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Death-Devoted HeartSex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde$
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Roger Scruton

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195166910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166910.001.0001

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The Philosophy of Love

The Philosophy of Love

(p.119) Five The Philosophy of Love
Death-Devoted Heart


Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that in Tristan und Isolde Wagner wished to reawaken in us the knowledge that the erotic is fundamental to the human condition, an aspect of our freedom, and an avenue to redemption. The structure of his drama is dictated by this goal: the lovers are cut off from marriage; and already, at the outset of the drama, it is too late for renunciation. All they can do is confront the sacred moment, to acknowledge that their love must find its goal and its vindication here and now or not at all. In confronting the moment, they prepare themselves for death.

Keywords:   Wagner, Tristan und Isolde, erotic love, Kant

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