This is entry #73 in our ongoing 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.
Philosopher: Kenny Easwaran, Texas A&M University
Artwork: Richard Wagner, Die Walküre, 1852 (Libretto), 1870 (First Performance), 2020 (Social Distanced version)
Opera/Music/Drama/Gesamtkustwerk, second of four in the cycle “Der Ring des Nibelungen“
Words: The opera cycle begins with the powers of wealth and law forged in the destruction of nature and forswearing of love. It ends with the destruction of these powers as love returns to nature. This second opera focuses in particular on the ways in which plans and power distribute our agency through the self and others, and the ways one part of the self punishes another for carrying out its will in violation of its laws. The punishment is submission to a third. The philosophy, music, text, and staging are intertwined throughout. Socialist, anti-semitic, proto-feminist? All of the above.