Richard Wagner on his way to vegetarianism

Richard Wagner on his way to vegetarianism   Wilhelm Richard Wagner is known as german romantic composer, who's had a great influenc...

Richard Wagner on his way to vegetarianism 

Wilhelm Richard Wagner is known as german romantic composer, who's had a great influence on european cultural heritage.
Wagner was always staying on vegetarianism position, but he used to say : " the only successful way of vegetarianism is closely connected with one's sense of ethical vegetarian origin ". And because of this, he was reaching complete renunciation of meat, during his whole life. And so, in this article, we'll try to track the path of Wagner's philosophy evolution.

Let's start with a quote from " Richard Wagner's artworks theosophy " , written by William Ashton. According to Ellis, a friend of Wagner's " Richard was basically vegetarian, but practically, neither his health nor advices of his doctors, have not allowed him to stay an absolute vegetarian . "
His most familiar siblings : Winifred and Siegfried Wagner, also used to say that composer's health troubled by hearth- illness and eczema on his face, in the same way they saw Wagner's helpless vegetarianism.  The next citation from the letter to Mathilde Wesendock dedicated to year 1858 ( Of Richard Wagner's selected letters )

" Recently, when I've been walking outside, I've noticed a shop, I've just stared on it's windows, full
 of different meat products, careful and savory speaded on a glass case. Then I've took a look on a man, staying aside, who was busy of electing the most mouse- watering chicken, and at the same time the other man has just pulled his hand to a cage, caught a living chicken and broke it's neck. The horrible cry of an animal, it's dying moan are filling my soul with a terror. After this case, I can't get off this impression, that comes back to me so often. This endless void of cruel suffering, that cary our nonchalant being is a nightmare . Since this I just can't stop feeling this way, despite I've already experienced it earlier. It's dreadful to see that our life, that, mostly, consist of pleasure, is based on the abyss of the brutal anquish! It was obvious for me from the very beginning.

In her " My way ", a singer Lilly Leman has wrote of her first visit to Richard Wagner to Bayreuth, for collective rehearsal in year 1875, the book tell us : " Me and Wagner, have stopped for a lunch, and, during the meal, he has talked a lot of vegetarianism. He said, that he would like to accept the whole of vegetarianism, but his doctor was against it. After it all, I'm sure, that Wagner, really could find the way to live in the absolute vegetarianism. I, myself, have accepted a complete vegetarian diet two years later, after professors Karl Klindworth and Eugen d'Albert have recommended it for me. I should recognize, that I have become incredibly tranquil emotionally. I've stopped to worry before my concerts and in some domestic cases. I've become strong and healthy again. Through vegetarianism, in my 83, I'm still possible to use the whole of my physical and mental skills. I'm strictly vegetarian, use to eat not a lot and I feel great, in spite of my work in theatre.

The last opera " Parsifal ", written in year 1882, could consist some elements of his views on the animal's rights.
( The call could be heard from the lakeside )

Ho! Guards! Ho! Knights!
The enemy approaches!

( Hurnemanz and four pages jump off their places and look around in scariness. The wild swan is wounded, he makes a great effort to keep his wings on flight, but, finally, he falls to the ground, dead. His appearance is followed with exclamations of people )

What is there?
Here! - Ia swan! A wild swan! It's wounded!

Another pages and knights ( running from the lakeside )
Alas! Alas!

Who shot the swan?

The second knight ( coming closer )
The king hailed it as a happy omen
 when the swan circled over the lake;
 then an arrow flew...

It was he! He shot it! Here's his bow!
Here's the arrow, like his.

(to Parsifal)

Are you the one who killed this swan?

Indeed! Whatever flies I can hit in flight!

You did this? And you're not worried by the deed?

Punish the offender!


Unprecedented act!

You could murder, here in the holy forest,

where tranquil peace surrounded you?

Did not the woodland beasts tamely come near

and innocently greet you as friends?

What did the birds sing to you from the branches?

What harm did that faithful swan do you?

Seeking his mate, he flew up

to circle with it over the lake

and gloriously to hallow the bath.

This did not impress you? It but tempted you

to a wild childish shot from your bow?

He was pleasing to us: what is he now to you?

Here look! Here you struck him,

the blood still congealing, the wings drooping lifeless,

the snowy plumage stained dark,

the eyes glazed do you see his look?

(Parsifal has followed Gurnemanz with growing emotion; now he breaks his bow and hurls his arrows away)

Soon Wagner would write his new " die Feen " opera, where he'd say :" You, hunters!

You, those, who blow the Horn!

I see the beast exhausted is,

By staying on your way!

The arrow meets it's target.

Oh, have you saw it's flight?

You'll say :" " it's good to be my trophy! "

But, if you notice, the beast can cry.

The tear bleak in it's eye!

It looks on me, with sight,

that' s full of sorrow!

Let us have a look on a moment from Cosima Wagner diaries: " Richard used to say, that when he was young, he have travelled to a hunting in Czech. He has made a " blind shot " and, his hunt- mates told, that he shot hare's leg. In the end of the hunting process, the dog spotted and grabbed the animal to hunters. The hare's weeping, this dread has fulfilled his heart. The people asked him to take his trophy, but Wagner has swore, that he would never join hunt again.

Also Richard Wagner has manifested again vivisection and joined anti-vivisection groups in Dresden, 1879. " the thoughts of suffering bring confusion and horror to my soul. We must fight to reach the complete abandon of this slaughter , and we will reach our goal. Taking care of their own interests, our opponents - vivisectors should fear us, when they see as people rise against them with the weapons in their hands. The difficulties of our way should bot led us into doubts. If the animal- experiments would be stopped with the reason of sympathy to the nature - the humanity would make a great step into great future! ( The letter to Ernst von Weber . 19 october )

In the last years of his life, the great composer has completely rejected meat- eating. In the year 1880 he has wrote in his " Religion and art " essay, that is connected with meat- rejecting problem. In the vegetarian study , he see a way to reborn of the new, better human. Also Wagner pays attention to christianity's false moral. It's pretty easy to notice, that the same thoughts could be find in the national- socialists ideology, in which Wagner is widely known and welcomed as a positive- thinking person. Even after Wagner's demise, followers of National- Socialism, have stay in the familiar communication with composer's closest relatives and helped them with organizing Bayreuth festival, in the name of Richard Wagner.

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