Once leader of the world, Wotan has now become a powerless wanderer. He looks on from a distance as his grandson Siegfried grows up to be an untroubled hero in the care of the dwarf Mime. However, Siegfried’s fearlessness is based on a dangerous deficiency. Growing up isolated and lacking any knowledge of history, he destroys anything which gets in his way. This is how he has been raised by Mime, who hopes to use Siegfried to regain his brother Alberich’s ring. However, Siegfried rebels against his foster father and against anyone who opposes him. He intuitively finds his own way to the sleeping Brünnhilde. Here it is his own sexuality that teaches him fear when he sets eyes on a woman. Brünnhilde and Siegfried celebrate their ultimate union with the highest of notes. It appears that the power of love has conquered that of money.
In ‘Siegfried’, Richard Wagner (1813–1883), who consistently hated states and institutions, takes the stance of a revolutionary philosopher along Bakunin’s anarchistic lines, for whom the old order has to be destroyed before a new one can be created. Siegfried breaks all the rules because he has never learned them and simply does not recognize them. Institutionalized rulers are deposed by the laughing grandchildren. The new generation appears to have no interest in the old thirst for power yet allows itself to be exploited, as Wagner goes on to show in ‘Götterdämmerung’.