The Philosophy of Love


in Death-Devoted Heart

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195166910
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863938 | DOI:
The Philosophy of Love

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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

Chapter.  16275 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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