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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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Love, Death, and Redemption

Love, Death, and Redemption

(p.177) Seven Love, Death, and Redemption
Death-Devoted Heart


Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that in Tristan und Isolde the victims themselves are redeemed, and this redemption is to be thought of as a purely human achievement involving no miracles, no supernatural powers, no transubstantiation, but merely the aura of seclusion and inviolability that attaches naturally to the object of erotic love. It discusses the underlying religious message of Tristan und Isolde. When writing of the “redemption” achieved by his lovers, Wagner is using this term in its true religious sense, to mean a regaining of the sacred in a world where sacrilege is the prevailing danger.

Keywords:   Wagner, Tristan und Isolde, ritual sacrifice, redemption

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