chapter  3
Music as Natural Language in the Moral Order of Wagner's Ring: Siegfried, Act 2, Scene 3
Pages 21

After Hagen brutally dispatches the hero Siegfried at the climactic moment of the Ring cycle, in Act 3 of Go¨tterda¨mmerung, Gunther and the vassals turn to him aghast and incredulous: ‘Hagen, was thatest du?’ Hagen exculpates himself without hesitation. Unfazed by their horror or by his own villainy, he barks out coarsely: ‘Meineid ra¨chte ich!’ (‘I have avenged perjury’, that is, Siegfried’s broken oath of ‘blood-brotherhood’ to Gunther). Shameful or not, the act is legally sanctioned, as he sees it.