Synopsis Act III
BY THE RHINE
The Rhinedaughters still long for the gold that was stolen from them. Siegfried appears and they flirt with him and ask for the ring on his finger. When he does decide to give it to them they warn him that it was cursed by the Nibelung, who stole the Rhinegold from them, forged the ring and then lost it. Siegfried is doomed to die, unless he gives it back to them. Their threats leave him unmoved: he refuses to give them the ring. The Rhinedaughters resolve to ask Brünnhilde for help.
Hagen, Gunther and the men arrive. Siegfried tells them that the Rhinedaughters warned him he would die. As Gunther broods gloomily, Hagen asks Siegfried to relate his youthful adventures. He tells them about Mime, Nothung, his fight with Fafner, the birdsong he understood, how he found the ring and helmet and killed Mime. As Siegfried’s memory falters, Hagen offers him a drink. Now Siegfried remembers how he heard about Brünnhilde, how he passed through the fire, awakened her and embraced her.
Hagen points to the ravens that circle over Siegfried and then fly away towards the Rhine. Hagen stabs him in the back, claiming that he has punished perjury. Before he dies, Siegfried remembers when he woke Brünnhilde from sleep.
THE HALL OF THE GIBICHUNGS
Gutrune’s nightmares stop her sleeping. When Siegfried’s corpse is brought in, she turns in fury on Gunther. He blames Hagen, who justifies his action and claims the ring as his reward. Hagen kills Gunther. Brünnhilde intervenes to silence the squabbling.
She has listened to the Rhinedaughters and now understands everything. She orders Siegfried’s funeral pyre to be built and longs to join him in death. She tells Wotan to acknowledge his guilt, his responsibility for Siegfried’s death, adding that Wotan can now rest. She invites the Rhinedaughters to take the ring from her ashes when it has been cleansed by the fire.
Brünnhilde orders the ravens back to Valhalla, taking Loge with them. With her horse, Grane, she goes to meet Siegfried in death. Hagen reaches for the ring but the Rhinedaughters drown him and rescue it. Valhalla and all the gods are destroyed by the fire.