Walt Whitman in "Song Of Myself" once famously said,
Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself.
I am large, I contain multitudes.
Actually I'm quite thin, and there's no one else inside me, certainly not a huge number.
Also, I never contradict myself.
Dylan, like many a quicksilver genius of mercurial temperament and protean generative disposition, is of a contradictory and inconsistent nature. On Tour 78 he liked to say, "I'm a poet first and a musician second", but only as much as he liked to say during the same tour "I'm a musician first and a poet second". In both cases we know what he means, and he's right both times. When he did that advert for Victoria's Secret, was he contradicting his prior disdain for commercials (see Biograph notes) or simply keeping in line with his expressed intent in the sixties to sell ladies' undergarments? Who knows - but he got paid loads to hang around some skimpily dressed models, and that's consistent with not being completely stupid.
On Planet Waves he goes from Dirge (I hate myself for loving you, but I should get over that) to Wedding Song (And if there is eternity I'll love you there again), and even if you think, like Trev does, that Dirge is actually addressed to his audience, it's still a calculated lyrical contrast. On Biograph, as Paul Williams points out, it's great sequencing that a plea for courtroom leniency, Percy's Song, follows straight on from an equally impassioned song expressing disgust at courtroom leniency, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll.
Now, Dylan isn't the narrator in all of his songs (except he is), but I recently heard the Budokan Twist Of Fate - she should have caught me in my prime, she would have stayed with me - and straight away I thought of Spirit On The Water - you think I'm past my prime - let me see what ya got - we could have a whopping good time. The contrast pleased me. I thought it was nice that the older man was the one unbowed by love.
It's an unusually rich and varied catalogue of songs, and just as some songs seem to be sisters, so some will contradict each other. I'm sure that just like Trev you enjoy establishing dialectics between songs. It's nice to compare and contrast, so feel free to do just that!
when bob put out biograph there were no free downloads. that free can give a shock to the system. give you new eyes.
as for dirge and wedding song, people assume they are about the same person but they may not be. in fact he may have done one and then said ooops let me hurry and record that other one.