Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Lamont School of Music

First Advisor

John J. Sheinbaum, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gregory Robbins, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jonathan Leathwood


Duality, Leitmotif, Siegfried, Wagner


The character Siegfried, much like the whole of Richard Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung, is open to interpretation by scholars and critics from a variety of different perspectives. Although these interpretations often reflect the historical, political, and cultural circumstances of their times, they nevertheless claim some legitimacy by appealing to the musical and dramatic texts of the Ring for evidence. This thesis examines Wagner's conception of Siegfried and different historical perceptions of the character, discusses ambiguity both in the drama and in the music itself, and suggests a reading of Siegfried as having a dual purpose: that of a concrete, free-willed agent (the Man) and that of an idealized hero serving a necessary role in the larger context of the drama (the Idea). The thesis concludes with a four-part analysis of Siegfried Act III, Scene ii that compares four readings of the character, three supporting different historical readings and one grounded in the Man/Idea duality.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Elizabeth Mary Szott


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

93 p.



Included in

Music Commons