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Thread: Lohengrin: Misogyny, Bigotry and a distinct lack of compassion.

  1. #76
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    The OP asked about the misogyny, bigotry and lack of compassion in the opera. The obvious answer is that they come from Wagner himself as he wrote both the libretto and the music. I can’t see why people are debating that. There is no other source. he put them there. They are a reflection of his ideals
    I’m not saying the ideas in the opera don’t come from Wagner. I’m saying that they aren’t even there. There is no misigynism in Lohengrin which is also proved by the fact that Wagner was not a misogynist at least based on what I wrote in my post. Elsa was a redeeming character.
    Last edited by annaw; Aug-14-2020 at 07:53.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    OK, I'll put in my opinion about the OP.

    1. Misogyny

    Lohengrin's conditions are not his own. They are imposed on him by his service to the grail. Without knowing this, it looks mysterious, but these are the conditions that are to be obeyed. Lohengrin wants to be with Elsa. He most certainly is full of anxiety that Elsa will ask the questions. Indeed there is much pressure on her and the odd condition placed on her naturally makes her uncomfortable. Lohengrin knows this. Thus, his insistence, though it may look ridiculous, is understandable. That quote brought up in the OP is not relevant. The reason to worry about Elsa's faith is not because she is a woman, but because she is understandably under a lot of pressure. Given the unusual circumstances, things could go wrong easily. This isn't misogyny. It's anxiety about a touchy situation going wrong.

    2. Bigotry

    I'm not sure that this idea applies. The OP mentions religious tolerance, but that's not the problem. It's not Ortrud's religion that isn't being tolerated (though it probably isn't, considering the setting) as much as it is her actions that aren't tolerated. Ortrud is plotting to takeover Brabant, intentionally deceiving Telramund to falsely accuse Elsa of murder, and turned the duke into a swan. Gottfried is presumably a child. By turning him into a swan, Ortrud is putting his life in danger. He could easily have been killed by a hunter or wild animals. As a swan, he's practically dead, and he likely would have been if he had not come under the authority of the Grail. So basically, Ortrud is endangering a child on top of her other schemes. Ortrud is not the victim here.

    3. Lack of compassion.

    Lohengrin did not punish Elsa. She brought punishment upon herself. Lohengrin was under command of the Grail to leave if his name, origin, and place from whence he came were asked of him by Elsa. Perhaps one might ask, "Why doesn't he just stay?" Recall that he tells Heinrich that he would have his human strength taken away were he to go to battle while breaking the command of the Grail. This would imply consequences for not following orders. Who knows what having one's human strength (or manly strength as translations may say) taken away entails. Plus, Lohengrin strikes me as man of duty. As for Telramund, Lohengrin did indeed show him compassion by sparing his life in the first act. As for his banishment, I may give you that one. But picture yourself in Lohengrin's position in the third act: you are in your private quarters at night with your newly-wedded wife. Suddenly, five men sneak in on you armed. One of them comes at you with his sword raised. Whether or not that situation calls for mercy is one discussion, but can you really blame Lohengrin? I discussed him leaving without freeing Gottfried above. As I surmise, it's likely that Lohengrin was unaware of being able to break the curse early.

    So overall, I don't agree with the OP. Lohengrin, though he still may be human, strikes me as a generally good person. He is a man of duty and is not without compassion. I don't see him as misogynist. He really seemed to love Elsa and wanted to stay with her, but sacred duty prevented that.
    Last edited by adriesba; Aug-14-2020 at 08:10.

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  5. #78
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    I’m not saying the ideas in the opera don’t come from Wagner. I’m saying that they aren’t even there. There is no misigynism in Lohengrin which is also proved by the fact that Wagner was not a misogynist at least based on what I wrote in my post. Elsa was a redeeming character.
    Or a misogynist? The way he treated women?

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Or a misogynist? The way he treated women?
    I believe the people to ask about Wagner's "misogyny" are Minna Planer, Mathilde Wesendonck, and Cosima Liszt von Bulow.

    Got anything for us, or just mouthing off for effect, as usual?

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Or a misogynist? The way he treated women?
    Wagner in opera and Wagner in daily life seemed to be somewhat different characters. Tbh, the way Wagner treated women seemed to come from different shortcomings, not misogynism. Wouldn't it make sense that he just loved women too much ? He really didn't seem to hate them...

    I brought up the reasons why I think Lohengrin, actually any of his operas, isn't misogynistic. If you disagree, then show me where I'm wrong.
    Last edited by annaw; Aug-14-2020 at 10:20.

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  10. #81
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Wagner in opera and Wagner in daily life seemed to be somewhat different characters. Tbh, the way Wagner treated women seemed to come from different shortcomings, not misogynism. Wouldn't it make sense that he just loved women too much ? He really didn't seem to hate them...

    I brought up the reasons why I think Lohengrin, actually any of his operas, isn't misogynistic. If you disagree, then show me where I'm wrong.
    He didn’t love women. He was infatuated by them Which is somewhat different. True love is based on self-giving. All Wagner knew was self adoration.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    I’m not saying the ideas in the opera don’t come from Wagner. I’m saying that they aren’t even there. There is no misigynism in Lohengrin which is also proved by the fact that Wagner was not a misogynist at least based on what I wrote in my post. Elsa was a redeeming character.
    All true. but truth matters so little to some people, annaw. They come here to indulge their sad little egos, not to think, inform and be informed. DavidA gets his kicks by throwing wrenches into the spokes of turning wheels. His claim that misogyny is a reflection of Wagner's ideals is a fabrication, and he knows it. But it made you respond, so he got the attention he wanted.

    Two-year-olds get attention by throwing tantrums, and some people never lose the knack or the need.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Aug-14-2020 at 15:58.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    He didn’t love women. He was infatuated by them Which is somewhat different. True love is based on self-giving. All Wagner knew was self adoration.
    I repeat: ask the women in his life if self-adoration was "all he knew."

    Wagner was NOT a misogynist, and I believe he had a closeness to the "feminine" side of his own nature, exceptional for a man in his culture, which gave him an empathy with women which was part of his appeal to them. It also allowed him to create strong, sympathetic and sometimes heroic female characters who were often more interesting than their male counterparts. I see less respect for women in the operas of Mozart, Verdi and Puccini.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Aug-14-2020 at 09:19.

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    See people who start Wagner threads!!! I'd shoot the lot of them

    All you end up with is the usual suspect putting his or her unwanted tuppenceworth in.

    In the words of the bard "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"

    I apologise for starting this thread and I will endeavour to never start another Wagner thread.

    Instead I'm going to devote my time to pulling apart Mozart operas.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!’

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    I for one have learnt a lot in this thread even if I might still disagree with other members.

    But what is fascinating his how different people view everything.

    But I think most of us can atleast agree that as a work Lohengrin is sublime.

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  19. #86
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    See people who start Wagner threads!!! I'd shoot the lot of them

    All you end up with is the usual suspect putting his or her unwanted tuppenceworth in.

    In the words of the bard "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"

    I apologise for starting this thread and I will endeavour to never start another Wagner thread.

    Instead I'm going to devote my time to pulling apart Mozart operas.
    Funny when people ask the question and they get the obvious answer!
    Last edited by DavidA; Aug-14-2020 at 10:27.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    See people who start Wagner threads!!! I'd shoot the lot of them

    All you end up with is the usual suspect putting his or her unwanted tuppenceworth in.

    In the words of the bard "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"

    I apologise for starting this thread and I will endeavour to never start another Wagner thread.

    Instead I'm going to devote my time to pulling apart Mozart operas.
    Start more! I've been watching discussion on this thread and a Wagner thread I started. Going back and forth between the two threads, I was very entertained, lol.

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    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    If we take Cosi fan tutte and Don Giovanni uncritically as reflections of the composer's attitude towards women, the picture is dark indeed. Throw in the racism and sexism of Zauberflote and Mozart is headed for cancellation. I mean, honestly, all that stuff is the least interesting part of a work. Everybody has their faults and prejudices. Puccini had racist views of Native Americans. They show up briefly in Fanciulla. Does that mean that that's all the opera is? Does that mean everything needs to be interpreted through the lens of race, sex, oppression etc.? Why would we take the lowest and basest aspect of great works of art, and throw out the noble, elevated aspects of those works? Mozart, Puccini, and Wagner also had very interesting, important, beautiful things to contribute. We should, while acknowledging their humanity and mistakes, as we too are human and probably just as flawed as they were, focus on what they can teach us about a deeper, fuller human nature.

    I will reiterate my point from before. Lohengrin's condition that Elsa not ask his name has nothing to do with Lohengrin. It's not a personality trait or a quirk. It doesn't bespeak insecurity or misogyny. It's a symbolic action which drives the plot. That's the point. It's like a parable. The fig tree story isn't a reflection on Jesus' personality. He just randomly gets mad at a tree that wouldn't give him fruit out of season? "Let's talk about the vindictiveness and pettiness of the character of Jesus." That's not the point. The point is that the fig tree symbolizes something, so its inability to bear fruit and Jesus' reaction are also symbolic and should be treated as symbolic events not normal, literal plot events. Trying to analyze Jesus psychology because of the fig tree and determining if he's got a problem with anti-fig bias is totally irrelevant. (This isn't an attempt reintroduce certain previous lines of discussion. It's purely an example of how metaphor/allegory works in certain types of stories.)

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    The prosecution withdraws its allegations m’lud. No further witnesses.

    But it did ruffle a few feathers, didn’t it?
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Aug-15-2020 at 09:09.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!’

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  26. #90
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    The prosecution withdraws its allegations m’lud. No further witnesses.

    But it did ruffle a few feathers, didn’t it?
    Yours I think, Mr Prosecutor!

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