t o i m a g i n e a n d ' t o c o m p r e h e n d B r u n h i l d ' s p o i n t o f v i e w . H o w e v e r , she r u e s h e r h a s t i n e s s , e v e n a l t h o u g h she d o e s n o t q u i t e r e a l i z e t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s . ,; " i c h w e i s s , w i e s c h w e r I c h s i e g e k r a n k t , u n d werde M i r ' s n i e v e r g e b e n , j a , i c h mogte e h e r , D a s s i c h ' s e r l i t t e n h a t t e , a l s g e t h a n . " ' ^ A l t h o u g h K r i e m h i l d i s c l e v e r e r t h a n h e r n a i v e h u s b a n d s t i l l she i s no m a t c h f o r t h e s c h e m i n g c l e v e r m i n d o f fiagen 1. H e b b e l , W e r k e , I V , 106. 2. I b i d . 106. 3. I b i d . 124. 35 and q u i t e s i m p l y she b e l i e v e s I n him and c o n f e s s e s the s e c r e t o f S i e g f r i e d ' s i n v u l n e r a b l e p o i n t , j u s t as she does li the N I b e l u n g e n l i e d . Hebbel shows t h a t h e r l o v e f o r S i e g f r i e d a nd h e r worry about h i s s a f e t y make h e r b l i n d t o the f a r worse dangers by w h i c h he i s s u r r o u n d e d . So S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h I s u l t i m a t e l y caused by the f a c t t h a t K r i e m h i l d has no comprehension o f t h e n a t u r e o f B r u n h i l d , and a l t h o u g h Hebbel has K r i e m h i l d r e c o g n i z e h e r i n d i s c r e t i o n a t once and r e g r e t i t b i t t e r l y , she can see I n h i s d e a t h o n l y a t r e a c h e r o u s murder w i t h o u t any r e a s o n . That, and the know-l e d g e t h a t by c u n n i n g Hagen had o b t a i n e d from, h e r the means o f m u r d e r i n g h e r husband, Hebbel uses t o account f o r the change I n K r l e m h i l d ' s c h a r a c t e r , w h i c h , as has a l r e a d y been s t a t e d , i s not so extreme a change as i n the N I b e l u n g e n l i e d . One t h i n g a f t e r a n o t h e r i n c r e a s e s h e r r a g e . The b a r -b a r o u s , r e v e n g e f u l way i n which Hagen has the dead body l a i d a t h e r d o o r , and w h i c h c a l l s f o r t h an a n g u i s h e d c r y from her-p r o u d h e a r t : "Du h o r t e s t j a , Di e Kamra'rer s t o l p e r n u b e r i h n . Die Kamm ' rer l Sonst w i c l i e n a l l e Kon'ge aus,"^ , c o u l d not f a i l t o arouse h e r t h i r s t f o r vengeance. Added t o t h i s , Hagen's t h e f t o f S i e g f r i e d ' s sword and Gunther's r e f u s a l t o g r a n t K r i e m h i l d r e t r i b u t i o n , combine t o d r i v e the b r o k e n -h e a r t e d Queen a l m o s t mad w i t h rage and g r i e f . P " H a l t e i n J Du w i r s t D e i n ganzes Haus v e r d e r b e n " c r i e s Ute i n an a t t e m p t t o b r i n g h e r t o h e r s e n s e s . "Es mag  1. H e b b e l , Werke, IV, 159. 2. I b i d . 172. g e s c h e h ' n l Denn h i e r i s t ' s u b e r z a h l t i " 1 she a n s w e r s , g i v -i n g a n i n t i m a t i o n o f w h a t she may be c a p a b l e o f d o i n g . The o p e n i n g o f t h e t h i r d p a r t i n t r o d u c e s t o u s a K r i e m -h i l d who h a s g r o w n more b i t t e r a n d more r e v e n g e f u l t o w a r d s H a g e n , who h a s , h o w e v e r c o n s e n t e d t o a n o u t w a r d r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h G u n t h e r . H e r g r i e f h a s n o t a b a t e d i n a l l t h e y e a r s , and s h e i s s t i l l i n m o u r n i n g . The p r e s e n t a t i o n o f J i t z e l ' s s u i t t o h e r b y h e r b r o t h e r o n l y s e r v e s t o show h e r a n a t t e m p t on h i s p a r t t o mock h e r , and i t i s o n l y when G i s e l h e r , t o e m p h a s i z e G u n t h e r ' s c o n c e r n f o r h e r h a p p i n e s s , m e n t i o n s t h a t H a g e n h a d a d v i s e d a g a i n s t t h e m a t c h , a n d t h a t G u n t h e r h a d r e f u s e d t o l i s t e n t o h i m , t h a t K r i e m h i l d b e g i n s t o h a v e a n y i n t e r e s t i n t h e p r o p o s a l . " E r f u r c h t e t s i c h , " she s a y s a b o u t H a g e n . G e r e -n o t t h e n e x p l a i n s what H a g e n f e a r s , - t h a t K r i e m h i l d w o u l d a t t a c k t h e B u r g u n d i a n s . " E r w e i s s was e r v e r d i e n t , " 2 she r e p l i e s a n d t h e i d e a b e g i n s t o f o r m u l a t e i n h e r b r a i n t h a t no s a c r i f i c e w o u l d be t o o g r e a t f o r h e r r i g h t f u l r e v e n g e on Hagen. B e f o r e she g o e s a n y f u r t h e r , h o w e v e r , she c a l l s o nce more f o r j u s t i c e f r o m t h e K i n g a g a i n s t H a g e n . On t h i s b e i n g r e f u s e d , she u p b r a i d s G u n t h e r , b u t t o no a v a i l , t h e n a n n o u n c e s : " D e r M a r k g r a f R u d e g e r i s t m i r w i l l k o m m e n , " 3 a n d we know t h a t she h a s made h e r d e c i s i o n . H e r h a n d h a s a p r i c e , h o w e v e r , as she t e l l s R u d e g e r . " H e r r E t z e l w i r d m i r k e i n e n D i e n s t v e r s a g e n ? " ^ she a s k s a n d b i n d s t h e k n i g h t b y a n o a t h f o r E t z e l and h i m s e l f . H e b b e l ' s s c e n e i s i n f i n i t e l y s u p e r i o r t o t h a t o f t h e 1. H e b b e l , W e r k e , I V , 1 7 2 . 2. I b i d , 196. 3. I b i d , 2 0 2 . 4. I b i d , 2 0 4 . 37 N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , i t i s much more s u b t l e , much more i n k e e p i n g w i t h K r i e m h i l d ' s c h a r a c t e r . I n t h e o l d e p i c K r i e m h i l d c a n n o t be p e r s u a d e d t o c o n s i d e r t h e p r o p o s a l u n t i l R u d e g e r o f f e r s o f h i s own a c c o r d t o r e q u i t e h e r w r o n g s a n d e v e n t h e n she h e s i -t a t e s b e c a u s e o f h i s p a g a n i s m , u n t i l R u d e g e r d e c l a r e s he h a s b e e n c o n v e r t e d . How much more p o w e r f u l i s H e b b e l ' s s c e n e ! He shows u s t h e p s y c h o l o g i c a l w o r k i n g s o f K r i e m h i l d ' s m i n d , h e r s u s p i c i o n s a r o u s e d b y Hagen's o b j e c t i o n s , h e r f i n a l a p p e a l t o h e r b r o t h e r , a n d when t h a t f a i l s , h e r c a l m s t a t e m e n t o f t h e p r i c e o f h e r h a n d t o R u d e g e r . The o l d R u d e g e r h a d t o s u g g e s t p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f v e n g e a n c e t o K r i e m h i l d , b u t H e b b e l makes K r i e m h i l d s e e t h e s e c l e a r l y h e r s e l f . H e b b e l ' s K r i e m h i l d i s a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e l a s t p a r t much as she i s a t t h e e n d , a n d e v e r y t h i n g she d o e s h a s a p u r p o s e , - t o t a k e h e r r e v e n g e u p o n Hagen. F o r t h a t r e a s o n she makes G u n t h e r p r o m i s e o n h i s r o y a l w o r d t o v i s i t h e r . T h e r e i s v e r y l i t t l e c i v i l i z a t i o n l e f t i n K r i e m h i l d ' s c h a r a c t e r now a n d w i t h p e r f e c t l y f o r m e d p l a n s i n h e r h e a d , she p r o c e e d s t o a r r a n g e f o r t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f h e r r a c e , i f n e c e s s a r y , f o r r e v e n g e . H a v i n g b o r n e E t z e l a s o n she c a n manage h i m v e r y e a s i l y , f o r i n r e t u r n f o r h i s h e i r , he h a s p r o m i s e d t o g r a n t h e r e v e r y w i s h . H e b b e l makes a v e r y i m p o r t a n t i n t e r p o l a t i o n i n t h e f o u r t h a c t , S c e n e I I I , o f " K r i e m h i l d ' s R a c h e " , w h i c h d o e s a g r e a t d e a l t o e x p l a i n K r i e m h i l d ' s c h a r a c t e r . A s i n t h e N i b e l -u n g e n l i e d she a p p e a r s b e f o r e H a g e n as he a n d V o l k e r a r e k e e p -i n g w a t c h . D u r i n g t h e i r i n t e r c o u r s e , G u n t h e r a p p e a r s , a n d t o h i m K r i e m h i l d makes h e r o l d p l e a . " i c h r u f e K l a g e u b e r Hagen T r o n j e 38 Und f o r d ' r e zum l e t z t e n M a i G e r i c h t . " - 1 -When t h i s r e q u e s t i s r e f u s e d , she t u r n s t o G I s e l h e r a n d G e r e -n o t , a n d a s k s them t o g i v e Hagen i n t o h e r h a n d s . T h e y , how-e v e r , r e m a i n l o y a l t o Hagen. K r i e m h i l d , f u r i o u s now, u p b r a i d s h e r b r o t h e r s f o r t h e i r d i s r e g a r d o f t h e i r h o n o u r , a n d demands t h a t t h e y c l e a r t h e m s e l v e s o f t h e s t i g m a w h i c h s t i l l r e s t s f r o m S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h . W h e r e u p o n H a g e n p o i n t s o u t t h a t i t i s n o t t h e i r f a u l t a l o n e , - she a l s o was g r e a t l y t o b l a m e f o r S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h a n d t e l l s h e r how i n h e r a n g e r she b e t r a y e d t h e s e c r e t she h a d w r u n g f r o m S i e g f r i e d , and t h u s p r o v i d e d H agen w i t h t h e s p u r t h a t h a d s e n t h e r h u s b a n d t o h i s d e a t h . She, t o o , s h o u l d a t o n e f o r h e r s h a r e i n t h e c r i m e . And K r i e m h i l d a n s w e r s : "Und b u s s i c h n i c h t ? Was k o n n t e D l r g e s c h e h ' n , Das a u c h n u r h a l b a n m e i n e Q u a l e n r e i c h t e ? S i e h d i e s e K r o n e a n u n d f r a g e D i c h ! S i e mahnt a n e i n V e r m a h l u n g s f e s t , w i e k e i n ' s A u f d i e s e r E r d e n o c h g e f e i e r t w a r d , A n S c h a u d e r k u s s e , z w i s c h e n Tod u n d L e b e n G e w e c h s e l t i n d e r f u r c h t e r l i c h s t e n N a c h t , Und a n e i n K i n d , d a s i c h n i c h t l i e b e n k a n n ! " 2 I n t h i s s p e e c h o f K r i e m h i l d ' s H e b b e l a l l o w s u s t o see d e e p i n t o h e r h e a r t , and we r e a l i z e now c l e a r l y how s a c r e d h e r v e n g e a n c e i s t o h e r . T h e s e p o i n t s c l e a r up a n d i m p r o v e h e r c h a r a c t e r . I n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , t h e r e i s no s u c h e x p l a n a t i o n as I s f o u n d h e r e - t h e r e i t i s t h e i n j u r e d w i f e who t a k e s h e r r e v e n g e as a m a t t e r o f c o u r s e . H e b b e l , h o w e v e r , shows t h a t t o K r i e m h i l d r e v e n g e i s a b s o l u t e l y n e c e s s a r y ; she r e g a r d s I t as t h e h l g h -1. H e b b e l , Werke, I V , 278. 2. I b i d , 2 8 1 - 8 2 . 39 e s t d u t y I n l i f e ; w i t h o u t t h e k n o w l e d g e t h a t she h a s p a i d t h e t r a i t o r s h a c k I n l i k e k i n d , s he c a n n o t h a v e r e s t o r p e a c e . N o t h i n g e l s e c o u l d h a v e j u s t i f i e d t h e supreme s e l f - s a c r i f i c e o f m a r r y i n g a s e c o n d t i m e . H e r l i f e w i t h E t z e l h a s b e e n one l o n g t o r t u r e , l i g h t e n e d o n l y b y t h o u g h t s o f t h e u l t i m a t e r e s u l t s f r o m h e r v o l u n t a r y s a c r i f i c e . To t h e C h r i s t i a n , a m i n d s u c h as h e r s I s i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e , b u t H e b b e l t r i e s t o d e p i c t h e r m o t i v e s i n t h e b e s t p o s s i b l e l i g h t . I n g e n e r a l , h e f o l l o w s t h e o l d e p i c f a i r l y c l o s e l y , - o n l y b y a f e w s u b t l e t o u c h e s m a k i n g more c l e a r K r l e m h i l d ' s a t t i t u d e . B y s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s he makes h e r l e s s t r e a c h e r o u s t h a n s he seems i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d . The t i m e e l a p s i n g b e f o r e t h e v i s i t i s much s h o r t e r a n d t h e v i s i t i t s e l f more a m a t t e r o f s o c i a l e t i q u e t t e . I t i s a l s o made c l e a r t h a t s h e w a n t s t h e t r e a s u r e o n l y a s a r e w a r d f o r h e r a v e n g e r s . She I s a n e x p o n e n t o f t h e o l d r e l i g i o n , a l t h o u g h o u t w a r d l y a C h r i s t i a n ; t h e s e p r i m i t i v e q u a l i t i e s o f h a t r e d , r e v e n g e f u l n e s s a n d r e l e n t l e s s n e s s m a r k h e r a s b e l o n g i n g t o t h e o l d o r d e r . I f she d o e s n o t f o r g i v e a s a C h r i s t i a n , a t l e a s t she r e m a i n s t r u e t o h e r own c o d e o f l o y a l t y . W i t h t h i s n o t e o f e t e r n a l l o y a l t y t o S i e g f r i e d u p p e r m o s t , she d e l i v e r s h e r u l t i m a t u m t o t h e B u r g u n d i a n s : "Doch m e i n e H o c h z e i t s f r e u d e n kommen j e t z t , Wie i c h g e l i t t e n h a b e , w i l l i c h s c h w e l g e n , I c h s c h e n k e N l c h t s , d i e K o s t e n s i n d b e z a h l t . Und m u s s t ' i c h h u n d e r t B r & d e r n i e d e r h a u e n , Urn m i r d e n Weg z u D e i n e m Haupfc z u b a h n e n , So w u r d ' i c h ' s t h u n , d a m i t d i e w e l t e r f a h r e , 40 Dass I c h d i e Tre'Ue n u r um T r e u e b r a c h . " 1 H e b b e l t h e n d e p i c t s K r i e m h i l d i n a s c e n e w i t h E t z e l , i n w h i c h she demands t h a t he make r e t r i b u t i o n f o r h e r w r o n g s . Once more she i s t h w a r t e d , f o r E t z e l r e f u s e s t o b r e a k t h e s a c r e d t i e s o f h o s p i t a l i t y , e v e n f o r K r i e m h i l d . She b e g i n s to l o s e f a i t h i n h e r p o w e r o v e r E t z e l , a n d d e c i d e s t h a t some d e e d must be c o m m i t t e d t o a r o u s e h i s w r a t h . H e b b e l u s e s t h i s a s a m o t i v a t i o n t o j u s t i f y K r i e m h i l d ' s s a c r i f i c e o f h e r s o n . I n t h e m o n o l o g u e f o l l o w i n g t h i s s c e n e she h e a p s s c o r n u p o n E t z e l ' s o f f e r t o f i g h t t h e B u r g u n d i a n s i n b a t t l e : " K r i e g J Was s o i l m i r d e r K r i e g l Den h a t t i c h l a n g s t E n t z u n d e n k o n n e n ! D o c h , d a s ware L o h n , A n s t a t t d e r S t r a f e . F u r d i e S c h l a c h t e r e i Im d u n k l e n W a l d d e r o f f ' n e H e l d e n k a m p f ? N e i n , E t z e l , M o r d um M o r d l D e r D r a c h e s i t z t Im L o c h , u n d wenn Du D i c h n i c h t r e g e n w l l l s t , A l s b i s e r D i c h g e s t o c h e n h a t , w i e m i c h , So s o i l e r ' s t h u n J - J a w o h l , so s o i l e r ' s t h u n . " 2 F r o m t h e moment o f S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h , H e b b e l i s c a r e f u l t o show how e a c h a c t i o n o n t h e p a r t o f h e r b r o t h e r s o r Hagen s e r v e s t o a d d t o K r i e m h i l d ' s f u r y ; how e v e r y t i m e h e r demands f o r r e t r i b u t i o n a r e r e f u s e d , she becomes more a n d more d e t e r m i n e d to s t r i k e t h r o u g h h e r b r o t h e r s t o Hagen. J e a l o u s y , t o o , H e b b e l shows a s a m a r k e d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . She c o n f e s s e s t h a t she was j e a l o u s o f e v e n t h e b l o w s B r u n h i l d h a d r e c e i v e d f r o m S i e g f r i e d , a n d t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t G u n t h e r ' s q u e e n h a d s h u t 1. H e b b e l , W e r k e , I V , 2 8 2 . 2. I b i d , 2 9 7 . 41 h e r s e l f u p n e a r S i e g f r i e d ' s tomb a d d s f u e l t o t h e f l a m e o f h e r a n g e r . As h a s b e e n s a i d , H e b b e l h a s n o t t r i e d t o c h a n g e t h e c h a r a c t e r o f K r i e m h i l d , b u t r a t h e r t o h e l p u s t o u n d e r s t a n d i t . H e r b l o o d t h i r s t y l u s t f o r v e n g e a n c e he e x p l a i n s m o s t c l e a r l y , p e r h a p s , t h r o u g h h e r own w o r d s t o D i e t r i c h t o w a r d s t h e e n d o f t h e t r a g e d y : "Was i c h b i n , d a s wurde i c h d u r c h d i e , D i e I h r d e r S t r a f e g e r n e n t z i e h e n m o g t e t , U n d wenn i c h B l u t v e r g i e s s e , b i s d i e E r d e E r t r i n k t , u n d e i n e n B e r g v o n L e i c h e n t h u r m e , B i s man s i e a u f dem Mond b e g r a b e n k a n n , So h a u f i c h I h r e S c h u l d , d i e m e i n e n i c h t . - - B i n i c h V e r r a t h e r i s c h u n d f a l s c h ? S i e l e h r t e n m i c h , W i e man d e n H e l d e n i n d i e P a l l e l o c k t . U n d b i n i c h f u r d e s M i t l e i d ' s Stimme t a u b ? S i e w a r e n ' s , a l s s o g a r d e r S t e i n z e r s c h m o l z . I c h b i n i n A l l e m n u r i h r W i e d e r s c h e i n , Und w e r d e h T e u f e l h a s s t , d e r s p u c k t d e n S p i e g e l N i c h t a n , d e n e r b e f l e c k t m i t s e i n e r L a r v e , E r s c h l f i g t i h n s e l b s t u n d j a g t i h n a u s d i e W e l t . " I n t h e c h a r a c t e r o f S i e g f r i e d , H e b b e l f o u n d a p e r f e c t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e f o r h i s t h e o r i e s o f t r a g i c g u i l t . I n h i s i n n o c e n c e a n d n a i v e t e S i e g f r i e d makes u s e o f u n s o u g h t o p p o r t -u n i t i e s w h i c h r a i s e h i m a b o v e t h e l e v e l o f t h e k n i g h t s o f c h i v -a l r y . He t h u s s e t s h i m s e l f b e y o n d t h e p a l e o f t h e i r l a w s , a n d i n s o d o i n g , a c c o r d i n g t o H e b b e l ' s t h e o r i e s , he t r a n s g r e s s e s t h e I . H e b b e l , «.erke, I V , 5 1 6 - 7 . 42 laws o f u n i v e r s a l i t y , a n d i s t h e r e f o r e doomed t o d e s t r u c t i o n . By h i s v o l u n t a r y a c t i o n s he p l a c e s h i m s e l f o u t o f n a t u r a l human c o n t a c t w i t h h i s f e l l o w m e n . A t r a g i c d e a t h i s t h e ob-v i o u s e n d o f s u c h a l i f e . I n S i e g f r i e d ' s c a s e i t h a s a l s o t o be d e a t h b y d i s h o n o u r a b l e means, b e c a u s e i t i s o n l y t h r o u g h c u n n i n g a n d d e c e i t t h a t he c a n be k i l l e d . H e b b e l shows v e r y c a r e f u l l y , t h r o u g h t h e e y e s o f Hagen and D a n k w a r t , what p o s i t i o n S i e g f r i e d h o l d s i n t h e e y e s o f h i s f e l l o w m e n . "Nun, was H e r r S i e g f r i e d w a g t , d a s s wag' i c h a u c h . N u r g e g e n i h n e r h e b ' i c h n i c h t d i e K l i n g e : Das war j a a u c h , w i e g e g e n E r z u n d S t e i n . G l a u b t ' s o d e r z w e i f e l t , w i e es E u c h g e f a l l t : I c h h a t t m i c h n i c h t i n S c h l a n g e n b l u t g e b a d e t , D a r f derm n o c h f e c h t e n , wer n i c h t f a l l e n kann?""*" The l a s t two l i n e s o f t h i s q u o t a t i o n a r e p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t -i n g , b e c a u s e h e r e H e b b e l shows, t h r o u g h Hagen, how much S i e g -f r i e d ' s i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y h a s a f f e c t e d h i s r e p u t a t i o n . T h e y c a n a d m i t t h a t he i s g r e a t a n d n o b l e , b u t t h e y c a n n e v e r r e a l l y e s t e e m h i m , b e c a u s e t h e r e i s a l w a y s t h e f e e l i n g t h a t he h a d t o u s e s u p e r n a t u r a l means t o become what he i s . A k n i g h t l i k e H a g en, who h a s g a i n e d h i s r e p u t a t i o n as a g r e a t w a r r i o r t h r o u g h s h e e r c o u r a g e a n d h a r d w o r k , ¥/ill n a t u r a l l y r e g a r d w i t h s c o r n t h e p o s i t i o n o f h i m who u s e d u n n a t u r a l means t o o b t a i n h i s p r o u d s u p r e m a c y . D a n k w a r t , H a g e n ' s b r o t h e r , q u i t e f r a n k l y v o i c e s t h e o p i n i o n o f a l l t h e B u r g u n d i a n s , t h a t t h e y w o u l d g a i n no-t h i n g b y f i g h t i n g w i t h S i e g f r i e d a n d a c c u s e s h i m o f b e i n g so b r a v e I. Hebbel, Werke, IV, 14. 43 o n l y b e c a u s e o f h i s i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y . "Du b i s t g e w i s s a u f K a m p f e n so v e r s e s s e n , S e i t Du d e s L i n d w u r m s S c h u p p e n - P a n z e r trEgst? N i c h t Jedernamm b e t r o g d e n Tod , w i e Du, E r f i n d e t e i n e o f f ' n e T h u r b e i u n s . " 1 A d d e d t o t h e s e p o w e r s , a n d b e c a u s e o f them, S i e g f r i e d i s t r y -i n g l y a r r o g a n t . I n s t e a d of a c c e p t i n g t h e s e g i f t s with o r d i n -a r y h u m i l i t y , a s a t r u e C h r i s t i a n s h o u l d d o , S i e g f r i e d i s c h i l d - l i k e i n h i s j o y a n d p a r a d e s his p r o w e s s before t h e w o r l d , w i t h a l l t h e a r r o g a n c e a n d a u d a c i t y o f a y o u t h f u l demi-g o d . G u n t h e r , who i s e x c e e d i n g l y weak, t a k e s no e x c e p t i o n t o S i e g f r i e d ' s m a n n e r s , a n d t r i e s i n s t e a d t o p l a c a t e h i m . Hagen, o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , i s i n s u l t e d b y S i e g f r i e d ' s o v e r w e e n i n g p r i d e , a n d i n P a r t I I I he e x p l a i n s his r e a c t i o n s t o K r i e m h i l d : " i c h l i e b t e S i e g f r i e d n i c h t , d a s 1 s t g e w i s s , E r hEtt' m i c h a u c h w o h l n i c h t g e l i e b t , wenn i c h E r s c h i e n e n wEre i n d e n N i e d e r l a n d e n , f i e e r i n Worms b e i u n s , m i t e i n e r Hand, D i e a l l e u n s ' r e E h r e n s p i e l e n d p f l u c k t e , Und e i n e m B l i c k , d e r s p r a c h : I c h mag s i e n i c h t ! " 2 H e b b e l h a s t r i e d t o give a s u b t l e r p r e s e n t a t i o n o f S i e g f r i e d ' s i n g e n u o u s a r r o g a n c e . I n t h e e p i c he w a n t s t o f i g h t j u s t f r o m s h e e r l o v e o f f i g h t i n g , b u t H e b b e l ' s S i e g f r i e d h a s a t h e o r y - a v e r y n a f v e s o r t o f p h i l o s o p h y - t h a t he must p r o v e h i s r i g h t t o r u l e a n d p o s s e s s . B u t he i s r e a l l y ' too s p o n t a n e o u s a n d u n r e f l e c t i n g t o a c t c o n s i s t e n t l y f r o m s u c h 1. H e b b e l , W e r k e , IV, 19. 2. I b i d , 2 8 1 . 44 p r i n c i p l e s , a n d i s s o o n c o n t e n t w i t h t h e o r d i n a r y f r i e n d l y c o m b a t s . I n o r d e r t o e m p h a s i z e t h e f a c t t h a t S i e g f r i e d ' s s o l e t r a g i c g u i l t l i e s i n h i s o u t s t a n d i n g i n d i v i d u a l i t y , H e b b e l h a s c h a n g e d I n c i d e n t s w h i c h w o u l d o t h e r w i s e make h i m g u i l t y i n t h e e y e s o f t h e w o r l d . I n t h e o l d e p i c , a l t h o u g h i t i s n o t made c l e a r , one assumes t h a t S i e g f r i e d c o n f e s s e d t o K r i e m h i l d . e n t i r e -l y o f h i s own v o l i t i o n , h i s p a r t i n t h e s u b d u i n g o f B r u n h i l d , a n d he g i v e s t f t h i s w i f e t h e r i n g w h i c h he t o o k f r o m G u n t h e r ' s Queen. H e b b e l d i s c a r d s t h e r i n g , t h e o r d i n a r i l y a c c e p t e d p l e d g e o f l o v e , a n d i n i t s p l a c e he u s e s a g i r d l e , r a t h e r a t o k e n o f v i c t o r y , w h i c h S i e g f r i e d u n c o n s c i o u s l y d r o p s u p o n t h e f l o o r i n h i s own room. H e r e K r i e m h i l d f i n d s i t , t h i n k s i t a p r e s e n t f r o m S i e g f r i e d a n d w e a r s i t . When she t h a n k s h i m f o r i t h e i s s u r p r i s e d , a n d f i n a l l y remembers whence i t came. H i s a n x i o u s p l e a t o h e r t o h i d e i t n a t u r a l l y a r o u s e s h e r c u r i o s i t y , f o r w h i c h h i s n a i v e t e a n d n a t u r a l s i m p l i c i t y a r e no m a t c h . H e b b e l h a s made t h e s c e n e v e r y n a t u r a l , r e s u l t i n g e n t i r e l y f r o m t h e two c h a r a c t e r s . T h e r e h a s b e e n , h o w e v e r , much d i s c u s s i o n o v e r t h e s t a r t i n g p o i n t o f t h e s t o r y , t h e " z e r k n u l l t e s G u r t e l " , w h i c h S i e g f r i e d t a k e s f r o m B r u n h i l d i n t h e h e a t o f t h e moment. Ho w e v e r , u n d e r t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s , h i s c o n q u e s t o f B r u n h i l d t h e s e c o n d t i m e b e i n g i n t h e n a t u r e o f a r a t h e r r e v o l t i n g d u t y , a n d t h e t h o u g h t o f h i s b r i d a l n i g h t a w a i t i n g h i m , i t i s q u i t e p o s s -i b l e t h a t S i e g f r i e d w o u l d p a y no a t t e n t i o n t o i t i n h i s d i s t r a c t i o n . H e b b e l a l s o r e m o v e s f r o m S i e g f r i e d a g r e a t d e a l o f t h e g u i l t i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e s e c o n d c o n q u e s t . I n t h e N i b e l u n g e n -45 l i e d i t i s S i e g f r i e d who s u g g e s t s t h e r u s e a n d who o v e r r u l e s G u n t h e r ' s o b j e c t i o n s and makes t h e p l a n s . H e b b e l , h o w e v e r , makes H a g e n t h e o r i g i n a t o r o f t h e i d e a and i t i s he who h a s t o o v e r c o m e S i e g f r i e d ' s s c r u p l e s . He p r a c t i c a l l y f o r c e s S i e g f r i e d i n t o t h e p l o t o n t h e g r o u n d s o f l o y a l t y t o G u n t h e r . S i e g f r i e d who h a d h e e d l e s s l y t a k e n t h e f i r s t s t e p , seemed c a u g h t i n a web o f d u p l i c i t y ; t h e s e c o n d one was i r r e v o c a b l e , h o w e v e r d i s -t a s t e f u l t o h i m s e l f , w h i l e t h i s c h a n g e e n n o b l e s S i e g f r i e d ' s c h a r a c t e r , i t a l s o s e r v e s t o show H a g e n as t h e m o s t p o s i t i v e c h a r a c t e r i n t h e B u r g u n d i a n c o u r t . B u t H e b b e l makes i t v e r y c l e a r t h a t S i e g f r i e d and B r u n h i l d w e r e o r i g i n a l l y meant f o r e a c h o t h e r . E v e n a f t e r t h e b i r d s h a d s u n g o f them t o g e t h e r , when h e s e e s B r u n h i l d , she a r o u s e s no l o v e i n h i m . T h e r e i s a s u g g e s t i o n , p e r h a p s , t h a t he d o e s i n c u r g u i l t h e r e , b u t i t i s i n t h e i n s i s t e n c e u p o n f o l l o w i n g t h e b e n t o f h i s own n a t u r e . A l l t h e s e c h a n g e s s e r v e t o a b s o l v e S i e g f r i e d f r o m o r d -i n a r y t r a g i c g u i l t , a nd s t r e s s t h e f a c t t h a t i t i s o n l y b e c a u s e he h a s made o f h i m s e l f a s u p e r m a n t h a t he comes i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h u n i v e r s a l l a w . The n e x t f i g u r e o f i m p o r t a n c e i n H e b b e l ' s " N i b e l u n g e n " i s D i e t r i c h v o n B e r n . Though he a p p e a r s o n l y i n t h e l a s t p a r t , he p l a y s n o n e t h e l e s s a v e r y I m p o r t a n t r o l e . I n H e b b e l ' s scheme he i s t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e C h r i s t i a n s p i r i t , t h e v e r y o p p o s i t e o f Hagen, B r u n h i l d a n d K r i e m h i l d . H e b b e l h a s g r e a t l y d e e p e n e d h i s c h a r a c t e r i n o r d e r t o show him as t h e s o l e s u r v i v o r i n t h e c l a s h b e t w e e n t h e p a g a n Huns a n d t h e h a l f -a n d - h a l f C h r i s t i a n s , t h e W i b e l u n g s , b e c a u s e he a l o n e h a s t h e t r u e C h r i s t i a n i t y , t h e r e a l r e l i g i o n o f J e s u s C h r i s t . I n t h e 46 N i b e l u n g e n l i e d D i e t r i c h ' s p a r t i s m e r e l y t h a t o f a g r e a t h e r o , who i s a b l e t o c o n q u e r e v e n Hagen. H i s r e l i g i o n p l a y s l i t t l e p a r t i n t h e s t r u g g l e . H e b b e l , h o w e v e r , saw i n h i m t h e e m b o d i -ment o f t h e new i d e a , a n d s o f r o m t h e t i m e D i e t r i c h f i r s t a p p-e a r s i n t h e s e c o n d a c t o f P a r t I I I , t h e k e y n o t e o f h i s c h a r a c -t e r i s h i s C h r i s t i a n i t y . H i s f i r s t a c t i s a C h r i s t i a n o n e , -he comes f r o m j s t z e l ' s c a s t l e t© B e c h l a r n i n o r d e r t o w a r n Gun-t h e r a n d Hagen a g a i n s t t h e e v i l p l a n s o f K r i e m h i l d . He w a r n s them i n t h e o l d e p i c , t o o , b u t d o e s n o t t a k e t h e s i g n i f i c a n t s t e p o f g o i n g t o meet them t o do s o . A l l t h r o u g h t h e l a s t p a r t D i e t r i c h t r i e s t o u s e h i s i n f l u e n c e f o r g o o d , b u t e v e n he c a n -n o t h a v e a n y e f f e c t u p o n t h e b a r b a r o u s p a s s i o n s o f K r i e m h i l d , t h e Huns a n d t h e N i b e l u n g s . He b e g s G u n t h e r t o r e t u r n home w i t h h i s men i n p e a c e , b u t he h a s no i n f l u e n c e a g a i n s t t h e h a u g h t y p r i d e o f t h e B u r g u n d i a n s , w h i c h H e b b e l r e g a r d s as a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f t h e i r h e a t h e n n a t u r e s . H i s a t t e m p t t o f r u s -t r a t e K r i e m h i l d ' s p l a n s a l s o f a i l , a g a i n s t t h e c l e v e r n e s s and p a s s i o n o f h e r r e v e n g e - c r a z e d m i n d . E t z e l , he a l s o t r i e s t o h e l p , b u t i n v a i n , t h e K i n g f e e l s t o o g r a t e f u l t o K r i e m h i l d f o r h i s h e i r t o go a g a i n s t h e r p l a n s . " J a , j a , K r i e m h i l d , i c h s c h l a g e m e i n e S c h w a h e r N i c h t h B h e r a n , w i e D e i n e B r i i d e r Du, Und wenn s i e n u r n o c h M B r d e r s i n d f u r D i c h , I Wie s o l l t e n s i e f u r m i c h was B e s s ' r e s s e i n l " H e b b e l n e v e r a l l o w s D i e t r i c h t o make u s e o f h i s i n f l u -e n c e I n d i c t a t o r i a l manner. He i s h u m b l e , f r a n k , a l w a y s a b l e t o s ee t h e o t h e r p o i n t o f v i e w . He w a r n s G u n t h e r b u t t e l l s h i m I . H e b b e l , Werke, I V , 2 8 6 . 47 f r a n k l y t h a t t h a t i s a l l he c a n do. " S e i d a u f d e r H u t , I h r s t o l z e n N i b e l u n g e n , U n d w a h n t n i c h t , d a s s e i n 3"eder, d e r d i e Zunge J e t z t f u r E u c h b r a u c h t , d e n Arm a u c h b r a u c h e n d a r f . " 1 When he p o i n t s o u t t o E t z e l t h e r e a s o n s f o r K r l e m h i l d ' s i n v i t -a t i o n t o h e r b r o t h e r , a n d t h e K i n g o f t h e Huns a n s w e r s t h a t as she i s a C h r i s t i a n , i s i t n o t h e r c r e e d t o f o r g i v e h e r e n e m i e s , D i e t r i c h a n s w e r s w i t h p e r f e c t u n d e r s t a n d i n g . "So s o l l t 1 es s e i n , D o ch 1 s t n i c h t j e d e r s t a r k g e n u g d a z u . " A f e w l i n e s l a t e r he d e f e n d s the h a u g h t y , d e f i a n t a c t i o n s of G u n t h e r a n d h i s men, when E t z e l a s k s why they d i d not know e n o u g h t o s t a y a t home. " H e r r , s i e hatten K r i e m h i l d i h r W o r t g e g e b e n , u n d sie m u s s t e n Es e n d l i c h iBsen, d e n n wen g a r N i c h t s b i n d e t , Den b i n d e t d a s n u r urn so s e h r , a u c h war I h r S i n n z u s t o l z , um d i e G e f a h r z u m e i d e n Und R a t h z u a c h t e n . Du b i s t a u c h gewBhnt, Dem Tod z u t r o t z e n , doch Du b r a u c h s t noch G r a n d , D i e n i c h t I -So 1 s t d e r T e u f e l , d e r d a s B l u t r e g i e r t , A u c h noch i n I h n e n m a c h t i g , u n d s i e f o l g e n Ihm f r e u d i g , wenn es e i n m a l k o c h t u n d d a r a p f t . " ^ A l t h o u g h h e does n o t a p p r o v e o f t h e i r t a c t i c s , s t i l l he u n d e r -s t a n d s a n d s y m p a t h i z e s . When H i l d e b r a n d b e g s him t o e n t e r the 1. H e b b e l , flerke, I V , 2 3 6 . 2. I b i d , 2 84. 3. I b i d , 2 8 5 - 6 . 48 f r a y a n d p r e v e n t more b l o o d s h e d , he a n s w e r s : "Wenn i c h a u c h w o l l t e , w i e v e r m B g t ' i c h ' s w o h l ? H i e r h a t s i c h S c h u l d i n S c h u l d z u f e s t v e r b i s s e n , A l s d a s s man z u E i n e m s a g e n k o n n t e : T r i t t Du z u r u c k l S i e s t e h e n g l e i c h i m R e c h t . Wenn s i c h d i e R a c h e n i c h t v o n s e l b s t e r b r i c h t Und s i c h vom l e t z t e n B r o c k e n s c h a u d e r n d w e n d e t , So s t o p f t i h r K e i n e r mehr d e n g r a u s e n S c h l u n d . " * H e b b e l p o r t r a y s t h r o u g h D i e t r i c h t h e d a y when C h r i s t i a n i t y w i l l r e i g n s u p r e m e . The V o g t v o n B e r n knows t h a t s o m e t h i n g I s g o i n g t o h a p p e n . The o t h e r k i n g s who a r e f o r c e d t o s e r v e E t z e l , c a n -n o t u n d e r s t a n d why t h e g r e a t D i e t r i c h s h o u l d h umble h i m s e l f t o s e r v e a n o t h e r K i n g o f h i s own f r e e w i l l . 11 I c h h a b e G r u n d e , u n d d e r T a g i s t n a h ' , Wo I h r s i e k e n n e n l e r n t . T h e r e i s a f e e l i n g h e r e t h a t D i e t r i c h h a s u n d e r g o n e a s e v e r e e x p e r i e n c e , a n d t h a t a s a t r u e C h r i s t i a n he i s t e s t i n g h i m s e l f b y s e r v i n g a n o t h e r K i n g . T h i s f e e l i n g i s a c c e n t u a t e d b y h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e P i l g r i m ' s m o t i v e s i n P a r t I I I , A c t I V , Sc e n e X X I . To H a g e n s u c h a c t i o n s a r e i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e , t o D i e t r i c h t h e y a r e t h e s i g n s o f a n o b l e man. The n o t e H e b b e l s t r e s s e s i n D i e t r i c h ' s c h a r a c t e r i s a l -ways h u m i l i t y . The V o g t v o n B e r n i s o u t s t a n d i n g i f o n l y b e c a u s e o f t h i s a t t i t u d e , b e c a u s e i t i s s o c o n t r a r y t o t h e a t t i t u d e s o f t h e p r o u d a n d h a u g h t y N i b e l u n g s . H i s C h r i s t i a n i t y i s t h e s o u r c e o f t h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , e v e n as i t i s f o r t h e h u m i l i t y o f t h e C h a p l a i n o f t h e N i b e l u n g s . He, t o o , h a s l e a r n e d t h e t r u e s p i r i t 1. H e b b e l , Werke, I V , 3 1 5 . 2. I b i d , 2 2 1 . 49 o f t h e r e l i g i o n o f J e s u s C h r i s t . E t z e l s p e a k s o f t h e t h r e e f r e e men i n t h e w o r l d , S i e g f r i e d , D i e t r i c h , a n d h i m s e l f , b u t he e r r s i n h i s e s t i m a t i o n o f t h e V o g t v o n B e r n , f o r t h e l a t t e r h a s p r o g r e s s e d b e y o n d t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f S i e g f r i e d a n d o f E t z e l i n t o t h e K i n g d o m o f C h r i s t i a n i t y , where i n d i v i d u a l w i l l g i v e s way t o t h e u n i v e r s a l . W i t h t h e g r e a t e s t h u m i l i t y D i e t r i c h a c c e p t s i n t h e e n d t h e k i n g d o m f r o m t h e e x h a u s t e d E t z e l , " i m Namen d e s s e n , d e r am K r e u z e r b l i c h . " H e b b e l h a d s u c h a t a s k i n t h e d e e p e n i n g a n d p s y c h o l o g i c -a l m o t i v a t i o n o f t h e s e m a i n c h a r a c t e r s t h a t t h e o t h e r s h a v e n e c e s s a r i l y s u f f e r e d f r o m l a c k o f c o m p l e t e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . He h a s , h o w e v e r , b e e n k i n d e r t o E t z e l t h a n was t h e o l d e p i c . I n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d he i s a weak, s p i n e l e s s , a l m o s t c o w a r d l y c h a r a c t e r . H e r e he h a s b e e n s l i g h t l y d e e p e n e d . He, t o o , h a s come u n d e r t h e s o f t e n i n g i n f l u e n c e o f C h r i s t i a n i t y w h i c h m o t i v a t e s t h e c h a n g e i n h i s c h a r a c t e r f r o m t h a t o f a n o u t r i g h t b a r b a r i a n t o a somewhat c i v i l i z e d m o n a r c h . He h a s p r o m i s e d t o f u l f i l l K r l e m h i l d ' s d e s i r e s b u t r e f u s e s t o m u r d e r a g u e s t i n h i s h o u s e , a l t h o u g h h e a s s u r e s h e r t h a t he w i l l p u r s u e them a n d do b a t t l e w i t h them when t h e y h a v e l e f t t h e s a f e t y o f h i s c a s t l e B u t t h e t e m p e r i n g i n f l u e n c e o n E t z e l , H e b b e l shows as o n l y s u p e r f i c i a l , b e c a u s e when he h i m s e l f I s d r a w n i r r e v o c a b l y I n t o t h e f r a y , he i s a s b a r b a r o u s a s K r i e m h i l d . W h i l e H e b b e l s t r e n g t h e n e d s l i g h t l y t h e c h a r a c t e r o f t h e K i n g o f t h e H uns, he w e a k e n e d t h e c h a r a c t e r o f t h e B u r g u n d i a n K i n g v e r y m a r k e d l y . The r e a s o n f o r t h i s l a y i n t h e n e c e s s i t y o f m a k i n g H a g e n a n o u t s t a n d i n g p e r s o n a l i t y , a n d t h a t c o u l d n o t be a c c o m p l i s h e d w i t h o u t t h e o t h e r s s u f f e r i n g i n c o m p a r i s o n . 50 So G u n t h e r i s weak and' s p i n e l e s s , i n c a p a b l e o f a n y f a r s i g h t e d -n e s s a n d q u i t e w i t h o u t a n y q u a l i t i e s o f j u d g i n g c h a r a c t e r . G e r e n o t , G u n t h e r ' s b r o t h e r , I s m e r e l y a shadow, G i s o i l i e r a t r i f l e more d i s t i n c t , b e c a u s e H e b b e l shows h i m as K r i e m h i l d ' s f a v o r i t e , f o r whom she s t i l l h a s some human f e e l i n g s . The s c e n e o f G i s e l h e r ' s b e t r o t h a l w i t h R u d e g e r ' s d a u g h t e r h a s b e e n c h a r m i n g l y t r e a t e d b y H e b b e l , n o t w i t h a n y s p e c i a l c h a n g e s b u t w i t h t h e a d d i t i o n o f l i t t l e t o u c h e s w h i c h make t h e e p i s o d e more n a t u r a l . We s e e , f o r e x a m p l e , t h e i m p r e s s i o n made u p o n y o u n g G u d r u n b y t h e s i n i s t e r f i g u r e o f H a g e n - "Den B i a s s e n m i t d e n h o h l e n T o d t e n - A u g e n . " ^ V o l k e r , t h e m u s i c i a n , i s a n e x c e l l e n t c o u n t e r f o i l t o t h e f i e r c e H agen, a m i n s t r e l as w e l l as a n o b l e w a r r i o r . I t i s i n t o h i s m o u t h , when i n a s o r t o f p o e t i c ' t r a n c e t h a t H e b b e l p u t s t h e s o l e m e n t i o n o f a c u r s e o n t h e N i b e l u n g e n t r e a s u r e . T h i s i s one f e a t u r e o f t h e o l d s t o r y w h i c h H e b b e l d o e s n o t s t r e s s a t a l l . F r a u TJte, l i k e G e r e n o t , i s a v e r y shadowy f i g u r e ; w h i l e i n t h e p o r t r a y a l o f R u d e g e r , t h e c o n v e n t -i o n a l k n i g h t , H e b b e l h a s f o l l o w e d t h e o l d e p i c c l o s e l y . T h i s a n a l y s i s o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n H e b b e l ' s t r i l o g y h a s s e r v e d t o show how t h e s t o r y o f t h e N i b e l u n g s h a s m a t e r i a l l y b e n e f i t e d f r o m H e b b e l ' s w o r k u p o n i t . The p e o p l e p o r t r a y e d , w h i l e t h e y w i l l e v e r r e m a i n i n a s e n s e r e m o t e f r o m u s , b e c a u s e t h e y b e l o n g t o a shadowy p e r i o d , h a v e become much more r e a l a nd c o m p r e h e n s i b l e t o t h e m o d e r n r e a d e r . H e b b e l h a d p r o b e d down deep i n t o t h e h e a r t s o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s t o show t h e i r a c t i o n s as t h e n a t u r a l a n d i n e v i t a b l e r e s u l t o f t h e i r n a t u r e s . When H e b b e l f i r s t came t o t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , he f o u n d I . H e b b e l , Werke, I V , 2 2 4 . 51 t h a t p r a c t i c a l l y a l l t h e m y t h o l o g i c a l e l e m e n t s h a d b e e n b a n i s h e d f r o m i t , t h e r e s u l t o f w h i c h was t h a t i n many p l a c e s t h e r e were c u r i o u s g a p s i n t h e s t o r y . The e p i s o d e o f S i e g f r i e d ' s f o r m e r a c q u a i n t a n c e w i t h B r u n h i l d h a s d i s a p p e a r e d , y e t he knows how t o g e t t o h e r c a s t l e , a n d t h e y r e c o g n i z e e a c h o t h e r . To a v o i d t h i s i n c o n s i s t e n c y , H e b b e l r e i n t r o d u c e s e c h o e s f r o m t h e o l d m y t h s . B r u n h i l d a n d S i e g f r i e d do n o t m e e t , b u t he s e e s h e r a n d she i s t o l d b y F r i g g a a b o u t t h e n o b l e h e r o . I n t h e o l d e p i c B r u n h i l d i s a n a m a z o n - l i k e q u e e n , endow-e d w i t h e x t r a o r d i n a r y s t r e n g t h , b u t t h i s was n o t s u i t a b l e t o H e b b e l ' s p u r p o s e o f a c c e n t u a t i n g t h e c o n f l i c t b e t w e e n t h e p a g a n a n d t h e C h r i s t i a n w o r l d , so he t o o k o v e r f r o m t h e n o r t h -e r n v e r s i o n t h e s t o r y o f B r u n h i l d ' s o r i g i n a n d made h e r t h e d a u g h t e r o f W o t an. F o r t h e same r e a s o n , t h a t i s , b e t t e r p s y c h -o l o g i c a l m o t i v a t i o n , he I n s e r t e d t h e t r a n c e s c e n e i n t h e p l a y , i n w h i c h B r u n h i l d s e e s i n a v i s i o n t h e d e s t i n y w h i c h m i g h t be h e r s . V o l k e r , t o o , h a s a t r a n c e , w h i l e he a n d Hagen a r e k e e p -i n g w a t c h b e f o r e t h e s l e e p i n g - q u a r t e r s o f G u n t h e r a n d h i s men, i n w h i c h he s e e s t h e c u r s e o f t h e N i b e l u n g t r e a s u r e . T h i s s c e n e , w h i c h h a s no b e a r i n g o n t h e r e s t o f t h e t r i l o g y , h a s b e e n p u t i n a p p a r e n t l y b y H e b b e l b e c a u s e i t i s a n e s s e n t i a l p a r t o f t h e N i b e l u n g l e g e n d a n d seems t o n e e d m e n t i o n . D i e t r i c h ' s s t o r y o f h i s m e e t i n g w i t h t h e w a t e r nymphs, H e b b e l h a s p u t i n a s a w a r n i n g o f t h e f i n a l c l a s h b e t w e e n p a g a n i s m and. C h r i s t i a n -i t y . I n t h e l e t t e r t o Hermann M a r g g r a f , a l r e a d y q u o t e d , 52 H e b b e l e x p l a i n e d t h a t he h a d d e p e n d e d e n t i r e l y u p o n t h e N i b -e l u n g e n l i e d , e v e n t o t h e e x t e n t o f l e a v i n g i n t h e s t o r y o f t h e l i o n i n t h e O d e n w a l d , a n d o n l y went o v e r t o t h e E d d a o r t h e V B l s u n g a s a g a w here i t was a b s o l u t e l y n e c e s s a r y . A n d t o a n o t h e r f r i e n d , A d o l p h S t e r n , he w r i t e s : n D e r TJnbefangene w i r d j e d o c h h o f f e n t l i c h f i n d e n , d a s s i c h t r o t z d e s v o n d i e s e m u n z e r t r e n n -l i c h e n m y t h i s c h e n H i n t e r g r u n d e s e i n e i n a l i e n i h r e n M o t i v e n r e i n m e n s c h l i e h e T r a g B d i e a u f z u b a u e n s u c h t e . " 1 A s i d e f r o m t h o s e v a r i a t i o n s i n c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d , H e b b e l made a few m i n o r c h a n g e s i n t h e s t o r y , some o f t h e m s e e m i n g l y w i t h o u t c a u s e , w h i c h a r e w o r t h y o f n o t e . To R u d e g e r ' s d a u g h t e r , whose name i s n o t m e n t i o n e d i n t h e N i b e l -u n g e n l i e d , h e h a s g i v e n t h e somewhat a m b i g u o u s name o f G u d r u n , t h i s b e i n g t h e name o f K r i e m h i l d i n t h e n o r t h e r n s a g a s . He h a s c h a n g e d t h e name o f E t z e l ' s a n d K r i e m h i l d ' s s o n f r o m O r t -l i e b t o O r t n i t , w i t h o u t a n y a p p a r e n t r e a s o n . I n t h e o l d e p i c , K r i e m h i l d r e w a r d s S i e g f r i e d f o r b r i n g i n g t h e g o o d news a b o u t G u n t h e r b y g i v i n g h i m t w e l v e b r a c e l e t s , w h i c h h e i m m e d i a t e l y h a n d s o v e r t o h e r l a d i e s - i n - w a i t i n g . I n H e b b e l , h o w e v e r , she g i v e s h i m a s c a r f w h i c h she h a d e m b r o i d e r e d h e r s e l f , a n d w h i c h S i e g f r i e d r e g a r d s as a t r e a s u r e d p o s s e s s i o n . I n H e b b e l , S i e g -f r i e d h i m s e l f t e l l s t h e s t o r y o f h i s h e r o i c e x p l o i t s , w h e r e a s i n t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d H a g e n r e l a t e s them t o G u n t h e r a n d h i s men. The m a r k e d s h o r t e n i n g o f t i m e was, o f c o u r s e , n e c e s s a r y f r o m t h e p o i n t o f v i e w o f H e b b e l ' s p u r p o s e , - t o make t h e o l d e p i c s u i t a b l e f o r t h e m o d e r n s t a g e . T h a t was H e b b e l ' s i d e a t h r o u g h o u t t h e whole p l a y , t o I . B r i e f e , V I I , 6 9 . 53 make i t s u i t a b l e f o r the modern stage and t o make i t comprehens-i b l e from the s t a n d p o i n t o f modern p s y c h o l o g y . He s t a r t e d out as he f i n i s h e d , w i t h t h i s purpose I n mind, and the b e s t con-c l u s i o n t o t h i s commentary from the p o i n t o f view o f h i s s u c c -e s s , i s t o quote contemporary c r i t i c i s m on the r e s u l t o f h i s work. The G r o s s h e r z o g o f Weimar s a i d t o Hebbel on the o c c a s i o n o f the performance o f "Die N i b e l u n g e n " a t t h e Weimar T h e a t r e , " I c h h a l t s D i r e K i b e l u n g e n f u r das Hochstc was s a l t S c h i l l e r und Goethe i n D e u t s c h l a n d gemacht 1 s t , I c h b i n a l s D e u t s c h e r F u r s t s t o l z d a r a u f , dass s o l d i e i n Werk zu meiner Z e i t e n t -s t e h e n konnte und f r e u e m i c h vom ganzen H e r z e n , dass i c h es -r z u e r s t h o r e n d u r f t e l " Hebbel's l e t t e r s a t t h i s p e r i o d are f i l l e d w i t h r e f e r -ences t o the h i g h esteem i n which h i s work was h e l d . "Die N i b e l u n g e n s t e l l t man u b e r a l l e s , was i c h j e Dr a m a t i s c h e s u 2 l i e f e r t e , he says a t one t i m e . ' W h i l e t h i s o p i n i o n has chang-ed now, and some of h i s e a r l i e r works are c o n s i d e r e d s u p e r i o r t o h i s l a s t c o m p l e t e d d r a m a t i c e f f o r t , s t i l l i n "Die N i b e l u n g e n " Hebbel as "Dolmetsch e i n e s IlBheren", has u n d o u b t e d l y g i v e n t o the o l d H l b e l u n g e n l l e d a new p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n w hich has done a g r e a t d e a l t o b r i n g the m e d i a e v a l s t o r y w i t h i n the scope o f the e x p e r i e n c e o f modern t h e a t r e - g o e r s . 1. B r i e f e , - V I I I , 18 2. I b i d , V I , 218. CHAPTER I I I RICHARD WAGNER I n s t r i k i n g c o n t r a s t w i t h H e b b e l ' s h i s t o r i c a l c o n c e p t i c o f t h e o l d N i b e l u n g e n s a g a i s R i c h a r d Wagner's t e t r a l o g y , "Der R i n g d e s Nibelungen',' t h e drama o f w h i c h he f i n i s h e d i n 1852, i n t h e same d e c a d e t h a t m a r k e d t h e c o m p l e t i o n o f H e b b e l ' s t r i l o g y . H e b b e l c o n s t r u c t e d h i s p l a y f r o m t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d w i t h t h e e x p r e s s p u r p o s e o f g i v i n g t h e o l d l e g e n d a r e b i r t h i r t h e l i t e r a t u r e o f t h e German n a t i o n ; Wagner, as a r o m a n t i c i s t a n d a m u s i c i a n , was i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e m y t h i c a l a s p e c t o f t h e o l d l e g e n d s f r o m t h e p o i n t o f v i e w o f s u i t a b i l i t y f o r o p e r a , a n d so he t u r n e d h i s a t t e n t i o n t o t h e more p r i m i t i v e v e r s i o n , t h e V B l s u n g a s a g a . To Wagner, t h e m y t h was p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e p o s s e s s i o n o f t h e w h o l e p e o p l e , s t r i k i n g down deep i n t o t h e v e r y r o o t s o f n a t i o n a l t h i n k i n g . One o f h i s m o s t s t r o n g l y - h e l d i d e a s was t h a t a r t s h o u l d h a v e a v e r y v i t a l c o n t a c t w i t h t h e l i f e o f t h e common f o l k , - as he l e t s one o f h i s f i n e s t c h a r a c t e r s , Hans S a c h s , s a y , - " D a s s V o l k u n d K u n s t g l e i c h b l u t ' s u n d wachs'1,' -a n d so he r e g a r d s t h e o l d n a t i o n a l m y t h s a s t h e v e r y f i n e s t p o s s i b l e s u b j e c t s f o r a r t i s t i c t r e a t m e n t , - f o r r e i n t e r p r e t -a t i o n f r o m t h e m o d e r n p o i n t o f v i e w . Wagner was t h e p i o n e e r o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y i n m o d e r n m u s i c - d r a m a . H i s g r e a t t h e o r y was t h e u n i f i c a t i o n o f a l l t h e a r t s , m u s i c , d r a m a , a r c h i t e c t u r e , p a i n t i n g , a n d a l l -t h i n g s c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e s t a g e - t e c h n i q u e , t o f o r m a s i n g l e g r e a t d r a m a t i c e x p r e s s i o n . Up u n t i l Wagner t h e o p e r a t i c s t a g e had been r u l e d by the I t a l i a n o p e r a , i n which l o n g a r i a s were a l l - p r e d o m i n a n t and the s c o r e and the o r c h e s t r a were of minor i m p o r t a n c e . Wagner, however, f i r s t wrote h i s own drama, t h e n composed h i s music i n i n t i m a t e u n i o n w i t h each thought i n the s c o r e . The u n i o n o f p o e t r y and music i s a l s o found among the e a r l y R o m a n t i c i s t s , E.T.A. Hoffmann, i n h i s e s s a y "Der D i c h t -e r und der Compomist", p o i n t s out " t h a t Romantic opera i s the o n l y t r u e o p e r a , because the music must n e c e s s a r i l y have i t s o r i g i n d i r e c t l y i n the p o e t r y , and t h a t , because of t h e s e c o n d i t i o n s , m u s i c a l drama must o r i g i n a t e as the work of a g i f t e d and r e a l l y r o m a n t i c poet."-1-Wagner employs the music t o make c l e a r the p a s t , p r e s -ent and f u t u r e o f the drama by u s i n g " L e i t m o t I v e n " , whereby each main i d e a and p e r s o n i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a c e r t a i n melody. One o f the b e s t and most e f f e c t i v e uses o f t h i s system i s n o t i c e d i n the m o t i f o f A l b e r i c h ' s c u r s e upon the g o l d . When-ev e r the d i s a s t r o u s r e s u l t s o f t h i s c u r s e are shown upon the s t a g e , t h e c u r s e m o t i f o c c u r s i n t h e o r c h e s t r a w i t h g r e a t d r a m a t i c e f f e c t . F o r example, when F a f n e r has s l a i n F a s o l t i n o r d e r t o be the s o l e p o s s e s s o r o f the g o l d , a l l the gods are h o r r i f i e d i n t o a " l a n g e s f e i e r l l c h e s Schwiegen", and i n t h i s a w f u l s t i l l n e s s , the music' o f A l b e r i c h ' s c u r s e s w e l l s up i n the o r c h e s t r a . Through the music the c u r s e becomes a l i v -i n g , v i t a l f o r c e i n the t r a g e d y . Or a g a i n , i n "Die w a l k u r e " and i n " S i e g f r i e d " Wotan's impotency a g a i n s t e s t a b l i s h e d law and o r d e r i s s t r e s s e d by the r e c u r r e n c e o f the " V e r ' r a g s t r e u e " m o t i f i n the o r c h e s t r a . Once he has made a p a c t he cannot  I . W i t k o w s k i , 123. 56 b r e a k I t . Newman, i n h i s book on Wagner comments as f o l l o w s upon the use o f the m o t i f system: " i t i s by such uses as t h i s o f t h e l e a d i n g - m o t i v e t h a t Wagner has made h i s drama a l i v i n g t h i n g , t h a t c a n s t a n d unashamed among the f i n e s t a r t i s t i c p r o d u c t s o f a l l the a g e s . " 1 With the a i d o f h i s music Wagner was a b l e t o r e s t o r e the m y t h i c a l w o r l d as no o r d i n a r y d r a m a t i s t c o u l d have done. I n I t he was a b l e t o e x p r e s s moods and t h o u g h t s , t o r e v e a l what cannot be e x p r e s s e d i n words and t o r a i s e the whole s i t -u a t i o n t o a more e x a l t e d p l a n e . Without the music h i s heroes and gods would have been as o r d i n a r y men, h i s dragon and h i s s i n g i n g b i r d would have been l u d i c r o u s , and t h e drama would have l o s t i t s s y m b o l i c and a l l e g o r i c meaning. With the music "Der R i n g des N i b e l u n g e n " r i s e s t o the l o f t i e s t h e i g h t s o f t r a g e d y . D u r i n g t h e p e r i o d i n w h i c h he worked a t the R i n g , Wagner was g o i n g t h r o u g h an i n t e n s e change i n h i s l i f e and i n h i s p h i l o s o p h y . I t was j u s t a f t e r the d i s a s t r o u s r e v o l u -t i o n o f 1849 i n Dresden, i n which t h e poet had a r d e n t l y t a k e n a p a r t . He had hoped by t h i s r e v o l u t i o n t o Improve the s t a t u s o f a r t i n Germany, f o r he r e g a r d e d i t as d e p l o r a b l y d e g e n e r a t -ed. The t r u e i d e a l he f o u n d i n t h e a n c i e n t c i v i l i z a t i o n o f Greece, which was"the p r o d u c t o f the c o l l e c t i v e energy o f a o whole age." I n d i v i d u a l i z e d i n t h e i r d a i l y s t r u g g l e s w i t h e x i s t e n c e and development, the G r e c i a n p e o p l e s were y e t u n i t e d i n t h e most i n t i m a t e harmony when th e y e n t e r e d the realms of the a r t s . C o n t r a s t e d w i t h t h i s oneness of s o u l , Wagner saw 1. Newman, 248. 2. F r a n c k e , 553. 57 t h e modern w o r l d as a mass o f atoms, s e p a r a t e d by modern I n d u s t r i a l i s m , where each i n d i v i d u a l t o i l e d f o r m a t e r i a l e x i s t e n c e , a w o r l d i n w h i c h l i t e r a t u r e had l o s t I t s t r u e a e s t h e t i c b e a u t y , and was used s e n s a t i o n a l l y as a v e h i c l e f o r money-making. So Wagner t u r n e d h i s hopes towards the f u t u r e , when some o t h e r r e v o l u t i o n would r e o r g a n i z e the w o r l d and b r i n g i t t o o r g a n i c u n i t y . "He sees i n t h e c l i m a x o f s o c i a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n the b e g i n n i n g o f a new s o c i a l o r d e r . A new s t a t e w i l l r e s u l t , " i n w h i c h men w i l l have f r e e d themselves from the l a s t s u p e r s t i t i o n , the s u p e r s t i t i o n t h a t a man can be a t o o l f o r an aim l y i n g o u t s i d e o f h i m s e l f . Having a t l a s t r e c o g n i z e d h i m s e l f the o n l y aim o f h i s e x i s t e n c e , h a v i n g d i s c o v e r e d t h a t t h i s aim can be r e a c h e d o n l y t h r o u g h c o l l e c t -i v e work, man's s o c i a l c r e e d w i l l c o n s i s t i n a p r a c t i c a l a f f i r m a t i o n o f the d o c t r i n e o f J e s u s ; ' T h e r e f o r e t a k e no t h o u g h t , s a y i n g , What s h a l l we e a t ? o r , What s h a l l we d r i n k ? o r , W h e r e w i t h a l s h a l l we be c l o t h e d ? For y o u r h e a v e n l y F a t h e r knoweth t h a t ye have need o f a l l t h e s e t h i n g s . ' And t h i s h e a v e n l y f a t h e r w i l l be none o t h e r t h a n the c o l l e c t i v e wisdom of humanity w h i c h a p p r o p r i a t e s n a t u r e and I t s f u l n e s s f o r the b e n e f i t o f a l l . " 2 I t i s t o t h i s p e r i o d o f development i n Wagner's p h i l o s -ophy t h a t the f i g u r e o f Wotan above a l l i s due. The k i n g of the gods t u r n s t o m a t e r i a l i s m and l u s t f o r power, and i n so d o i n g b r i n g s r u i n upon the w o r l d o f the gods. Convin c e d of h i s c r i m e , however, he a c q u i e s c e s i n the d o w n f a l l o f h i s o r d e r , 1. F r a n c k e , 551. 2. I b i d , 552. 58 t h a t a new one, u n t a i n t e d by s i n , may a r i s e out of the r u i n s . The f i r s t p a r t o f Wagner's t e t r a l o g y t o be f i n i s h e d was o d d l y enough, "GBtterdammerung", which he completed w h i l e he was s t i l l i n Dresden i n 1848. T h i s was b e f o r e the i d e a s of the R e v o l u t i o n were f e r m e n t i n g i n him, b e f o r e he saw the d e s p e r a t e n e c e s s i t y f o r s o c i a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n as the p r e c e d e n t t o t h e f o u n d i n g of a new o r d e r . Then known as " S i e g f r i e d ' s -Tod", the t r a g e d y was m e r e l y a n o t h e r r e n d e r i n g o f the B r u n n h i l d e -S i e g f r i e d e p i s o d e i n the H i b e l u n g e n s a g a . But when the spark o f the r e v o l u t i o n a r y i d e a s b u r s t i n t o s h o r t - l i v e d f l a m e , and Wagner was f o r c e d as a r e s u l t t o f l e e t o S w i t z e r l a n d , he t u r n -ed a g a i n t o h i s N i b e l u n g e n drama w i t h new and e n t i r e l y o r i g i n -a l Ideas c l a m o r i n g t o be e x p r e s s e d . " S i e g f r i e d ' s Tod" was 'Wagner's c o n v e n t i o n a l l y r o m a n t i c v e r s i o n o f a well-known s t o r y . The o t h e r dramas, however, are o r i g i n a l c r e a t i o n s o f h i s own g e n i u s . So, w o r k i n g b a c k from " S i e g f r i e d ' s Tod", Wagner b u i l t up h i s t e t r a l o g y . I t s t a r t e d as a r o m a n t i c o p e r a , b u t ended as an a l l e g o r i c a l , p h i l o s o p h i c a l music-drama. I t i s t h i s i r r e g u l a r i t y i n c o m p o s i t i o n which accounts f o r the apparent i n c o n g r u i t y between the l a s t p a r t and the t h r e e t h a t precede i t . Thus, Wagner's drama I s an a l l e g o r y , t h e d r a m a t i z a t i o n of h i s p h i l o s o p h i c i d e a s w i t h r e g a r d t o the b e t t e r m e n t o f the s o c i a l o r d e r . He saw t h e w o r l d o f h i s d_ay absorbed I n m a t e r i a l -Ism, obsessed b t greed f o r w e a l t h and power. The g o l d which the Rhine maidens g u a r d , i n n o c e n t o f I t s p o s s i b l e power and p r i z i n g i t . s o l e l y f o r i t s b e a u t y and s p l e n d o r , i s the symbol o f the b a l e f u l power o f r i c h e s . But o n l y one who f o r e s w e a r s 59 l o v e c a n w i e l d t h i s power, and Wagner i s p o i n t i n g out t h a t the l u s t f o r w e a l t h i s d r i v i n g b e a u t y and l o v e out of the w o r l d -t h e y cannot e x i s t where greed r e i g n s . As A l b e r i c h p l u n g e s th e Rhine i n t o darkness w i t h h i s t h e f t o f t h e g o l d , t h e scene changes t o the h e i g h t s o f the gods, where Wotan i s f o u n d c h a f i n g under the irksome c h a i n s which b i n d him. He had p u r c h a s e d h i s w i f e , F r i c k a , w i t h one o f h i s e y e s , and w i t h h e r , the power o f becoming the l a w g i v e r o f the u n i v e r s e . But he who heads t h e s t a t e cannot be f r e e , he must a c t i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the laws he has s e t up, and so Wotan's p a s s i o n a t e n a t u r e i s c u r b e d by f o r c e . He has o r d e r e d the g i a n t s t o b u i l d W a l h a l l a , a new home f o r the gods, and, w h i l e p r o m i s -* i n g them the goddess o f y o u t h and b e a u t y , F r e i a , i n payment, he i s r e l y i n g upon the c u n n i n g o f Loge t o g e t him out o f h i s p r e d -i c a m e n t . To g r a t i f y h i s d e s i r e s he i s f o r c e d t o t u r n to the c u n n i n g b r a i n t h a t does not s h r i n k from e v i l . Thus Wotan i s drawn i n t o the net o f m a t e r i a l i s m . With i n f i n i t e c u n n i n g Loge t e l l s him the s t o r y o f the rape of the g o l d , and Wotan, w h i l e s t i l l u n d e c i d e d , c o n s e n t s t o go w i t h Loge t o the l a n d o f the d w a r f s . Here he sees the t e r r i b l e c o n d i t i o n s which the power o f g o l d c a n b r i n g about. Men are t u r n e d I n t o s l a v e s , t o i l i n g f o r a n o t h e r ' s g a i n . Nowhere i s t h e r e any l i g h t , a l l beauty and l o v e has been b a n i s h e d from N i b e l h e i r n w i t h the advent of the r i n g w h i c h A l b e r i c h has f o r g e d from the g o l d . On v i e w i n g t h i s u n d e r w o r l d , Wotan's d e s i r e s seem t o him h i g h l y m o r a l , t o r e -move t h i s menace from the poor c r e a t u r e s o f the n e t h e r w o r l d , and t o save the i n t e l l e c t u a l , l a w - g i v i n g w o r l d o f the gods from 60 the Impending d e s t r u c t i o n which A l t e r i c h i n t e n d s t o b r i n g upon i t . so w i t h l o f t y p u rposes he co n s e n t s t o Loge's t r i c k s as a means t o the end. He i s , however, not e n t i r e l y u n s e l f i s h , s i n c e he i n t e n d s t o keep the r i n g f o r h i m s e l f , and thus s a f e -g u a r d h i s kingdom from r u i n . And he c l i n g s t o i t , even a l t h o u g h the g i a n t s a re p r e p a r e d t o take away F r e i a , u n t i l he i s t o l d t o g i v e i t up by E r d a , the " U r - M u t t e r " o f a l l l i v i n g things,who r i s e s from the bowels o f the e a r t h t o a d v i s e him i n h i s c r i t i c -a l emergency. When p r e p a r i n g t o c r o s s the rainbow t o the new home o f t h e gods, Wotan r e a l i z e s t h a t a l l t h i s s p l e n d o r must p e r i s h , t h a t the r a c e of the gods i s doomed t o d e s t r u c t i o n . They, the l a w g i v e r s , have become t a i n t e d w i t h g u i l t , b y t r y i n g t o evade the laws f o r t h e i r own g a i n , and Wotan de t e r m i n e s t o seek f u r t h e r c o u n s e l from .turd a. The c u r t a i n f a l l s upon the p r o -l o g u e w i t h the w a i l i n g o f the Rhine maidens f o r t h e i r l o s t g o l d . I n t h i s p r o l o g u e Wagner has e x p r e s s e d h i s i d e a o f the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s - "The d w a r f s , g i a n t s and gods are d r a m a t i z a t i o n s o f the t h r e e main o r d e r s o f men: the i n s t r u c t -i v e , p r e d a t o r y , l u s t f u l , greedy p e o p l e ; the p a t i e n t , t o i l i n g , s t u p i d , r e s p e c t f u l , money-worshipping p e o p l e ; and the i n t e l l -e c t u a l , m o r a l , t a l e n t e d p e o p l e , who d e v i s e and a d m i n i s t e r s t a t e s and churches."- 1 The g r e e d f o r power o v e r t a k e s the d w a r f s , who are d e s i r o u s o f r u l i n g the world, f o r t h e m s e l v e s , who do not r e a l i z e t h a t o t h e r t h i n g s are n e c e s s a r y f o r the p r o g r e s s o f the w o r l d b e s i d e s g o l d . These are the modern c a p i t a l i s t s , the men who are d r i v i n g the i n t e l l e c t u a l element from the s o c i a l o r d e r , and who are p u t t i n g empty w e a l t h i n I . Shaw, 32. 61 i t s s t e a d . W i t h t h e i r l a c k o f a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r b e a u t y , n a t u r a l -l y t h e y c a n s e e no r e a s o n why t h e c u l t o f a r t and l i t e r a t u r e s h o u l d be m a i n t a i n e d . The g i a n t s a r e t h e m i s e r s , t h o s e who do n o t w i s h t o g a i n f r o m t h e i r money, b u t m e r e l y t o h o a r d what t h e y h a v e g o t , t h e p e o p l e who t o i l a l l t h e i r l i v e s t o s a v e money, o n l y t o d i e w i t h o u t e v e r h a v i n g b e e n a b l e t o u s e i t . The g o d s a r e t h o s e " c a p a b l e o f t h o u g h t , whose a i m s e x t e n d f a r b e y o n d t h e s a t i s f a c t i o n o f t h e i r b o d i l y a p p e t i t e s a n d p e r s o n a l a f f e c t i o n s , s i n c e t h e y p e r c e i v e t h a t i t i s o n l y b y t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a s o c i a l o r d e r f o u n d e d o n common b o n d s o f m o r a l f a i t h t h a t t h e w o r l d c a n r i s e f r o m mere s a v a g e r y . ""^  So t h e s e t h r e e w o r l d s a r e a t w a r , end i f power i n t h e s h a p e o f t h e r i n g i s o n c e more o b t a i n e d b y A l b e r i c h , t h e n he w i l l n o t h e s i t a t e t o b r i n g a b o u t t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f W a l h a l l a . Hence Wotan t u r n s h i s a t t e n t i o n t o w a r d s a means f o r s a v i n g h i s r a c e . He h i m s e l f c a n n o t t a k e b a c k what he h a d g i v e n , he must r e m a i n t r u e t o h i s w o r d , so he b e g e t s , f i r s t , a d a u g h t e r B r u n n h i l d e w i t h E r d a , who s h a l l w i t h e i g h t s i s t e r s , b r i n g t h e h e r o e s , f a l l e n i n b a t t l e , t o W a l h a l l a , t o p r o t e c t i t f r o m A l b e r i c h ; a n d s e c o n d l y , a s o n , S i e g m u n d , who, a man a n d a h e r o , s h a l l s a v e t h e w o r l d o f t h e gods f r o m d e s t r u c t i o n . B u t S i e g -mund, who h a d b e e n s e p a r a t e d f r o m h i s t w i n s i s t e r S i e g l i n d e , when t h e y w e re v e r y y o u n g , f i n d s h e r a g a i n , t h e u n w i l l i n g w i f e o f H u n d i n g , a n d w h i l e s t i l l u nknown t o e a c h o t h e r , p a s s i o n f l a r e s up b e t w e e n them, a n d t h e y r u n away t o g e t h e r , a f t e r S i e g m u n d h a s s n a t c h e d f r o m t h e t r e e - t r u n k t h e s w o r d w h i c h W o tan h a d p l a c e d t h e r e f o r h i m . W o tan o r d e r s B r u n n h i l d e t o I . Shaw, I I . O <C p r o t e c t Siegmund i n t h i s b a t t l e , h u t F r i c k a , the g u a r d i a n of the h e a r t h , i s o u t r a g e d a t the double c r i m e , a d u l t e r y and i n -c e s t , and s t o r m i l y she p o i n t s out t o Wotan t h a t the r u l i n g powers cannot oppose the laws w h i c h t h e y themselves have set f o r o t h e r s . But Wotan has no d e s i r e t o l e t h i ? own w i l l be t h w a r t e d by F r i c k a ' s p l e a s , and r e f u s e s t o i n t e r f e r e a g a i n s t the two l o v e r s . Then the r e a l i z a t i o n comes t o F r i c k a t h a t Wotan's p r e s e n t c o u r s e o f a c t i o n -is b r i n g i n g d e s t r u c t i o n upon t h e gods. "So 1 s t es derm aus m i t den ewigen G o t t e r n , s e i t du d.ie w i l d e n Walsungen z e u g t e s t ? Heraus s a g t ' i c h ' s -t r a f i c h den Sinn? N i c h t s g i l t d i r d e r Hehren H e i l i g e S i p p e ; h l n w i r f s t du a l l e s , was e i n s t du g e a c h t e t ; z e r r e i s s e s t d i e Bande, d i o s e l b s t du gebunden; l 5 s e s t l a c h e n d des Himmels H a f t -dass nach L u s t und L a u r i e nur w a l t e d i e s f r e v e l n d e Z w i l l i n g s p a a r , . d e i n e r b n t r e u e z u c h t l o s e F r u c h t J A n g r i l y she shows him t h a t r u l e r s w i l l cause t h e i r own r u i n I . Die W alkure, 32. 63 i f t h e y t h e m s e l v e s do n o t h o n o u r t h e l a w s t h e y h a v e g i v e n t o t h e r e s t o f t h e w o r l d . C a l m l y W o tan a t t e m p t s t o r e v e a l t o h e r h i s own p o i n t o f v i e w s " S t e t s G e wohntes n u r m a g s t du v e r s t e h ' n : d o c h was n o c h n i e s i c h t r a f , d a n a c h t r a c h t e t m e i n S i n n J -E i n e s h6re. Not t u t e i n H e l d , d e r , l e d i g g B t t l i c h e n S c h u t z e s , s i c h l8se vom G B t t e r g e s e t z : s o n u r t a u g t e r z u w i r k e n d i e T a t , d i e , w i e n o t s i e d e n G o t t e r n , dem G o t t d o c h zu w i r k e n v e r w e h r t . " 1 F r i c k a , h o w e v e r , i m m e d i a t e l y r e v e a l s t o W o t a n what he h a d n o t r e a l i z e d b e f o r e , t h a t S i e g m u n d was n o t s u c h a f r e e man, and m o s t u n w i l l i n g l y he h a s t o a c c e d e t o h e r w i s h e s . On B r u n n h i l d e ' s r e t u r n , he u n b u r d e n s h i s i n n e r m o s t s o u l t o h i s f a v o r i t e d a u g h t e r , t e l l i n g h e r t h e s t o r y o f h i s t r a n s -g r e s s i o n s a n d t h e n e c e s s i t y f o r r e s t i t u t i o n t o s a v e h i s r a c e . B u t t h e h o p e l e s s n e s s o f h i s c a s e now becomes f u l l y a p p a r e n t t o w o t a n , a n d t h e t h o u g h t b e g i n s t o t a k e h o l d u p o n h i s m i n d t h a t o n l y t h r o u g h t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f t h i s g u i l t - l a d e n o r d e r c a n t h e w o r l d be f r e e t o b e g i n a g a i n , f r e s h a n d u n t a i n t e d b y s i n . " F a h r e d e n n h i n , h e r r l s c h e P r a c h t ,  I . D i e W a l k i i r e , 34. 64 gBttlichen P r u n k e s p r a h l e n d e S c h m a c h i Zusammen b r e c h e was i c h g e b a u t ! A u f g e b ' i c h m e i n Werk, n u r e i n e s w i l l i c h n o c h , d a s Ende - -d a s E n d e ! To h i s d e s t r u c t o r s , A l b e r i c h a n d h i s s o n , he g i v e s up t h e w o r t h l e s s g l i t t e r o f G o d - head; "So nimm m e i n e n S e g e n , N i b e l u n g e n - S o h n ! Was t i e f m i c h e k e l t , d i r g e b ' ich's zum E r b e , d e r G o t t h e i t nichtigen G l a n z : z e r n a g e s i e g i e r i g d e i n N e i d i " 2 A n d s o he o r d e r s B r u n n h i l d e t o protect B u n d i n g . B u t he f o r g e t s t h a t B r u n n h i l d e i s naught e l s e but h i s own w i l l . P r i c k a s p e a k s o f h e r to Wotan as " d e i n e s Wunsches B r a u t " , and s a y s " d e i n e n W i l l e n v o l l b r i n g t s i e a l l e i n . " B r u n n h i l d e s a y s h e r -s e l f t o him? -"Zu Wotan's W i l i e n s p r i c h s t du, s a g s t du m i r , was du w i l l s t : wer - b i n i c h , w a r ' i c h d e i n W i l l e n i c h t ? " . A n d Wotan .answers -"Was k e i n e m i n W o r t e n i c h k u n d e f  1. D i e W a l k f i r e , 4 6 . ~ 2. I b i d , 47. 'unausgesprochen b l e i b ' es ev/ig: r a i t m i r nur ' r a t ' i c h , r e d ' i c h zu d i r . - - - n i Thus B r u n n h i l d e w i l l c a r r y out h i s most inmost wishes r a t h e r t h a n h i s u n w i l l i n g commands. U n t i l t h e p r e s e n t moment t h e r e had heen no c o n f l i c t between h i s d e s i r e s and h i s o r d e r s , but now he must a c t c o n t r a r y t o h i s d e s i r e s , and e x p e c t s Brunn-h i l d e t o do the same, But h i s "Wunsch-Tochter" i n not hedged I n by the c o n v e n t i o n a l i t i e s o f God-head. The f o r c e s o f Wotan's w i l l i n h e r a c t upon h e r sympathies f o r Slegmund and S i e g l i n d e , and e a s i l y o u t b a l a n c e the d e s i r e t o obey the commands which Wotan p l a c e d upon h e r a t F r i c k a ' 3 b i d d i n g . Wotan, t h e r e f o r e , i s f o r c e d t o p u n i s h B r u n n h i l d e by p u t t i n g h e r t o s l e e p , so t h a t he m a y " p r o t e c t the f i c t i o n s and c o n v e n t i o n s o f W a l h a l l a a g a i n s t h e r " . F o r F r i c k a ' s sake Wotan must u p h o l d the law as l o n g as p o s s i b l e , w i t h o u t b r i n g i n g d i s g r a c e upon them, which would happen i f h i s a r b i t r a r y w i l l were a l l o w e d f u l l sway. So he must t a k e s t e p s t o p r e v e n t a s i m i l a r event from r e c u r r i n g . • With the r i n g i n g down of the f i n a l c u r t a i n i n "Die Walkure", Wagner i s p a v i n g the way f o r the new rac e t h a t i s t o come, a r a c e of h e r o e s . The d w a r f s , g i a n t s and gods have p l a y e d themselves o u t . The new rac e w i l l b r e a k up the old. o r -der and found, the new. The o l d o r d e r has been p r o v e n inadequ-ate by those who founded i t . Wotan r e a l i z e d t h a t the laws which h i s race had s e t up were no l o n g e r capable o f g o v e r n i n g the w o r l d , b u t he knew a l s o t h a t those laws c o u l d o n l y be proven 1. Die Walkure, 40-41. 2, Shaw, 90. i n e f f e c t u a l , and t h a t the w o r l d c o u l d o n l y be g i v e n a new and b e t t e r system, when h i s o r d e r was d e s t r o y e d . Only i n the d i s -i n t e g r a t i o n o f t h e o l d o r d e r c o u l d a new one a r i s e . The o l d o r d e r had become Imbued w i t h m a t e r i a l i s m , hedged about w i t h c o n v e n t i o n s , s u r r o u n d e d by empty, w o r t h l e s s g l i t t e r . These t h i n g s are t o v a n i s h w i t h the d e s t r u c t i o n o f the God-head, and i n t h e i r p l a c e s h a l l come s i m p l i c i t y , n a t u r a l n e s s , f e a r -l e s s n e s s and l o v e . I n t h i s manner i s Wagner t r y i n g t o p o i n t out t o the German n a t i o n t h e need i n t h e i r own age f o r the d e s t r u c t i o n o f t h e e x i s t i n g o r d e r and the f o u n d a t i o n o f a new one, p a t t e r n e d p r e f e r a b l y upon the o r d e r o f the a n c i e n t Greeks. So i n " S i e g f r i e d " Wagner p a i n t s the p i c t u r e o f p e r f e c t n a t u r a l n e s s and s i m p l i c i t y i n the young h e r o , the son o f Siegmund and S i e g l i n d e , who i s t o d e l i v e r the e x i s t i n g w o r l d from i t s o l d worn-out l a w s , and impose new ones upon i t . S i e g -f r i e d i s n o u r i s h e d by the s m i t h Mime, A l b e r i c h ' s u g l y , t i m i d b r o t h e r , who hopes t o g a i n , t h rough t h i s young man, the g o l d w h i c h had e n s l a v e d him t o A l b e r i c h , and w i t h w h i c h he hopes t o make h i m s e l f m a s t e r of the w o r l d . S i e g f r i e d has grown up l i k e a w i l d , young a n i m a l i n the f o r e s t , a b s o l u t e l y f e a r l e s s , and he i s o n l y w a i t i n g f o r Mime t o f o r g e him a sword b e f o r e he goes o f f i n t o the w o r l d i n s e a r c h o f a d v e n t u r e . So f a r Mime has been u n s u c c e s s f u l ; each sword he hu.s f o r g e d has been snapp-ed i n t w a i n by the s t r o n g young h e r o , and not u n t i l Mime p r o -duces th e p i e c e s o f Siegmund's sword, Nothung, does S i e g f r i e d f i n d one w h i c h s a t i s f i e s him. When Mime admits he cannot f o r g e i t , S i e g f r i e d s c o r n f u l l y does i t h i m s e l f . T h i s a c c o m p l i s h e d he i s r e a d y t o f a r e f o r t h i n t o the w o r l d . 67 P a r a l l e l w i t h S i e g f r i e d ' s e n t r a n c e i n t o the w o r l d o f h e r o i c deeds, i s Wotan's w i t h d r a w a l from the w o r l d of a c t i o n : he becomes a p a s s i v e h e r o . He appears f i r s t i n " S i e g f r i e d " t o i n f o r m Mime t h a t o n l y one who d i d not know f e a r c o u l d f o r g e anew the sword o f the Walsung, Siegmund. A second time he ap-p e a r s t o warn A l b e r i c h and F a f n e r o f the coming o f Mime and S i e g f r i e d , and t o t e l l the dwarf t h a t he w i l l not use h i s power t o h e l p the young h e r o . "Wen i c h l i e b e l a s s ' i c h f u r s i c h gewahren; e r s t eh ' oder f a l l ' , s e i n H e r r 1 s t e r : H e l d e n nur konnen m i r f rominen." 1 Wotan has r e a l i z e d t h a t the f e a r l e s s n e s s o f t h i s young h e r o may p o s s i b l y b r i n g about the r e d e m p t i o n o f the w o r l d , but o n l y i f he i s p e r m i t t e d t o a c t a c c o r d i n g t o the law o f h i s own n a t u r e . Wotan r e t u r n s t h e n t o summon up E r d a and t e l l s h e r t h a t he i s w i l l i n g the end o f the gods. "Um d e r G B t t e r Ende gram't mich d i e Angst n i c h t , s o i t mein Wunsch es - w i l l ] Was i n des Z w i e s p a l t s wildem Schmerze v e r z w e i f e l n d e i n s t i c h b e s c h l o s s , f r o l l und f r e u d i g .fuhre f r e i i c h nun aus: w e i h t ' i c h i n wuthendem. E k e l  I . S i e g f r i e d , 48. 68 des l i l t ) l u n g en H e l d schon d i e W e l t , dem w o n n i g s t e n W&lsung w e i s ' i c h mein Erhe nun a n . " 1 I n t h e u n i o n o f S i e g f r i e d and B r u n n h i l d e , he sees a chance f o r the r e d e m p t i o n o f the s i n - l a d e n gods: "Die du m i r g e b a r ' s t , B r u n r i h i l d ' weckt s l c h hoch der H e l d : wachend w i r k t d e i n w i s s e n d e s K i n d e r l o s e n d e W e l t e n t h a t . - " 2 Then he sends E r d a t o e t e r n a l s l e e p , and w a i t s f o r S i e g f r i e d t o come. He t e s t s the d a r i n g young h e r o , h o l d i n g up h i s spear to b a r the way, b u t S i e g f r i e d b r e a k s i t w i t h h i s sword. T h i s s y m b o l i z e s " the l a s t i n e f f e c t u a l s t a n d o f c o n s t i t u t e d a u t h o r -i t y a g a i n s t t h e young, u n t r a m m e l l e d i n d i v i d u a l i t y o f the f u t -u r e . R e s i g n e d l y , Wotan p i c k s up the p i e c e s , s a y i n g : " Z i e h ' h i n j i c h kann d i c h n i c h t h a l t e n i " 4 , and S i e g f r i e d i s l e f t t o make h i s way t o B r u n n h i l d e . But the B r u n n h i l d e who i s awakened by S i e g f r i e d ' s k i s s I s now o n l y a m o r t a l woman, and h e r p a s s i o n f o r t h e g r e a t h e r o outweighs h e r f i l i a l a f f e c t i o n f o r the o l d o r d e r , and she l i v e s now s o l e l y f o r the l o v e o f S i e g f r i e d . The c l o s e o f " S i e g f r i e d " marks the f i n i s h o f the p h i l o s o p h i c a l dramas o f the t e t r a l o g y . The f o u r t h p a r t  1. S i e g f r i e d , 79. 2. I b i d , 79. 3. Newman, 232. 4. S i e g f r i e d , 86. 69 'btitterdtmmerung", i s g r a n d o p e r a i n t h e o l d s t y l e . Taken i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the o t h e r t h r e e p a r t s o f the " R i n g " , i t i s an o p e r a t i c a nachronism. T h i s l a s t p a r t , as has been s a i d , was w r i t t e n i n 1848 under the t i t l e o f " S i e g f r i e d ' s Tod", and was i n t e n d e d by Wagner as n o t h i n g deeper t h a n an o p e r a t i c t r e a t -ment o f the o l d N i b e l u n g e n s a g a . But when,,after the R e v o l u t i o n , he saw t h e need f o r a new s o c i a l o r d e r i n the w o r l d o f h i s own t i m e , he began t o see the d e s t r u c t i o n o f t h e o l d gods and the b i r t h o f t h e w o r l d o f h e r o e s as the symbol o f the a n n i h i l a t i o n o f an o l d o r d e r by a new one. So he changed the t i t l e o f " S i e g f r i e d ' s Tod" t o " G-811erdMmmerung", and worked backwards upon h i s t e t r a l o g y . But the f o u r t h p a r t l a c k s the p h i l o s o p h i c -a l d e p t h f o u n d i n t h e o t h e r t h r e e , and the c h a r a c t e r s o f Brunn-h i l d e and S i e g f r i e d are somewhat i n c o n g r u o u s , though t h e y a r e not i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e . In the f o u r t h p a r t the B r u n n h i l d e o f the Walkure, t h e w i l l and "Wunsch-Tochter" o f Wotan, has v a n i s h e d , and has g i v e n p l a c e t o " a m a j e s t i c a l l y savage woman, i n whom j e a l o u s y and revenge a r e i n t e n s i f i e d t o h e r o i c p r o p o r t i o n s " , who i n t h e i n t e n s i t y o f h e r p a s s i o n p l o t s S i e g f r i e d ' s d e a t h w i t h a v i l l a i n , b ut who always i n t e n d s t o f o l l o w him t o d e a t h , s i n c e l i f e w i t h o u t him would be i n t o l e r a b l e . T h i s change i n the c h a r a c t e r o f B r u n n h i l d e i s m o t i v a t e d by the a l l - p o w e r f u l p a s s -i o n o f l o v e j w h i c h , f i r s t l y , makes her d i s r e g a r d the s e r v i c e s w h i c h f i l i a l a f f e c t i o n f o r Wotan demands o f laer, and s e c o n d l y , makes h e r t u r n i n t o a t i t a n i c v i r a g o . The S i e g f r i e d o f the t h i r d p a r t i s n a i v e and s i m p l e , an i g n o r a n t boy, who s o f t l y and s h y l y asks B r u n n h i l d e i f she i s h i s mother s i n c e she loved. I . Shaw, 87. 70 him b e f o r e he was b o r n . But w i t h the f o u r t h e v e n i n g he has changed i n t o a man o f the w o r l d , who b a n t e r s c l e v e r l y w i t h the Rhine maidens. Brurmbild.e 1 s t e a c h i n g s w h i l e he was w i t h h e r can be t a k e n as a m o t i v a t i o n o f t h i s change i n c h a r a c t e r , b u t I t i s much more c o n v i n c i n g when r e g a r d e d as a remainder o f the f i r s t v e r s i o n o f " S i e g f r i e d ' s Tod". As has been said, b e f o r e , t h i s l a s t p a r t i s very c l o s e t o g r a nd o p e r a . There i s a chorus o f men and women, a f u t i l e k i n g , a r a t h e r s i m p l e n e g a t i v e s i s t e r , b o t h o f t h e s e b e i n g under the dominance o f t h e i r s i n i s t e r h a l f - b r o t h e r Hagen. Though thes e f i g u r e s do not f i t In c o m p l e t e l y w i t h the p h i l o s o p h i c -a l l y s y m b o l i c f i g u r e s o f the e a r l i e r p a r t s o f the t e t r a l o g y , t h e c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e f i r s t t h r e e dramas i s c l e a r l y m a i n t a i n -ed. A p p r o a c h i n g the s u b j e c t from such a d i f f e r e n t p o i n t o f view, Wagner's t r e a t m e n t o f the c h a r a c t e r s i s v e r y d i f f e r -e n t from t h a t o f H e b b e l . I n 'Wagner Hagen I s Gunther's h a l f -b r o t h e r and the agent o f A l t e r i c h . He i s shown as a much more dem o n i a c a l f i g u r e t h a n e i t h e r i n the e p i c or i n H e b b e l , i n s p i r -ed by p e r s o n a l g r e e d and j e a l o u s y and a b s o l u t e l y l a c k i n g the redeeming l o y a l t y so c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f him i n the o t h e r v e r -s i o n s . I n Wagner, t h e r e i s , o f c o u r s e , no " K r i e m h i l d s Bsche" which makes Hagen's r o l e the more d e s p i c a b l e . He even, i n h i s e f f o r t t o get p o s s e s s i o n o f the r i n g , s l a y s Gunther h i m s e l f , o n l y t o be f i n a l l y l u r e d t o h i s death by the Rhine maidens. A c c e p t i n g B r u n n h i l d e as a V a l k y r i e , Wagner r e g a r d s h e r i n the b e g i n n i n g more as an i n s t r u m e n t t h a n as a p o s i t i v e p e r -s o n a l i t y , u n t i l h e r awakening by S i e g f r i e d arouses the human p a s s i o n s w i t h i n h e r . Her e n d i n g i s much f i e r i e r - t h a n t h a t o f Hebbel's B r u n h i l d , worthy o f h e r proud o r i g i n as a V a l k y r i e , when she dashes upon h e r s t e e d i n t o the f u n e r a l pyre and j o i n s i n d e a t h the h e r o who had been s e p a r a t e d from h e r by t r e a c h e r y . Owing t o the absence o f the revenge s e q u e l , Wagner f e l t no need t o c h a r a c t e r i z e p a r t i c u l a r l y Gutrune - h i s K r i e m h i l d , Because she has no Important p a r t t o p l a y - i s I n f a c t o n l y a t o o l i n the hands o f Hagen, she i s v e r y tame and c o l o u r l e s s compared w i t h the K r i e m h i l d o f the e p i c o r o f Hebbel. S i e g f r i e d , who, a c c o r d i n g t o Wagner, i s Wotan's chosen i n s t r u m e n t f o r the g r e a t t a s k o f redeeming humanity from the c u r s e o f t h e i r g o l d , i s , o f c o u r s e , p r e s e n t e d I n the most a t t r a c t i v e l i g h t - the v e r y p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n o f f e a r l e s s and ad.venturesome y o u t h . Wagner r e l e a s e s him f r o m a l l r e s p o n s i b i l -i t y f o r h i s f a i l u r e i n c a r r y i n g out Wotan's p l a n s by h a v i n g him d r i n k the magic p o t i o n o f f o r g e t f u l n e s s , so c u n n i n g l y p r e -p a r e d f o r him by Hagen. I n t h i s Wagner i s , o f c o u r s e , f o l l -owing the o l d saga, b u t t h i s i s j u s t a l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t f o r the modern t o a c c e p t . I t seems the v e r y f a c t o f making him m o r a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e makes i t more d i f f i c u l t t o r e g a r d him as a t r a g i c f i g u r e . One f e e l s t h a t Wotan "is the h e r o i n t h i s p l a y - not S i e g f r i e d . Those c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which mark Wagner as a r o m a n t i c poet are c l e a r l y shown f i r s t i n h i s c h o i c e o f s u b j e c t m a t t e r . He found i n t e r e s t , not i n the m e d i a e v a l i z e d v e r s i o n o f the o l d sagas, the N i b e l u n g e n ! l e d , but i n the VBlsungasaga, a prose v e r s i o n o f the p r i m i t i v e Ed.das. The m y t h i c a l a s p e c t s o f t h i s 7 2 w o r k , t h e g o d s , d w a r f s a n d g i a n t s , t h e h e r o e s , t h e V a l k y r i e s , t h e c u r s e o n t h e g o l d a n d t h e f i e r c e d r a g o n a p p e a l e d t o Wagner's r o m a n t i c t e n d e n c i e s . He d i d n o t c o n f i n e h i m s e l f t o one t r e a t -ment o f t h e s a g a , as H e b b e l d i d , b u t drew h i s m a t e r i a l f r o m v a r i o u s s o u r c e s . The t h e f t o f t h e g o l d b y t h e g o d s f r o m t h e d w a r f a n d h i s e n s u i n g c u r s e u p o n i t Wagner t a k e s f r o m t h e V o l s u n g a s a g a , b u t t h e R h i n e m a i d e n s a n d t h e W a l h a l l a e p i s o d e a r e t h e p r o d u c t s o f t h e p o e t ' s own g e n i u s . I n " D i e W a l k u r e " , h o w e v e r , Wagner f o l l o w s t h e n o r t h e r n t a l e v e r y c l o s e l y ; t h e u n i o n o f t h e s i s t e r a n d b r o t h e r i s r e l a t e d i n t h e s a g a , b u t S i g u r d i s n o t t h e s o n o f t h a t u n i o n b u t o f S i g m u n d a n d H j o r d i s . N o r i s G r a n e B r u n n h i l d e ' s h o r s e b u t one w h i c h O d i n h e l p e d S i g u r d t o c h o o s e f o r h i m s e l f , and w i t h t h e h e l p o f t h e f e a r l e s s s t e e d he p e n e t r a t e s t h e f l a m e s . The s t o r y o f B r u n n h i l d e ' s m a g i c s l e e p i s t h e same, w i t h t h e d i f f e r e n c e t h a t i n t h e s a g a v e n g e a n c e a n d p a s s i o n m o t i v a t e O d i n ' s p u n i s h m e n t o f t h e V a l -k y r i e , w h e r e a s i n Wagner i t i s f a t e w h i c h f o r c e s Wotan t o p u t h i s f a v o r i t e d a u g h t e r t o s l e e p . Wagner h a s v e r y c l e v e r l y j o i n -e d t h i s e p i s o d e w i t h t h a t o f S i e g m u n d , g i v i n g a c l o s e u n i t y t o h i s drama w h i c h i s l a c k i n g i n t h e V o l s u n g a s a g a . He h a s a?lso made S i e g m u n d t h e s o n o f Wotan, w h e r e a s i n t h e s a g a f o u r g e n e r -a t i o n s s e p a r a t e O d i n a n d S i e g m u n d . T h i s c o m p r e s s i o n , h o w e v e r , was a l s o n e c e s s a r y f o r u n i t y . I n " S i e g f r i e d " Wagner h a s d e p a r t e d s t i l l f a r t h e r f r o m t h e V o l s u n g a s a g a . He h a s f o l l o w e d t h e T h i d r e k s a g a i n t h e a c c -o u n t o f S i e g f r i e d ' s u p b r i n g i n g i n t h e wood b y t h e s m i t h . T h i s T h i d r e k s a g a i s a l a t e r v e r s i o n t h a n e i t h e r t h e N i b e l u n g e n l i e d . or the V B l s u n g a s a g a , and has c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w h i c h show t h a t the a u t h o r has known b o t h l e g e n d s and has drawn from them. A l t h o u g h the saga t r e a t s m a i n l y the l i f e and a d v entures o f D i e t r i c h von B e r n , S i e g f r i e d ' s l i f e I s a l s o f u l l y d e s c r i b e d . The i n t e r v i e w and g u e s s i n g c o n t e s t between Mime and Wotan i n -d i c a t e s i n f l u e n c e from a l a y i n the E l d e r Edda, " V a f t h r u t b n i s -mal" i n w h i c h Odin, always i n quest o f wisdom, seeks i n d i s -g u i s e t h e g i a n t V a f t h r u t h n i r , and t h e y have a c o n t e s t t o see vrhich i s the w i s e r . I n the V B l s u n g a s a g a , as i n Wagner, t h e r e i s no m e n t i o n made o f b a t h i n g I n the b l o o d o f the dragon; i n the o l d l e g e n d i t i s S i g u r d ' s gaze t h a t makes h i s heroes h e l p -l e s s , and Guttorm cannot k i l l him u n t i l h i s eyes are c l o s e d i n s l e e p . Wagner makes S i e g f r i e d i n v u l n e r a b l e t h r o u g h B r u n n h i l d e ' s p e l l s , as b a t h i n g i n the dragon's b l o o d would be i m p o s s i b l e on the s t a g e , a l t h o u g h the l a t t e r method d o u b t l e s s l y appealed, more to the r o m a n t i c p o e t . Wagner a g a i n r e v e r t s t o the T h i d -r e k s a g a i n the m a t t e r o f S i e g f r i e d ' s h o r s e . In the V B l s u n g a -saga O d i n h i m s e l f h e l p s him t o choose a h o r s e , which i s o f the same b r e e d as t h e h o r s e s o f the gods. With t h i s h o r s e he i s a b l e t o p e n e t r a t e the f l a m e s t o B r u n n h i l d e ' s r e s t i n g p l a c e . In the T h i d r e k s a g a B r u n n h i l d e g i v e s h e r h o r s e t o S i e g f r i e d when he l e a v e s h e r . Wagner i s f o r c e d t o f o l l o w the l a t t e r s t o r y because i n no way c a n Wotan a s s i s t the young h e r o . But S i e g f r i e d must have a h o r s e t h a t i s f i t t i n g f o r him, and the o n l y s t e e d p o s s i b l e was one t h a t , t h r o u g h i t s owner, had once known God-head, and as Wotan could, t a k e no p a r t i n S i e g f r i e d ' s l i f e , B r u n n h i l d e a l o n e c o u l d g i v e him the r e q u i r e d s t e e d . In "G811erd&mmerung" 'Wagner has a g a i n drawn from v a r i o u s s o u r c e s . S i e g f r i e d i s s e r v e d w i t h a d r i n k of f o r g e t f u l n e s s a i n the V B l s u n g a s a g a , b u t by Gut rune, n ot b y h e r mother, as i n the o l d l e g e n d . I n o r d e r t o l i n k up t h i s l a s t p a r t w i t h the f i r s t p a r t s o f the t e t r a l o g y , Hagen i s made the son o f A l b e r -i c h . I n Wagner's dramas B r u n n h i l d e demands S i e g f r i e d ' s death because he d e s e r t e d h e r . I n the n o r t h e r n l e g e n d , however, B r u n n h i l d e had f o r e t o l d t o S i e g f r i e d t h a t he would marry an-o t h e r and. demands h i s d e a t h because he b e t r a y e d h e r t o the mocking Gudrun. Of h e r own f r e e w i l l B r u n n h i l d e b e t r a y s the s e c r e t o f h i s v u l n e r a b l e p o i n t , not as i n the N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , where Hagen c l e v e r l y draws the i n f o r m a t i o n from K r i e m h i l d . As I n t h e German e p i c , S i e g f r i e d I s k i l l e d w h i l e on a h u n t , b u t Wagner i s i n f l u e n c e d by t h e V o l s u n g a s a g a i n making Brunn-h i l d e f o l l o w S i e g f r i e d i n t o d e a t h . Wagner makes a g r e a t e r use o f the c u r s e upon the gods t h a n does the o l d l e g e n d . I n the Vo l s u n g a s a g a the dwarf An-v o r i c u r s e s the g o l d , d e c l a r i n g t h a t i t s h o u l d be the bane o f e v e r y man who s h o u l d own I t t h e r e a f t e r . S t r i f e f o l l o w s i m m e d i a t e l y i n the f a m i l y o f the owners, F a f n i r k i l l i n g h i s f a t h e r and d r i v i n g out h i s b r o t h e r . A l t h o u g h no f u r t h e r men-t i o n i s made o f t h e c u r s e , t h r o u g h t h e r i n g d e s t r u c t i o n i s wrought uoon S i g u r d . Wagner I n v e s t s the r i n g w i t h a deeper meaning by making d e s i r e f o r i t s y m b o l i c a l o f the e v i l p a s s -i o n s o f the w o r l d f o r m a t e r i a l g a i n . I n the o l d l e g e n d t h e c u r s e upon the r i n g brought r u i n and d e a t h , w i t h Wagner i t means d i s i n t e g r a t i o n from a m o r a l and s o c i a l s t a n d p o i n t as w e l l . 75 Wagner's master hand i s shown i n the clever way i n which he has moulded together episodes and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s from the various sagas and made of them a u n i f i e d opera, while at the same time investing the characters with h i s own ideas. More than any other Romanticist, he has accomplished a great deal towards making the old legends known throughout Germany. He probed deeper than the early Romanticists. The picture which they gave of mediaeval l i f e was a s u p e r f i c i a l one. They restored the legends and songs, the romances and f a i r y t a l e s , but they did not investigate under the picturesque garments to see i f there were hearts and souls beneath them. They presented a b r i l l i a n t l y coloured tapestry but without any depth. Wagner, however, presented these mythical and mediaev-a l characters as human beings. In t h i s way he was able to gain the i n t e r e s t of the people for th e i r own l i t e r a t u r e . That was the goal of the early Romantic poets, to make the German national l i t e r a t u r e known to the people, but none of them ever came as close as Wagner to the attainment of t h i s goal. Yet never did the great master make any compromise with the low tastes of the people. Rather he sought to raise t h e i r tastes to h i s own l e v e l . As one may expect from a t r u l y Romantic poet, there are some b e a u t i f u l l y r i c passages i n The Ring. That which i s most worthy of notice i s the l o v e l y "Liebe-und-Lenz-Lied" which Siegmund sings i n the f i r s t act of "Die Walkure". As the door of the hut opens and the moonlight streams into the room, Siegmund sings of the coming of spring: 76 "Wintersturme wichen dem Wonnemond, i n mildem Lichte leuchtet der Lenz; auf linden Luften l e i c h t und l i e b l i c h , Wunder webend er s i c h wiegt; durch Wald und Auen went sein Atem, welt geoffnet lacht sein Aug'." 1 Then he sings of the responding of flowers and trees to his touch, and of h i s union with h i s s i s t e r : "Zu seiner Schwester schwang er sich her; die Liebe lockte den Lenz; i n uns'rem Busen barg sie sich t i e f : nun lacht sie s e l i g dem Licht. Die brautliche Schwester b e f r e i t e der Bruder; zertrummert l i e g t was je sie getrennt; jauchzend grusst sich das junge Paar: vereint sind Llebe und T.enzl" 2  1. Die Walkure, 22. 2. Ibid, 22-23. IJtJ Of u n s u r p a s s e d b e a u t y i s the whole o f t h i s l o v e scene between Siegmund and S i e g l i n d e and e q u a l l y so are the scenes between S i e g f r i e d and B r u n n h i l d e i n the l a s t a c t o f " S i e g f r i e d " and the p r o l o g u e o f "GBtterd&mmerung". But i t i s not o n l y s e x - l o v e o f which Wagner s i n g s , but a l s o o f t h a t o t h e r l o v e - c a r i t a s - l o v e as i t i s t a u g h t i n the f i n e s t o f C h r i s t i a n ) i d e a l i s m . T h i s he sees as the g r e a t e s t panacea f o r the i l l s o f humanity. At the end o f "GBtterdammer-ung," B r u n n h i l d e l e a v e s "den H o r t i h r e s h e i l i g s t e n Wis sens" t o t h e w o r l d : " N i c h t Gut, n i c h t G o l d , noch g o t t l i c h e P r a c h t ; n i c h t IIaus, n i c h t Hof, noch h e r r i s c h e r Prunk: n i c h t t r u b e r V e r t r a g e t r i i g e n d e r Bund, noch h e u c h e l n d e r S i t t e h a r t e s G e s e t z : s e l i g i n L u s t und L e i d l a s s t - d i e L i e b e nur s e i n * - " 1 There a r e two o p p o s i n g r e l i g i o u s i d e a s i n The R i n g , one w h i c h I s C h r i s t i a n and p e s s i m i s t i c , the o t h e r which i s pagan and o p t i m i s t i c . The former i d e a i s p e r s o n i f i e d i n Wotan, who w i l l i n g l y s a c r i f i c e s h i m s e l f and h i s r a c e to redeem the world, from s i n . The l a t t e r i d e a i s p e r s o n i f i e d i n the f i g u r e o f S i e g f r i e d , the gay, l i g h t - h e a r t e d young h e r o , who t h i n k s o n l y o f the .joy o f the moment, whose a c t i o n s are g u i d e d by h i s I . Gotterdamineriing, 86. 78 own d e s i r e s , and who i s c r u e l l y overcome by f a t e . T h i s op-t i m i s t i c f i g u r e r e s e m b l e s v e r y c l o s e l y the o l d sungod, B a l d r . But t h e C h r i s t i a n i d e a I s s u p e r i o r i n the end t o the pagan one, and the drama f i n i s h e s w i t h t h e b e l i e f t h a t l o v e w i l l conquer a l l e v i l s and r e i g n supreme I n t h e w o r l d . Thus l o v e , the g r e a t e s t o f a l l the u n i t i n g powers, w i l l f o r m the f o u n d -a t i o n o f the new w o r l d o f o r g a n i c u n i t y which a r i s e s out o f the o l d w o r l d o f m a t e r i a l i s m , swayed by envy, greed and h a t e . W i t h the r i n g i n g down o f the f i n a l c u r t a i n o f "Der R i n g des N i b e l u n g e n " Wagner's g r e a t drama, d e p i c t i n g the d i s -i n t e g r a t i o n o f a s o c i a l o r d e r , comes t o a c l o s e . He has d e p i c t -ed t h e members o f t h i s o r d e r from t h e i r f i r s t s i n t h r o u g h the y e a r s i n w h i c h t h e i r r u l e r f i n a l l y r e a l i z e s t h a t the o n l y atonement l i e s i n a n n i h i l a t i o n . And he has m i n g l e d w i t h t h i s drama o f t h e e v o l u t i o n o f humanity, t h e g r e a t human t r a g e d y o f S i e g f r i e d . Kapp sums up Wagner's achievements i n The R i n g as f o l l o w s : "Die N i b e l u n g e n l i c h t u n g z e i g t Wagners d r a m a t i s c h e K r a f t i n i h r e r h o c h s t e n V o l l e n d u n g . Die V e r s chine I z u n g der v e r s c h i e d -enen n o r d i s c h e n Mythen und Sagen, i n d i e noch mehrfach Marchen-zuge verwebt s i n d , zu dem e i n e n ungeheur-en Gr art i t b l o c h , doss en b u r _ t - s c h i l l e r n d . e s Eussere e i n e n g e w a l t i g e n i n n e m Kern um-s c h l i o s s t , d i e e r s c h u t t e r h d WotantragBdie und das aus Herz g r e i f e n d e Menschendrama S i e g f r i e d s , s t e h t u n e r r e i c h t da und hebt s e i n Werk w e i t u t e r a l l e anderen M b e l u n g e n d i c h t u n g e n h i n a u s . E r s t d u r c h Wagner i s t dem d e u t s c h e n V o l k d i e s e r Sagenschatz e r s c h l o s s e n und n a h e g e t r a c h t , aus e i n e r t o t e n 79 s t o r i e zu neuem Leben erv.eckt v; or den. Kapp, ?29 CHAPTER IV HENRIK IBSEN No t r e a t m e n t o f t h e g r e a t dramas w r i t t e n around the NIbelungensaga i n the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y c o u l d be made w i t h o u t a d i s c u s s i o n , however b r i e f , o f H e n r i k Ibsen's p l a y , "The V i k i n g s a t H e l g e l a n d , " which he p u b l i s h e d i n 1858, i n the same decade w h i c h marked the c o m p l e t i o n o f Hebbel's and Wagner's works. B u t , whereas b o t h the German dramas are p r o d u c t s of the more mature st a g e s o f development o f thos e p o e t s , "The V i k i n g s a t H e l g e l a n d " i s s t i l l a y o u t h f u l work, b e l o n g i n g t o a t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d i n Ibsen's l i f e between h i s e a r l y r o m a n t i c dramas and h i s l a t e r s o c i a l ones. A t t h i s moment i n h i s l i f e , I b s e n was w h o l e - h e a r t e d l y t a k i n g p a r t i n a movement a g a i n s t the dominance o f D a n i s h i n f l u e n c e I n Norwegian l i t e r a t u r e , Norway was st e e p e d i n D a n i s h c u l t u r e , and i n s t e a d o f o r i g i n a l i t y i n the a r t s , a s l a v i s h i m i t a t i o n r e s u l t e d . But i n t e l l e c t u a l p a t r i o t s were t r y i n g t o arouse a f e e l i n g o f n a t i o n a l i s m i n t h e i r c o u n t r y , e s p e c i a l l y i n the f i e l d o f l i t e r a t u r e . S e v e r a l w r i t e r s c o l l e c t e d f o l k - l o r e m a t e r i a l , such as peasant t r a d i t i o n s and o l d f o l k - l o r e t a l e s , and rewrote them, r e t a i n i n g , as f a r as p o s s i b l e , t h e i r o r i g i n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , I b s e n was e x t r e m e l y e n t h u s i a s t i c o v er t h i s n a t i o n a l t r e n d i n Norwegian l i t e r a t u r e , and h i s s t u d y o f f o l k - l o r e l e d him i n t u r n t o the S c a n d i n a v i a n f a m i l y - s a g a s . Of t h e s e , the Volsun g a s a g a e s p e c i a l l y a t t r a c t e d , h im, and he r e c o g n i z e d r i c h d r a m a t i c m a t e r i a l i n the t r a g i c s i t u a t i o n between S i g u r d and the two women v/ho l o v e d him. 82 a n d G u n t h e r o f t h e German e p i c . To B r y r i h i l d , h o w e v e r , he g i v e s t h e name o f H i B r d i s , b y w h i c h S i g u r d ' s m o t h e r I s known I n t h e V B l s u n g a s a g a , a n d G u d r u n , t h e N o r s e e q u i v a l e n t o f K r i e m h i l d , h e c a l l s Dagny. I b s e n o m i t s t h e f i g u r e o f H agen e n t i r e l y , a s H i B r d i s a d e q u a t e l y r e p r e s e n t s t h e p a g a n c o n c e p t i o n o f l i f e , e v e n t o t h e p o i n t o f c a r r y i n g o u t h e r own v e n g e a n c e . Dagny I s much l i k e t h e e a r l y K r i e m h i l d , t i m i d a n d c o n v e n t i o n a l . S i g u r d , some y e a r s b e f o r e t h e o p e n i n g o f t h e p l a y , h a s a l r e a d y c o m m i t t e d h i s f a t a l e r r o r , - he h a s , o u t o f f r i e n d s h i p f o r G u n n a r , g i v e n u p t o h i m t h e s t r o n g - s o u l e d H i B r d i s who was d e s t -i n e d f o r h i m b y t h e f a t e s , a n d h a s h i m s e l f m a r r i e d t h e w e a k e r Dagny. H i B r d i s , r e a l i z i n g more c l e a r l y t h a n he t h e m i s t a k e , t e l l s h i m l a t e r : " A l l g o o d g i f t s may a man g i v e t o h i s f a i t h -f u l f r i e n d - a l l s a v e t h e woman he l o v e s ; f o r i f he do t h a t he r e n d s t h e N o r n ' s s e c r e t web, a n d two l i v e s a r e w r e c k e d . - - -Had we two h e l d t o g e t h e r , t h e n h a d s t t h o u become more famous t h a n a l l o t h e r s , a n d I happier."-'- I t i s t h e o l d s t o r y o f S i e g -f r i e d a n d t h e two Q u e e n s , r e i n t e r p r e t e d i n t e r m s o f a r e a l i s t i c m o d e r n c o n f l i c t , l o v e v e r s u s f r i e n d s h i p . The p l a y o p e n s w i t h a c h a n c e m e e t i n g b e t w e e n S i g u r d t h e S t r o n g , accompanied' b y h i s w i f e Dagny, and h e r f a t h e r u r n u l f , w i t h h i s s o n s i n t h e n e i g h b o u r h o o d o f G u n nar Headman's home. 5 r n u l f h a s come t o a v e n g e t h e c a r r y i n g o f f o f h i s f o s t e r -d a u g h t e r , H i B r d i s , b y G u n n a r , and S i g u r d h a s s a i l e d i n t o t h e h a r b o u r f o r a f e w d a y s - r e s t , n o t k n o w i n g n e a r whose h o u s e he was. The e x p o s i t i o n q u i c k l y f o l l o w s I n n a t u r a l d i a l o g u e . W i t h t h e e n t r a n c e o f t h e p e a s a n t K a r e u p o n t h e s c e n e , s e e k i n g j u s t -§1 A l l t h r o u g h h i s c r e a t i v e l i f e , t h i s s o r t o f s i t u a t i o n was t o a p p e a l t o I b s e n , I t i s found i n h i s e a r l y p l a y s , but i t appears w i t h g r e a t e r f o r c e and v i v i d n e s s i n "The V i k i n g s " , and foreshadows the use he was l a t e r t o make o f i t . Not o n l y d i d I b s e n d e l v e i n t o t h e VBlsungasaga b u t a l s o i n t o a l l the o l d I c e l a n d i c l i t e r a t u r e , i n t o " E g i l s ' Saga", t h e " L a x d a e l a Saga", and t h e " N j a l a Saga", and from t h e s e v a r i o u s s o u r c e s he b u i l t up h i s drama. T h i s p l a y he wrote w i t h a d e f i n i t e purpose i n view. By h o l d i n g up t o the Norwegian p e o p l e t h e p a s s i o n a t e depth o f f e e l i n g i n t h e i r a n c e s t o r s and the rugged grandeur o f t h e i r own n a t i o n a l t r a d i t i o n s , he hoped t o w i n them back from D a n i s h i n f l u e n c e t o a c l o s e r a l l e g i a n c e t o t h e i r own c u l t u r e . A f t e r s t u d y i n g a l l the o l d f a m i l y - s a g a s , he e x t r a c t e d from them a p i c t u r e o f the a u s t e r e l i f e o f the h e r o i c but p r i m i t i v e an-c e s t o r s o f the Norwegian p e o p l e , b a s i n g the main p a r t o f t h e p l o t upon I n c i d e n t s o f the "VBlsungasaga", and e n r i c h i n g I t w i t h i n c i d e n t s f rom the o t h e r sagas. Some o f the most i m p o r t -ant f e a t u r e s o f the VBlsungasaga', he d i d not use a t a l l , h o w -e v e r , because t h e y d i d not f i t i n w i t h h i s scheme, - as f o r example, the g o l d e n t r e a s u r e w i t h i t s f e a r f u l c u r s e . As i t was t h e i r l i f e i n p r i m i t i v e t i m e s which I b s e n w i shed t o p o r t r a y , he s e t h i s s t o r y i n a d e f i n i t e h i s t o r i c a l p e r i o d i n which the gods and demi-gods h a d become e x t i n c t . The time he chooses i s the b e g i n n i n g o f t h e C h r i s t i a n e r a i n the n o r t h . I b s e n r e t a i n s the names o f t h e p r i n c i p a l male c h a r a c t e r s i n the VBlsungasaga, S i g u r d and Gunnar, - c o r r e s p o n d i n g , o f c o u r s e , t o the S i e g f r i e d 8 3 i c e , the dominant personality of HiBrdis,who soon follows him begins to occupy the stage. Neither Sigurd nor urnulf can believe Gunnar to be g u i l t y of i n j u s t i c e to anyone, but when Rare blames HiBrdis, urnulf murmurs i n an aside; "Ay, ay, ' t i s l i k e h e r j " 1 Prom t h i s moment HiBrdis f i l l s the canvass, a dark and menac-ing f i g u r e , a purely p r i m i t i v e woman. With the exception of urnulf, whose feelings for h i s f o s t e r - c h i l d are mixed with contempt, the other characters are i l l at ease when i n the presence of t h i s passionate virago. Gunnar, when he sees her coming, i s "disturbed", knowing f u l l well that h i s plans w i l l be upset. He does not understand h i s wife, he r e a l i z e s , how-ever, that she has the power to make him miserable and r i d i c -ulous, but he i s absolutely helpless, and a reminder of h i s e a r l i e r vow to her i s s u f f i c i e n t to force him to change h i s plans and refuse atonement to urnulf. Nor i s he clever enough to see through her subsequent change of front, and obediently comes back to Sigurd and urnulf, bringing overtures of peace and an i n v i t a t i o n to a banquet at h i s house. Ibsen disregarded the divine o r i g i n of HiBrdis (or Brynhild), but s t i l l endowed her with the passionate feelings which seem more r i g h t f u l l y to belong to the race of the gods, yet almost Impossible to conceive of as natural i n a human being. Brynhild, reduced to human stature, i s a d i f f i c u l t character to understand. Never does she exhibit a temperate emotion; her resentment against urnulf, the pride she exhibits before Sigurd, her contempt fo r Dagny, a l l are passionately I. Ibsen, Collected Works, II, II. 84 e x p e r i e n c e d . She l o v e d S i g u r d , but she seems t o have l o v e d him l e s s f o r h i m s e l f , t h a n f o r h i s powers o f achievement -f o r t h e s a t i s f a c t i o n i t might have b r o u g h t t o h e r b o u n d l e s s a m b i t i o n . Her f e e l i n g f o r Gunnar -is i n d i f f e r e n c e , - she m e r e l y uses him as a t o o l t o f u r t h e r h e r own a m b i t i o n s . Such i n t e n s e p a s s i o n i s not out o f p l a c e i n B r y n h i l d , the f a l l e n V a l k y r i e , who had e n j o y e d a superhuman d e s t i n y , whose one s o l a c e i n banishment was t h a t o n l y t h e b r a v e s t o f m o r t a l s c o u l d w i n h e r , and who was robbed o f t h a t s o l a c e by a t r i c k . Her f e e l i n g o f d e g r a d a t i o n c a n be u n d e r s t o o d . But H i o r d i s I s supposed t o be an o r d i n a r y woman, endowed w i t h a s o r t o f V a l k y r i e n a t u r e . As Gunnar's w i f e she has not had enough t o occupy h e r , so she has b r o o d e d upon h e r husband's p r o v e n prowess, c o n s o l i n g h e r -s e l f w i t h t h a t f o r t h e d e f i c i e n c e s he has shown s i n c e m a r r i a g e . I b s e n has g i v e n no superhuman s t r e n g t h t o H i S r d i s . The h e r o who won h e r had not t o overcome h e r h e r s e l f i n combat, but the f i e r c e b e a r who guarded h e r . I t seems r a t h e r l i k e a combinat-i o n o f s l a y i n g the dragon and overcoming the Amazon, l i k e B r y n h i l d o f the saga brought down t o r e a l i s t i c p r o p o r t i o n s . As i n t h e saga, i t was, o f c o u r s e , r e a l l y S i g u r d . H i B r d i s has a t w o - f o l d d e s i r e I n b r i n g i n g ©rnulf and S i g u r d t o h e r home; - f i r s t l y , t o provoke an open q u a r r e l between h e r husband and h e r f o s t e r - f a t h e r , w h o has openly i n -s u l t e d h e r ; and, s e c o n d l y , t o see more of S i g u r d t h a t she may humble him. Her l u s t f o r vengeance a g a i n s t O r n u l f f o r h i s i n s u l t s c a n o n l y be appeased by b l o o d s h e d , which she b r i n g s about i n a d e m o n i a c a l l y c l e v e r manner. B r y n h i l d b o a s t e d t o Gudrun of h e r husband's prowess, but H i c - r d i s has a l l the 85 "banquet g u e s t s f o r an a u d i e n c e . F a i l i n g t o arouse S i g u r d , she d i r e c t s h e r c l e v e r I n s i n u a t i o n s towards T h o r o l f , u r n u l f s y oungest son, who l a c k s the s e l f - c o n t r o l o f S i g u r d , and cannot h i d e s h i s anger. She succeeds i n g o a d i n g Gunnar, who b e l i e v e s t h a t u r n u l f has k i l l e d h i s young son, t o o v e r h a s t y vengeance, and he k i l l s T h o r o l f , a l t h o u g h S i g u r d begs him t o w a i t . H i B r d i s ' l a c k o f human f e e l i n g i s c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e d when she shows no sorrow over t h e d i r e consequences o f h e r p a s s i o n , u r n u l f b r i n g s b a c k t h e i r c h i l d , i i i g i l , t o them by way o f atone-ment, o n l y t o f i n d t h a t they have k i l l e d T h o r o l f , and. t h a t a f t e r l o s i n g a l l h i s o t h e r sons I n the f i g h t t o save t h e i r c h i l d ' s l i f e . As he l e a v e s , b r o b e n - h e a r t e d bu t not bowed, she says s c o r n f u l l y : "Ay, l e t him go as he w i l l ; we s h a l l s c a r c e need many men t o f a c e him s h o u l d he come w i t h s t r i f e a g a i n ! Now, Dagny - I wot i t i s the l a s t time thy f a t h e r s h a l l s a i l from I c e l a n d on such a quest!"" 1' Though she l i v e s i n the t e n t h c e n t u r y , a c c o r d i n g t o I b s e n , she i s e x t r e m e l y b a r b a r o u s and p r i m i t i v e . She d e l i g h t s , f o r example, i n the thought o f s o r c e r i e s and w i l d , u n n a t u r a l e x p e r i e n c e s : "Ha, what j o y t o be a w i t c h - w i f e and r i d e on a whale's b a c k - t o speed b e f o r e the b a r k , and wake the storm, and l u r e men t o the depths w i t h l o v e l y songs o f s o r c e r y ! " She makes a b o w - s t r i n g o f h e r own h a i r , and she s i n g s s o r c e r i e s o v e r the a r r o w s . Her g r e a t e s t a m b i t i o n i s t o be one o f the h e roes and h e r o i n e s who l i v e i n V a l h a l :  1, I b s e n , I I , 66. 2. I b i d , I I , 45. 86 "They are t h e "brave men t h a t f e l l i n the f i g h t , the s t r o n g women t h a t d i d not d r a g out t h e i r l i v e s tamely l i k e thee and me; t h e y sweep t h r o u g h the a i r i n c l o u d -r a c k and storm, on t h e i r b l a c k h o r s e s , w i t h j a n g l i n g b e l l s ! ( Embraces Dagny, end p r e s s e s h e r w i l d l y i n h e r arms.) Hal Dagnyi t h i n k o f r i d i n g on so r a r e a s t e e d ! " x The proud and a m b i t i o u s s o u l t h a t dares t o aim a t V a l h a l r e c e i v e s a t e r r i b l e blow when Dagny, r o u s e d t o ungovernable anger by H i o r d i s 1 c r u e l t a u n t s , b l u r t s out the f a t a l s e c r e t t h a t she had. been won by S i g u r d and not the husband o f whom she has been so p r o u d l y b o a s t i n g . B u t , whereas B r y n h i l d was most b i t t e r a t b e i n g duped, H i c - r d i s i s roused t o f u r y at the thought t h a t S i g u r d had f l o u t e d h e r . To such an i n s u l t t h e r e can be b u t one answer: "How have I b u t one t h i n g l e f t t o do - but one deed t o t h i n k upon: S i g u r d o r I must d i e ! " ^ I n the VBlsungasaga, the B r y n h i l d . e p i s o d e o c c u p i e s but l i t t l e more t h a n a q u a r t e r o f the saga, and S i g u r d i s always the c h i e f c h a r a c t e r , B r y n h i l d . i m p o r t a n t o n l y because s'he causes h i s d e a t h . But I b s e n p i v o t s the s t o r y around. H i B r d i s ; each c h a r a c t e r i s s t r o n g l y a f f e c t e d by h e r ; S i g u r d and. Gunnar l o v e h e r , Kare h a t e s h e r , Dagny f e a r s h e r , 5 r n u l f s c o r n s h e r . T h e i r f e e l i n g s towards h e r enable h e r t o sway them e a s i l y . She persuades Gunnar t o f i g h t S i g u r d , she c o n v i n c e s Dagny t h a t h e r weak and c o n v e n t i o n a l s o u l has made S i g u r d ' s l i f e one l o n g m i s e r y , and she f o r c e s S i g u r d t o c h a l l e n g e Gunnar t o s i n g l e combat. I n the VBlsungasaga, S i g u r d  _ ______ 2. I b i d , I I , 68. 87 o f f e r s t o put Gudrun a s i d e and go away w i t h B r y n h i l d , but i n Ibsen's drama i t i s H i B r d i s who attempts t o persuade S i g u r d t o l e a v e h i s w i f e and f l e e w i t h h e r . Her h o l d over S i g u r d , how-e v e r , i s not as s t r o n g as she thought i t , f o r he r e f u s e s t o s a c r i f i c e t h e g e n t l e Dagny. H i B r d i s , however, w i l l not be t h w a r t e d , she w i l l command h e r f a t e , and whether S i g u r d d i e or n o t , she w i l l be w i t h him. I n t h i s r e s p e c t , Ibsen makes her more c o n s i s t e n t t h a n B r y n h i l d . The V a l k y r i e demands S i g u r d ' s d e a t h , knowing t h a t he l o v e s h e r , and f u l l y i n t e n d i n g t o f o l l o w him; H i B r d i s w i l l s h i s d e a t h w h i l e she t h i n k s he sco r n s h e r , but l a t e r , l e a r n i n g o f h i s l o v e f o r h e r , she deter m i n e s t o f o l l o w , him, whether i t be t o l i f e or t o de a t h . R e a l i z i n g t h a t she w i l l be more sure o f him i n de a t h , she t h e n d e c i d e s t o k i l l h im by h e r own hand. But h e r f e r o c i t y , and h e r p a s s i o n put f e a r even i n t o S i g u r d , when she t e l l s him where t h e y two are g o i n g - t o V a l h a l - and c r i e s o u t : " ( S h r i n k i n g b a c k ) . " H i B r d i s , H i B r d i s - I f e a r thee!"' 3" V a i n l y he a t t e m p t s t o b r i n g h e r back t o the p r e s e n t dangers f o r Gunnar and Eg11, b u t h e r g r e a t e s t a m b i t i o n i s now ,too c l o s e t o h e r g r a s p f o r h e r n o t t o r e a c h c u t and take i t . She l e t s f l y an arrow, from the b o w - s t r i n g made o f her own h a i r , and. k i l l s S i g u r d , but f o r the second time she i s f l o u t e d by the g r e a t h e r o , f o r , b e f o r e h i s d e a t h , he t e l l s h e r t h a t he has become a C h r i s t i a n , and i s h e r s now l e s s t h a n e v e r . F o r t h i s f a t a l b low, t h e r e i s f o r H i B r d i s no s o l a c e , as f o r the f i r s t one. S i g u r d had h u m i l i a t e d h e r , but he had r e a l l y l o v e d h e r . Now she has no c o m f o r t :  I . I b s e n , I I , 1 1 2 . 88 "DeadJ T h e n t r u l y h a v e I b r o u g h t my s o u l t o w r e c k ! " 1 She c a n n o t a c c o m pany h i m , b u t w o r s e t h a n t h a t , she h a d summon-e d t h e r i d e r s f r o m V a l h a l b y h e r s o r c e r i e s , a n d now t h e r e i s no e s c a p e . She f l i n g s h e r s e l f t o t h e b o t t o m o f t h e s e a , h o p -i n g t h u s n o t t o h a v e t o r i d e w i t h o u t S i g u r d , b u t t h e f a t e she a t t e m p t e d t o command i s r e l e n t l e s s . H e r one hope f o r h a p p i -n e s s l a y i n a l i f e w i t h S i g u r d , b u t t o t h e C h r i s t i a n H e a v e n she c a n n o t f o l l o w h i m . The c h a r a c t e r s o f S i g u r d , G u n nar a n d Dagny, I b s e n d i d n o t c h a n g e v e r y much. S i g u r d I s t h e same n o b l e h e r o , b u t i n I b s e n h e i s a b e t t e r f r i e n d , a w i s e r c o u n s e l o r , a more t h o u g h t -f u l h u s b a n d . He gave up H i B r d i s t o G u n n a r , n o t b e c a u s e o f a m a g i c p o t i o n o f f o r g e t f u l n e s s , b u t i n a n o b l e a c t o f s e l f -s a c r i f i c e . The S i g u r d o f t h e V o l s u n g a s a g a i s n a i v e , y o u n g , h e a d s t r o n g ; I b s e n ' s S i g u r d i s w i s e r , somewhat o l d e r , more t h o u g h t f u l . He t e l l s Dagny a b o u t t h e s l a y i n g o f H i B r d i s ' b e a r , b e c a u s e he r e a l i z e s t h a t G u n n a r ' s w i f e h a s e v i l p l a n s ; he t r i e s t o c a l m G u n n a r a t t h e f e a s t ; he a i d s h i m i n e v e r y way a g a i n s t K a r e . I n t h e v B l s u n g a s a g a S i g u r d i s w i l l i n g t o p u t G u d r u n a s i d e a n d t a k e B r y n h i l d t o w i f e , b u t when H i B r d i s p r o p o s e s t h i s t o I b s e n ' s S i g u r d , he r e f u s e s f i r m l y . H i B r d i s t h r e a t e n s t o t e l l Dagny a n d G u n n a r o f t h e i r l o v e , b u t S i g u r d , r a t h e r t h a n b r i n g p a i n t o Dagny, p r e v e n t s t h i s b y c h a l l e n g i n g Gunnar t o c o m b a t . S i g u r d , a s a p r o d u c t o f t h e t e n t h c e n t u r y , l o s e s h i s n a i v e , g o d - l i k e c h a r m , and becomes a b r a v e and wis© w a r r -i o r , f u l l y c o n s c i o u s o f t h e d u t i e s r e s t i n g u p o n h i m . G u n n a r I b s e n h a s e n n o b l e d somewhat« I n t h e V B l s u n g a s a g a I . I b s e n , I I , 112. 89 h e t r e a c h e r o u s l y d e c i d e s t o g e t r i d o f S i g u r d , t o q u i e t h i s w i f e , b u t as he h a s s w o r n t h e o a t h o f b l o o d - b r o t h e r h o o d w i t h h i m , h e w i l l , b y w i z a r d ' s d e e d s , p e r s u a d e h i s y o u n g e r b r o t h e r t o commit t h e c r i m e . I n I b s e n , G u n n a r n e v e r c o n s e n t s t o S i g -u r d ' s d e a t h , a n d t h i n k s o f k i l l i n g h i m o n l y f o r a n i n s t a n t -o n l y when he i s u n d e r H i c - r d i s ' s p e l l , as he t e l l s h e r : " i t i s as I s a y - t h e r e i s w i t c h c r a f t i n a l l t h y s p e e c h ; no d e e d b u t s e e m e t h f a i r t o me when t h o u d o s t name i t . " 1 He i s o n l y a c o w a r d b e c a u s e he f e a r s h e r s t r a n g e n e s s - o t h e r -w i s e he i s a t r u e , b r a v e w a r r i o r . When H i B r d i s w i l d l y a s k s h i m i f D a g n y ' s s t o r y be t r u e , he a n s w e r s w i t h l o f t y c a l m : " i t i s a l l t r u e , s a v e o n l y t h a t I am a c o w a r d ; no c o w a r d o r d a s t a r d am I . " , a n d S i g u r d , much moved, r e p l i e s : " T h a t t h o u a r t n o t , G u n n a r ! T h a t h a s t t h o u n e v e r b e e n ! " ^ Dagny, w h i l e p l a y i n g a much more i m p o r t a n t r o l e i n I b s e n ' s d r a m a , i s a w e a k e r woman t h a n t h e p r o u d G u d r u n . B u t G u d r u n h a d won S i g u r d t h r o u g h s o r c e r y , k n o w i n g he l o v e d B r y n -h i l d , s o she h a s t o h a v e p r i d e t o s u p p o r t h e r , w h e r e a s Dagny, o v e r w h e l m e d a n d amazed t h a t S i g u r d c o u l d l o v e h e r , i s e a s i l y p e r s u a d e d b y H i B r d i s t h a t he h a d n e v e r done s o , and t h a t she i s u n w o r t h y o f h i m . S i g u r d , h o w e v e r , p r i z e s h e r , b e c a u s e she i s a g e n t l e c o m p a n i o n a n d a l o v i n g w i f e . I n O r n u l f , I b s e n p o r t r a y s a v e r y c o n v i n c i n g c h a r a c t e r . He i s a n o l d man, p r o u d o f h i s s o n s , w o r s h i p p i n g t h e y o u n g e s t , T h o r o l f . . F o r H i B r d i s he h a s l i t t l e l o v e , b u t he w o u l d see h e r 1. I b s e n , I I , 7 6 . 2. I b i d , I I , 6 8 . 3. I b i d , I I , 6 8 . 90 n aPP: r» and would atone f o r the s l a y i n g o f h e r f a t h e r . The l o s s o f h i s s i x sons he c a n b e a r , b u t the l o s s o f T h o r o l f b r e a k s h i s h e a r t , though not h i s p r i d e . L o f t y and calm he h e a r s o f T h o r o l f ' s d e a t h , b u t when S i g u r d and Dagny attempt t o f o l l o w t o h e l p him c a r r y the body, he b r e a k s f o r t h : " S t a y ! T h i n k ye u r n u l f w i l l be f o l l o w e d by a t r a i n o f mourners l i k e a whimpering woman? S t a y , I s a y l - I can b e a r my T h o r o l f a l o n e . S o n l e s s I go; but none s h a l l say t h a t he saw me bowed." H i s s p i r i t b r e a k s a f t e r he has b u r i e d h i s sons, b u t the g r e a t g i f t o f t h e P a t e s , the s k i l l t o s i n g o f h i s s o r r o w s , g i v e s him back h i s c o u r a g e , and he i s r e a d y t o t a k e h i s revenge. He i s a w o n d e r f u l o l d man, h a s t y o f temper, y e t k i n d and t h o u g h t f u l , a b r a ve w a r r i o r , a t e n d e r f a t h e r and a g i f t e d s k a l d . I b s e n hoped, by d e p i c t i n g t h e s e brave rugged c h a r a c t e r s i n h i s drama, t o rouse h i s p e o p l e from l e t h a r g i c i m i t a t i v e emotions t o genuine n a t i o n a l f e e l i n g . So he showed- them t h i s t r a g i c c o n f l i c t from the l i f e o f t h e i r a n c e s t o r s . A t f i r s t t h e S c a n d i n a v i a n p u b l i c d i d not take k i n d l y t o h i s p l a y . Many o f the p e o p l e were t o o f a m i l i a r w i t h and had l o v e d the sagas too l o n g , t o e n j o y s e e i n g p i e c e s o f v a r i o u s ones welded i n t o a new shape by a young p o e t ' s i m a g i n a t i o n . They m i s s e d th e m y t h i c a l elements, t o o , the gods and the f i e r y dragon which f o r g r e a t e r r e a l i s m had been r e p l a c e d by a f i e r c e w h i t e b e a r . At f i r s t t h e y c o u l d see l i t t l e t h a t was h e r o i c about the deeds o f t hese men, and H i B r d i s , w i t h h e r p r i m i t i v e , p a s s i o n a t e n a t u r e , was d i f f i c u l t t o comprehend. But l a t e r , when Ibsen's I . I b s e n , I I , 66. s o c i a l dramas were a t t h e i r h e i g h t , c r i t i c s began t o see the v a l u e i n t h i s e a r l y p l a y o f his . The k e r n e l s of many o f h i s l a t e r i d e a s a re t o be found i n "The V i k i n g s a t he 1geland." The drama i s , s i m p l y , the d r a m a t i z a t i o n o f a l i e . I b s e n s t r e s s e s i n h i s l a t e r p u r e l y s o c i a l dramas the v i t a l n e c e s s i t y o f t r u t h as the fundamental b a s i s o f a l l human r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I n "The V i k i n g s " he i s a l r e a d y p o i n t i n g t h i s o u t ; Gunnar won h i s b r i d e t h r o u g h t r i c k e r y , and a m a r r i a g e b u i l t on such a f o u n d a t i o n cannot l a s t . I b s e n p o i n t s o u t , moreover, the t r a g e d i e s t h a t r e s u l t as c i v i l i z a t i o n p r o g r e s s e s . S i g u r d has adopted the C h r i s t i a n f a i t h , w h i l e H i B r d i s , who would f o l l o w h i m anywhere, cannot go w i t h h im i n t o t h i s w o r l d , because she i s an out-and-out pagan. And, as has been p o i n t e d out b e f o r e , Ibsen's i d e a , t h a t a s t r o n g man i s f r e q u e n t l y i n f l u e n c e d by two k i n d s o f women, i s found i n the s i t u a t i o n between S i g u r d , H i B r d i s and Dagny. The f i g u r e o f H i B r d i s r e p r e s e n t s h i s t h e o r y t h a t n e i t h e r uncompromising p a s s i o n n o r uncompromising w i l l c a n c o - e x i s t w i t h o r g a n i z e d s o c i e t y . These s o c i a l problems, which I b s e n d e v e l o p e d more f u l l y i n h i s l a t e r dramas, are s e t , I n "The V i k i n g s " , i n a r o m a n t i c atmosphere. The time o f the drama i s a stormy snow-grey w i n -t e r day; two o f the a c t s are on the r o c k y s e a - c l i f f s , two i n Gunnar's d a r k f e a s t - r o o m . The scene i s n o r t h e r n Norway, where "each n i g h t i s a whole w i n t e r l o n g " . I t i s a p e r f e c t r o m a n t i c s e t t i n g f o r such a p l a y . Storms o c c u r a t f i t t i n g p a r t s i n the a c t i o n , most n o t a b l y i n the l a s t a c t , i n the scene between H i B r d i s and S i g u r d . The V a l k y r i e s , r i d i n g t o V a l h a l , a r e , a c c o r d i n g t o t r a d i t i o n , always announced by the storm. I b s e n a l l o w s h i m s e l f t h i s one t o u c h o f s u p e r n a t u r a l imagery a t the end, when the c h i l d E g i l has a v i s i o n o f h i s mother l e a d i n g the w i l d r i d e t o V a l h a l . As has been s a i d b e f o r e , t h i s p l a y o f Ibsen's i s a p r o d u c t o f a t r a n s i t i o n p e r i o d between h i s p u r e l y r o m a n t i c and h i s s o c i a l dramas, and i t I s v e r y n a t u r a l l y , s t r o n g l y under the i n f l u e n c e o f b o t h these p o i n t s o f view. Hebbel's p l a y , on the o t h e r hand, i s p u r e l y p s y c h o l o g i c a l . H i s purpose was t o make r e l i v e i n the h e a r t s o f the German p e o p l e , the most v a l u a b l e r e l i c o f t h e i r m e d i a e v a l l i t e r a t u r e , the N i b e l u n g e n -l i e d , c h a n g i n g i t as l i t t l e as p o s s i b l e and t h e n o n l y t o make i t p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e t o the modern r e a d e r . Wagner, however, the pure R o m a n t i c i s t , saw i n the o l d myths the e t e r n a l -l y human, and t h e most f i t t i n g symbols f o r the p h i l o s o p h y o f l i f e w h i c h he so s t r o n g l y h e l d a t t h e time he wrote h i s g r e a t t e t r a l o g y . Each poet u s e d a v e h i c l e s u i t e d t o h i s own i d e a s ; H e b b e l , t h e t r a d i t i o n a l i a m b i c , the o n l y p o s s i b l e form, t o him, f o r the r e - w r i t i n g o f a g r e a t e p i c i n d r a m a t i c form; Wagner, a f a n t a s ' t -i c v e r s e o f h i s own making, t h a t c o u l d be sung t o m usic, a l t h o u g h he was m i s l e d by h i s d e s i r e t o reproduce the p r i m i t i v e a t -mosphere i n t o u s i n g t o extreme l e n g t h s the o l d a l l i t e r a t i v e f o r m and a r c h a i c words and e x p r e s s i o n s , which make the t e x t more d i f f i c u l t f o r modern r e a d e r s , w i t h o u t r e a l l y a c h i e v i n g the a r t i s t i c e f f e c t s he d e s i r e d ; I b s e n , s i m p l e l a c o n i c p r o s e , a d m i r a b l y s u i t e d t o h i s r e a l i s t i c and. e t h i c a l t r e a t m e n t o f the o l d sagas. Each poet a c c o m p l i s h e d a g r e a t t a s k . They have g i v e n t o t h e i r p e o p l e , each i n h i s own way, a new a p p r e c i a t i o n 93 and an I n c r e a s e d i n t e r e s t i n the g r e a t monuments o f a n c i e n t t e u t o n i c c u l t u r e . BIBLIOGRAPHY Simroek, K a r l J oseph: Das N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , S t u t t g a r t und Tubingen, 1843, M o r r i s , W i l l i a m : V B l s u n g a Saga, New Y o r k , London and Bombay, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1 9 0 I . H e b b e l , P r i e d r i c h : S a m t l i c h e Werke, B e r l i n , B, Behr's V e r l a g , Wagner, R i c h a r d : Der R i n g des N i b e l u n g e n , E I n z e l - A u s g a b e , M a i n z , B, S c h o t t ' s sBhne. I b s e n , H e n r i k : C o l l e c t e d Works, London, W i l l i a m Heine-mann, 1906, B a r t e l s , A d o l f : C h r i s t i a n F r i e d r i c h H e b b e l , L e i p z i g , P h i l i p p s Reclam j u n . Brandes, George: H e n r i k I b s e n , C r i t i c a l S t u d i e s , New Yo r k , The M a c m i l l a n Co., 1899. C a r l y l e , Thomas: C r i t l c a l and M i s c e l l a n e o u s E s s a y s , New Y o r k , D, A p p l e t o n and Company, 188I. Coar, John F i r m a n : S t u d i e s i n German L i t e r a t u r e i n the N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y , New Y o r k , The Mac-m i l l a n Company, 1903, E l l e r , Wm. H e n r i : I b s e n i n Germany, B o s t o n , R i c h a r d G. Badger, 1918. 95 11. E l l i s , H a v e l o c k : The New S p i r i t , New Y o r k , The Modern L i b r a r y . 12. F r a n c k e , Kuno: S o c i a l F o r c e s i n German L i t e r a t u r e , New Y o r k , Henry H o l t and Company, 1897. 13. Golth.er, Wolfgang: D i e deutsche D i c h t u n g im M i t t e l a l t e r , S t u t t g a r t , J.B. M e t z l e r , 1912. 14. von G o t t s c h a l l , R u d o l f : D i e deutsche N a t i o n a l l i t t e r a t u r des neunzehnten J a h r h u n d e r t s , B r e s l a u , Eduard Trewendt, 1881. 15. H e b b e l , F r i e d r i c h : B r i e f e , B e r l i n , B.Behr's V e r l a g , 1905. 16. H e b b e l , F r i e d r i c h : Tagebucher, B e r l i n , B. Behr's V e r l a g , 1904. 17. Kapp, J u l i u s : Wagner, Deutsche V e r 1 a g s - A n s t a l t , S t u t t g a r t , 1912. 18. Kuh, Em11: B l o g r a p h i e F r i e d r i c h H e b b e l s , Wien und L e i p z i g , W i l h e l m B r a u m u l l e r , 1912. 19. Kummer, F r i e d r i c h : Deutsche L i t e r a t u r g e s c h i c h t e des 19. und 20. J a h r h u n d e r t s , Dresden, C a r l R e i a s n e r , 1924. 20. E u t s c h e r , A r t h u r : F r i e d r i c h . H ebbel, B e r l i n , B.Behr's V e r l a g , 1907. 96 21. L a s s e r r e ; P i e r r e : The S p i r i t o f F r e n c h M u s i c , London, Kegan P a u l , T r e n c h , Trubner and Co., L t d . , 1921. 22. L e r o y , L . A r c l i i e r : Wagner' s Music Drama o f the R i n g , London, N o e l Douglas, 1925. 23. L i c h t e n b e r g e r , H e n r i : R i c h a r d Wagner, Poete e t Penseur, P a r i s , L I b r a i r l e F e l i x A l e a n , I 9 I I . 24. Meyer, R i c h a r d M. : D i e deutsche L l t e r a t u r des neunzehnten J a h r h u n d e r t s , B e r l i n , Georg B o n d i , 1910, 25. Moses, Montrose J . : f i e n r i k I b s e n : The Man and H i s P l a y s , B o s t o n , L i t t l e Brown and Co., 1920. 26. Von Math, R i c h a r d : E i n l e i t u n g i n das N i b e l u n g e n l i e d , P a d e r b o r n , F e r d i n a n d Schoningh, 1907. 27. Newman, E r n e s t : A Study o f Wagner, London, B e r t r a m D o b e l l , 1899. 28. Rehorn, K a r l : Die deutsche Saga von den N i b e l u n g e n i n der deu t s c h e n P o e s i e , F r a n k f u r t am Main, M o r i t z D i e s t e r w e g , 1877. 29. S c h e r e r , W.: A H i s t o r y o f German L i t e r a t u r e , New Y o r k , C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1903. 30. von Schrenck, E r i c h : R i c h a r d W&gner a l s D i c h t e r , Miinchen, C.H. Beck, 1913. 97 31. Shaw, G.B.: The P e r f e c t WagnerIte, London, C o n s t a b l e and Co., L t d . , 1926. 32. W e i t h r e c h t , C a r l : Die N i b e l u n g e n im Modemen Drama, Z u r i c h , F. S c h u l t h e s s , 1892. 33. Weston, J e s s i e L.: The Legends o f t h e Wagner Drama, London, D a v i d N u t t , 1903. 34. W i t k o w s k i : The German Drama o f the N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y , New Y o r k , 1909. 

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