Parsival’s swan

The moment when the swan (cynge) becomes the signal (signe), then the sign becomes meaningfull. For this reason it is a crime in England to kill swans. Because by killing a swan, you also kill the sign and therefore you lose a deaper meaning to life. This becomes clear in Wagners Parsifal: when the unconscious Parsifal kills the swan, he is severely punished for this crime. But interestingly, killing the swan is his nadir and afterwards he learns to feel pain, regret and compassion.

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