Sunday, June 18, 2006

Wagner's Ring and the Final Contract of the Gods

Dear Fafner,

I wanted to get your perspective on contracts. Sure, there are plenty of lawyers around, but your reputation for getting folks to fulfill their part of the bargain is, well, mythic. Your contract, it seems, was the last of Wotan's great contractual arrangements, his first being with his wife. That and yours and the new order are the things I am thinking about.

Supposedly, marriage was the first great contract. And, it seems to me, the conditions and requirements in Wotan and Fricka's deal were not what I would expect or want. I suppose that's because I'm from the new order. Wotan and Fricka were bound to each other just as were Zeus and Hera. Obviously fidelity was not a part of the obligation, so what were they obligated to do? Were they simply promising to create progeny for the Gods? Perhaps they were promising not to kill each other. Was Valhalla part of that deal too? If Wotan was obligated to provide a home, Valhalla, for Fricka, then the whole schema fits together for me. Wotan sells out love and youth (hence immortality) to fulfill the primary contract.

Valhalla Motive

Failing to provide an emotional home for Fricka, he provided a castle in the sky, a materialist's dream of the superlative abode, the golden treasure at the end of the rainbow. Wotan, in utter disregard for real relationship, engages in pretty illicit traffic when he promises to pay for Valhalla with Freia as his currency.

I surely don't want to offend you, but did you know what you were getting? Were you tempted just by Golden Apples or did you really want love with all its demands and tragedy. Poor Fasolt fell in love right away and it was his demise. I don't know if Wotan or Fricka ever really had a clue about the love thing, though Fricka does seem to have at least a sibling style love for Freia. Otherwise, though, she appears to be a true victim/victimizer operating in the patriarchal system, passing on her pain and kicking the dog. But I digress to the issues of feminism here. I really mean to just study the terms of the contracts.

The giants' theme makes me feel that you didn't quite know what was happening. With apologies to the Norns, I hate the word fate because I don't live in the world of the fates. But these notes are so fateful in nature to me.

Giants' Motive

Maybe falling in love is where we touch fingers with the fates. Yes, I recognize that theme from daily life--not every day, thankfully. Oh, but it does take a weighty stack of gold, a penultimate prize, to sell out love. Even Wotan knows he's made a bad deal with the loss of Freia.

I wanted to ask about one more contract, or broken contract. It is Brunnhilde who dared to break contract with her father, and she ends up in flames. Brunnhilde gives up everything, except her beautiful steed Grane (understandable), for love. She is alone, totally devoid of her deity, no longer daughter of Wotan (heaven) or Erda (earth), but daughter of love, true not to contract but true to love and relationship. I'm not sure Wagner had this all together. I think he is confused about the integrity of love apart from passion/sex. But I do think Brunnhilde has gone on beyond passion to a form of loving that is higher. In that she becomes the final mythic hero.
Redemption through Love Motive

What do you think? Could you put on Tarnhelm one more time and become Erda, the wisest person in the world and tell me if love is the final contract?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Betsy

PS: Most interesting informations at the The Wagner Experience.

4 comments:

Anne G G said...

I think it's funny no one's commented on this yet, which I think is because it's beyond us all . . . mother dear, you're so brilliant.

All my love.

brd said...

Oh dear, no. My favorite post was the dinnerplates one, but no one commented on that either. But that one certainly was of a more private topic anyhow.

I'm waiting for your next post!

Anne G G said...

Hey, I just posted briefly, but it's good news, so you might as well read it. Hooray!

Conversely said...

I've been trying to respond, but I have failed. I'll keep trying. Oh! I did it!