Studies in the Wagnerian Drama

By Henry Edward Krehbiel | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER IV.
"DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN."

THE common error of looking upon the out. ward covering of things for the things themselves has led to the real plot of Wagner's tetralogical drama "The Niblung's Ring" being overlooked by the majority of persons who have written about it. Especially has the significance of the prologue to the tragedy failed of appreciation. I shall try to tell what I conceive to be the true story of the tragedy, and at least hint at the meaning which that story had when it came into the mind of the sagaman and myth-maker ages ago, which meaning, morever, Richard Wagner, unlike his modern predecessors among the poets who have treated the subject, apprehended and conserved.

It is a pretty solemn fact that unless this tragedy in four parts be approached with other aims than mere diversion, much will be found in it that appears ridiculous to the judgment, no matter how it affects the senses. To some it may seem a fatal confession to say that sincere and sufficient enjoyment of "The Niblung's Ring" is only to be had by persons willing to let critical judgment

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