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On beliefs and motives in Richard Wagner's Lohengrin

Chrissochoidis, I.; Huck, S.; (2010) On beliefs and motives in Richard Wagner's Lohengrin. (ELSE Working Papers 375). ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Once Wagner’s most popular opera, Lohengrin has suffered scholarly neglect in the postwar period. This essay reengages with the work from the novel perspective of game theory analysis. Centering on Elsa’s breach of the Frageverbot, it offers a rigorous epistemological study of the opera’s main characters. Against traditional interpretations of the heroine’s fatal decision, we propose a complex and psychologically more satisfactory account. Elsa asks the forbidden question because she needs to confirm Lohengrin’s belief in her innocence, a belief that Ortrud successfully eroded in Act II. This novel interpretation reveals Elsa as a rational individual, upgrades the dramatic significance of the Act I combat scene, and signals a hermeneutic return to the heart of opera criticism, the drama itself.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: On beliefs and motives in Richard Wagner's Lohengrin
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://else.econ.ucl.ac.uk/newweb/papers.php#2010
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/19482
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