Brünhilde's Transformation: Leitmotifs and Love in Wagner's Die Walküre

Estetika 49 (2):179-190 (2012)

Authors
Kalle Puolakka
University of Helsinki
Abstract
Many philosophers have devoted a lot of attention to the work of Richard Wagner. This article provides philosophical accounts of two important aspects of Wagner’s most ambitious work, the tetralogy Ring of the Nibelung. First, I examine how the musical device developed by Wagner known as the leitmotif functions in Act 1 of the second opera of Wagner’s Ring, Die Walküre, through the analysis of leitmotifs presented by Roger Scruton. I shall focus particularly on the perspective that the use of this musical device provides on the love between the siblings Siegmund and Sieglinde depicted in the act. My belief is that Scruton’s account of leitmotifs helps to explain the unique character that has been attributed to this act. The second part of the article presents a more detailed examination of the significance of the love between Siegmund and Sieglinde for The Ring. Besides Scruton’s views, the interpretation of The Ring by Philip Kitcher and Richard Schacht will have an important role in this examination
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