The Wagner Journal

Barry Emslie, The Kiss of the Dragon-Slayer

Barry Emslie, The Kiss of the Dragon-Slayer

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March 2013, Volume 7, Number 1, 22–38.

If there is an archetypal Wagner hero it has to be Siegfried. However, this is not simply because he embodies a good many quintessential German virtues dear to Wagner’s heart (and head) in the mid- and late 1840s; that is, at the time he put aside Friedrich I. (based on a ‘real’ German hero, the emperor Frederick Barbarossa) and via Jesus of Nazareth and ‘The Wibelungs’ came to the earliest work on the Ring. Siegfried is important for a host of other reasons: reasons that go beyond his paradigmatic status as a stage character. Wagner seemed to think that with this hero, and all the baggage and opportunities he brought with him, he had solved a raft of problems to do with making his ideas about Germany and the German national character clear.

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