>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
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.
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