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Wagner opera and political parallel

I was interested in the points raised by Cadogan West (Write Back, May 1) regarding the declining state of politics in Northern Ireland and the allegory contained within Wagner's music drama Parsifal.

After many years studying Parsifal, the three most important messages that I have found in the opera are each derived from the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, in particular his essay On the Basis of Morality.

The primary purpose of the drama is to convey to the audience the importance of compassion - which is the only true basis for morality, according to Schopenhauer. This teaching was accepted by his disciple, Richard Wagner.

It is through compassion for the suffering of other beings that the fool acquires wisdom and becomes a sage. It is through the perfection of wisdom that he is able to bring salvation.

So, the ethical message of the work is: injure no one; on the contrary, help others as much as possible. This formula becomes, in Parsifal, the teaching of the Grail.

Perhaps a suitable humble and penitent leader will emerge after the General Election to redeem the Assembly, as Cadogan West suggests.

We all live in hope.

REGINALD MUSGRAVE

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