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Subject: Re: Do the Rhinemaidens [Deserve] the Gold?
From: Helene Kaplan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:=?windows-1252?Q?Helene_Kaplan?= <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 15 Nov 2006 14:08:31 -0500
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>As others have pointed out, there are no "conditions" for obtaining the
>gold. Alberich stole it from the Rhinemaidens' guardianship. Granted,
>they didn't do much to protect it, but it was not his to take and
>"finders, keepers" does not apply. He observed the conditions for using
>it, but that's like saying he cashed it in - hardly justification for 
theft.

I agree, because I think when the Rhinemaidens say that the only one who 
can take the gold is someone who renounces love, it's like saying the only 
one who can break into the mint is someone with a particular type of 
weapon.  It doesn't make it legal, but it points to the strength and 
sometimes savagery needed to perform a specific act.

I also don't think that Wotan's "bait-and-switch" attempt is illegal.  
Sleazy, perhaps, because he always expected a way out, but making a 
counter-offer to an existing contract is legal (assuming the terms are 
legal).  Wotan understands, though, that he must fulfill the terms of the 
original contract if he can't convince the giants to accept a counter-
offer, and he ultimately does not fight the giants when they hold Freia as 
security, in case he can't deliver the gold by the deadline.  

I've always wondered, though, why when after the giants do their first 
inspection and agree that the pile of gold and the Tarnhelm are enough, 
and say the deal is done, that Fasolt is then able to do another 
inspection, and reneg the original acceptance by demanding the ring to 
cover Freia's eye.  I would have said, "sorry, but you already accepted," 
but I wonder what the legal principal behind allowing the change was.  (Or 
have all the supertitles I've seen been inaccurate?)

Contracting Freia in the first place, to me is the act that should be 
illegal, but I thought one of Wagner's points in the Ring is how women are 
treated under the law as property in his depiction of the fates of both 
the goddess Freia and the mortal Sieglinde.

Helene Kaplan
Seattle, WA

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