Siegfried, WWV86C, Act 2, Scene 2, Siegfried, Mime, (Fafner)

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But Siegfrieds Tod was burdened by extended moments of static, explanatory narrative, and Wagner's dramaturgical instincts ultimately led him to write three works that would precede the tragedy of Siegfried's fall. The character of Siegfried was, thus, the generative impulse behind Wagner's cycle and is central to its dramaturgy. The opera Siegfried focuses upon the upbringing and, more importantly, the coming of age of this pivotal character. His first attempt to consolidate his readings into drama appears in The Nibelung-Myth as a Plan for Drama , finished 4 October With this general plan in place, he then wrote a prose-draft and libretto for Siegfrieds Tod later that year, revising the libretto several times later in and in It appears in Strobel, Skizzen, 69 ff.

Translation mine and from Selected Letters of Richard Wagner , trans. Spencer , S. New York : W. Norton , : My emphasis. Translation from Selected Letters , Magoun , Francis P. Wagner merged this story with elements from the other sources to provide the comic, fairy-tale atmosphere of Der junge Siegfried. Translation from Selected Letters , —8. Bruckmann , , II: Translation from Wagner , Richard , My Life , trans. Gray , Andrew , ed. For example, in a Haydn symphonic finale in rondo form, the intial A section would be in miniature ternary form aba' , and later returns of the A section might contain only the a section, and omit the ba' continuation.

The return of only the Dragon or Giants component of Refrain later in Act II in the present analytical model is analogous to this partial return of A in earlier refrain-based forms. The version of this motif that appears throughout Act II of Siegfried as my Refrain 1d is usually the latter of these two versions, although it, too, is occasionally transposed. Lorenz analyses Alberich's scenes as a Bogen arch and McCreless divides the scene into three sections, each containing a different refrain. Barry Millington and Stuart Spencer see n. Ich freue mich darauf nun ganz dabei zu bleiben. My translation.

Thus, at some point between writing the Nibelungsage in October and the prose-draft for Der junge Siegfried in May and June of 85, Wagner established this connection between the dragon and the former giant.

Wagner's Vision: Siegfried (1953)

However, given that Wagner proceeded more or less directly from writing this prose-sketch to the prose-draft, the idea was probably already in place. It should be noted that in Siegfried , for the first time, Wagner completed all three stages — Preliminary Draft, Developed Draft and Full Score — for each act before moving on to the next act. Akt ]. Even if he had not actually resumed composition by 9 July, it seems that he had at least begun thinking about it again.

Translation from Selected Letters , and Translation from Westernhagen , , Forging of the Ring , In what is now bar , Wagner appears to have decided upon the third—sixth alternation, crossing out the parallel thirds and writing in the new figure. Wagner converted bars and from parallel thirds to alternating thirds and sixths not in the Preliminary Draft, but in the Developed Draft, where he had already proceeded with the parallel-third patterns. Thus, Wagner had made the decision to change these figures only when writing out this section in the Developed Draft.

One imitates only if one fails, when one fails. Er sinnt nach.

A stage festival drama for three days and a preliminary evening

Er hat sich mit dem Schwerte ein Rohr abgeschnitten, und schnitzt sich eine Pfeife draus. According to such a mimetic model of language, the signifier and the signified are one and the same. In what follows, I will take the scene with the forest bird as a starting point for an exploration of these and related questions, particularly with reference to Enlightenment theories of the origin of language, in which the figure of mimesis is itself a leitmotif. When we first encounter Siegfried, it is in the company of a large brown bear that he has brought back from the forest in order to torment his adoptive parent, Mime.

Siegfried does not yet know that he is adopted, but he has begun to suspect that he does not belong, and feels more at home in nature among the forest animals. Indeed, it is by observing the natural order of things in the forest that he has come to the conclusion that something is fundamentally amiss at home. Having sent the bear on his way, Siegfried begins to question Mime about the disparity between his domestic situation and that of his animal friends. I will return to this issue later. In other words, he has come one step closer to subjecthood; to fulfilling his destiny and becoming, as it were, himself.

The formation of identity is enacted here through the establishment of difference: where the comparison with birds and foxes fell short with regard to Siegfried himself, he is able to extrapolate the correlation between animals and their young in order to prove that he and Mime cannot be related.

Nevertheless, this act of liberation has cost him the allegiance of his forest friends. Siegfried is having none of it:. This is what Mime has been hiding from him; this is the key to his true identity. He commands Mime to forge it anew for him and storms off into the forest. Mime, however, is left cursing his luck: try as he might, he cannot re-forge the sword. In fact Siegfried is the only one who can re-forge it, because he alone has never experienced fear.

The Nibelung's Ring

He is still learning. And that is where we will leave him for the moment, and instead go even further back and explore the philosophical foundations and implications of this encounter.

It is an acknowledgement of similarity followed by the desire to communicate. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his Essay on the Origin of Languages , posits this moment of recognition as the primus motor for the development of language:. As soon as one man was recognized by another as a sentient, thinking Being, similar to himself, the desire or the need to communicate to him his sentiments and thoughts made him seek the means to do so.

These means can be only be drawn from the senses, the only instruments by which one man can act upon another. The ability to recognise similarity implies the establishment of difference. Here, it seems to me, is a most characteristic difference. Those who, among them, work and live in common, such as Beavers, ants, and bees, have some natural language [ langage ] in order to communicate amongst themselves—I raise no doubt about it.

There is even reason to believe that the language of Beavers and that of ants are in gesture and speak only to the eyes. Be that as it may, precisely because all such languages are natural, they are not acquired; the animals that speak them do so from birth, they all possess them, and everywhere the same one; they do not change them, nor do they make the slightest progress in them.

Conventional language belongs only to man. That is why man makes progress, whether for good or bad, and why the animals do not at all. This single distinction seems to lead a long way.


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Indeed, it would seem that if I am obliged not to harm another being like myself, this is so less because it is a rational being than because it is a sentient being; a quality which, since it is common to beast and man, must at least give the beast the right not to be needlessly maltreated by man. Reason is a product of the passions, which we share with all sentient beings, and the circularity of the above passage points to the difficulty in accounting for the specific differentiating factor.

As for myself, frightened by the increasing difficulties, and convinced of the almost demonstrated impossibility that Languages could have arisen and been established by purely human means, I leave to anyone who wishes to undertake it the discussion of this difficult Problem: which is the more necessary, an already united Society for the institution of Languages, or already invented Languages for the establishment of Society?

Frustrated by the seeming impossibility of a human invention of language, Rousseau goes back to his initial premise of human freedom and perfectibility. Because man has no instinct of his own, he is more adaptable than other animals, even though initially he is the least adapted to his surroundings.

This capacity, however, allows him ultimately to rise still further and assume the position of dominance over all nature that he enjoys today. Is it not that he thus returns to his primitive state and that, whereas the Beast, which has acquired nothing and also has nothing to lose, always keeps its instinct, man again losing through old age and other accidents all that his perfectibility had made him acquire, thus relapses lower than the Beast itself?

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From here it only requires a small step to realise that this trait of perfectibility in fact describes a fundamental lack or deficiency in the human animal, which must be supplemented through language. The supplement of language introduces difference into the equation, disrupting the original harmony that was supposedly there before. Which is to say, even here language is coded as supplemental, an addition as marker of difference.

Because of this supplement, man is the animal that is not an animal. But once this substitution has taken place, there is no turning back.


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A human, stripped of the faculty of speech and, by implication, rational thought is either a sub-human imbecile, lower than any brute, or else, as we shall see in a moment, a monstrous and unnatural hybrid, particularly if this lack is supplemented by means of a too-faithful imitation of the voice of nature.

In all other respects, humans compensated for their lack of natural instincts by imitating the animals around them. By implication then, human language must also have arisen through such animal mimesis, but if human language arose naturally, how is it possible that humans alone have developed the faculty of speech? Man, having an inherent need to make his existence known to the outside world, but lacking an innate means of doing so, imitates the sounds made by his fellow creatures, transforming these inarticulate sounds into words and concepts.

These onomatopoeia then serve as names to designate the individual animals that produced the sounds in the first place. What motivates them to bark and bleat and whinny and meow? Kant does not ponder these questions—when combined with the mimetic faculty, almost automatically gives rise to a desire to order and classify the world and its creatures. But this still does not explain how such mimesis could give rise to language in the first place. For this, we must have recourse to another concept which Kant elsewhere explicitly opposes to imitation, namely, genius. Genius cannot be derived or abstracted from pre-existing rules or laws, but rather constitutes the spirit of originality and innovation.

Secondly, it must be exemplary , i. This original swerve is the signature of genius, but it is not to be copied, lest the overly imitative student succumb to mere aping.


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Even as he goes on to equate the moaning and whimpering of a wounded animal to the painful howls of the hero Philoctetes, he is busy establishing the difference. Mit ihm ist die menschliche Sprache erfunden!

Siegfried, WWV86C, Act 2, Scene 2, Siegfried, Mime, (Fafner)

Herder has a sheep pass by his as-yet speechless human. The soul, in turn, translates this characteristic bleating sound into the name of this creature, quite without the man ever even needing to utter a word, or communicate this idea to another:. This is the birth of language. But this ambiguity is intolerable to Herder, whose theory depends on the unmistakable and irreducible difference between the two.

Such is the danger of mimesis. This is why Herder also rejects the ancient notion that mankind might have learnt to speak by imitating the birds, an idea implicitly espoused by Rousseau in the Essay.

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