Image Source: http://www.hberlioz.com/paintings/Faust2.jpg.jpg
Caption: "Méphistophélès in Faust’s Study" ~ Artist: Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
HON 250 Students,
This is the entry we'll be using for our 18th Century and Goethe discussions and homework assignments (do not post items due here elsewhere or you may not receive credit!). To complete course assignments, please follow the instructions you were given in class.
I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this . . .
. . . Some of you may find the trailer at the URL link I've posted below interesting. Remember our discussion of how Goethe may have seem "puppet" dramatizations of Faust (more akin to Marlowe's version) as performed by traveling troupes of entertainers during his childhood? A puppet version of Goethe's Faust is now available--it is a "visual interpretation" only (no spoken word). See the trailer here. The digital film is available for rent or purchase from Amazon.com
Also, in our last minute (we ran out of time), I showed you the first five minutes of a very old German film production of Faust (it was silent and subtitled in English). If you are interested in watching the entire film, it is available in 11 parts on YouTube. The first part is available below:
Finally, according to the site "www.watch-movies-online.tv," and IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) the following Czech-French film from 1994 is a "very free adaptation of [Christopher] Marlowe's _Doctor Faustus_, [Johann Wolfgang von] Goethe's _Faust_ and various other treatments of the old legend of the man who sold his soul to the devil. [Jan Svankmajer's] Faust is a nondescript man who, after being lured by a strange map into a sinister puppet theatre, finds himself immersed in an indescribably weird version of the play, blending live actors, clay model animation and giant puppets." It's dubbed in English so, don't worry: no subtitles to read in this version.
Let me know if you watched any of these versions. It will be interesting to compare them to our text.
See you in class,
9 February 2010
For any of you who are interested in the trailers to the film trailers I showed in class today (those with "Faustian Pacts"), please see the following links listed below.
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
Bedazzled Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, (1967)
The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
Bedazzled Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley, (2000)
Faust: Love of the Damned (2001)
Ghost Rider (2007)
A full list of "Faust" renditions and adaptations can be found here: http://www.faust.com/index.php/film/
Posted by lhobbs at November 18, 2012 10:12 AM
HON ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
Faust Entry Ticket #2
Q1) Traditionally, when the devil makes a deal with someone it is usually for them to receive all types of material things and power in exchange for their soul later. Instead, Faust does not make a deal but more of a bet. What was his bet about with the devil? Was this a smart idea? In your opinion did he win?
A1) The bet that Faust made with the devil was that the devil couldn’t make him happy. Unlike most people who are fascinated by ostentatious worldly things, Faust is the opposite. Therefore, his happiness would have to be something more spiritual than a Mercedes Benz. Faust It was a very smart idea because the devil does not possess all-knowing power like God therefore he cannot tell what truly would make Faust happy making it more difficult for him to win the bet, it would be a matter of trial and error. In my opinion Faust did not win the bet because the one person that actual made him happy was taken from him. Neither did the devil win the bet because he failed to satisfy the standards of the bet.
Q2) What is a conflict that is barefacedly portrayed by Faust numerous times in the play? How has this contributed to the play?
A2) The conflict portrayed by Faust repeatedly in the play is man vs self. On numerous occasions throughout the play Faust appears to be very ambivalent about his religion status. At times he seems to be very peaceful and spiritual trying to find his inner self and seek good. In the next few minutes, he is the devil’s right hand man doing deals and trying to corrupt poor Gretchen along with his wreckless lifestyle. Without this, the play would not have been the same and maybe the devil wouldn’t have been able to acquire Faust’s friendship. There would probably be altercations between the devil and Faust. It was very significant to the play to have included this unsure personality so that the audience would not be able to foreshadow the reading and make it a more difficult, worthwhile piece.
Posted by: Antonette Boynes at February 6, 2010 09:06 PM
February 7, 2010
Entry Ticket #2
Question #1: Why do you think Faust is so hasty in making a deal with a stranger that involves the possibility of death?
Answer #1: Faust is unhappy with a life of scholarly learning and studying. After years of mastering many disciplines, he feels as though he knows nothing and has wasted away his time on earth trying to accomplish the impossible. Not only has the world of academia let him down, but the spiritual world as well. He is lacking in faith, and therefore cannot find strength in God to guide him. Mephistopheles tells Faust that he can surely help him find satisfaction in this world and Faust is quick to make a wager. I think Faust’s aggravation and frustration towards his ‘wasted’ life ultimately led him to make haste in joining this stranger in this bet. Faust was bored with his life and longed for excitement that he could no longer find in his books and lectures. Faust’s life is no longer precious to him because he is tormented by the thoughts of his failure. Risking his life, and ultimately losing his soul to the devil, was probably the most invigorating thing Faust had experienced in years.
Question #2: What is the significance of Faust’s meeting Gretchen? What does she symbolize?
Answer #2: I think Gretchen could possibly be symbolizing Faust in his youth, at a time in his life that he longs for now. She symbolizes the time when Faust was young and oblivious to the world because of his duties to the world of knowledge. Gretchen is bound by duty to her mother and has yet to experience the outside world. As the story goes on Gretchen slowly becomes introduced to the world outside her home, falls subject to the pain and suffering she experiences, and leads herself to her own demise. In this case she is still a symbol of Faust, but now a parallel symbol of the man who has wagered his life with the devil because of the stress of his world.
Posted by: Mary Strand at February 8, 2010 11:20 AM
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
9 February 2010
“Blut ist Ein Ganz Besondever Saft”
1. In Goethe’s Faust, Mephisto uses blood to seal the trust he had between himself and Faust. How do people relate blood as a form of trust today similar to their use of bond?
Blood has always been used as a way of showing the bond between two or more people. Like family, blood relation is always used as a reference to the closeness for one another and helps show a form of respect one has asked of someone to do or help. In order for Mephisto to understand that Faust agrees to what their deal is, he asks Faust to find “Any scrap of paper will do very well. You sign your name with a little drop of blood.” (Goethe 59). For Mephisto, this was showing that he and Faust would sign an agreement for him to have the knowledge of all if he agrees his soul to hell.
Today, there are many stereotypical forms of bondage, and one is blood. People use blood to show respect to the decision one has made or reassure the trust between one another. Many cultures, such as religion, use blood to show their respect to the higher power. By using blood, it shows their honor and how blood gives us life to each of us. Without blood, animals cannot surive, humans cannot survive.
2. Why do you think Faust chose his connection with the Earth Spirit sign over the Macrocosm?
While Faust sat in his study, he was questioning his beliefs and if there could be a sign for him. This gave him the idea to look into Nostradamus’ work because of the feeling of connection with him as a philosopher and scientist. His first choice was Macrocosm, he felt that this brought him closer to nature, but sonly realizes, “And where the parched soul craves to be, You flow, you give to drink, but not to me.” (Goethe 19) he eventually glances to the sign of the Earth Spirit. The Earth Spirit, even the name itself, seems to give him the direction of wanting to be with nature. By choosing this sign, he was able to feel a form of energy that he did not connect with other symbols in his book.
Von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Faust, Part 1. New York: Penguin Classics, 2005.
Posted by: Katie Ganning at February 9, 2010 12:02 AM
Due February 9, 2010
Q: In Faust’s Study (II) Mephistopheles asks Faust for “a line or two.” What exactly is Mephisto asking for in this scene?
A: Upon coming to terms and conditions of their pact, Faust offers Mephisto his hand as sign of sealing the deal, but seeing as how Mephisto is the Devil, he asks Faust to write up a contract of the deal and to sign it in his blood. This is the “true” way that Mephisto can take control of Faust’s body and will, so to speak, if and when Faust loses the bet that they made.
Q: Do you believe that Gretchen’s downfall should be blamed solely on Faust or do you think that she had her own part to play in the events that unfolded upon her meeting Faust?
A: Although Faust did use trinkets and magic to seduce the young Gretchen, in the end I believe that her actions cannot be blamed on anyone but herself. She is describes as young and naïve but I am doubtful that no matter how young, one cannot be THAT easily persuaded to do the things that she did. When Faust offered her a potion to help her mother “sleep” at night, I think that she should have known that it was going to kill her. The one thing in the way of Faust spending the night with her in her room was the mother. No matter how dumb she might have been, I think that she should have seen that coming. I believe that she wanted to get rid of her mother so that she could live a free life. She made it clear that her mother was a source of restraint and stress in her life, so, why not take the easy way out? Another thing that bothered me was the fact that she killed her child because she thought that Faust had left her. Granted in those times it was essentially a mortal sin to be unwed and pregnant, but if she could carry the child for nine months, why not keep it? Why not throw herself down the first flight of stairs that she came across and end the pregnancy then and there, but instead she waited until it was born to drown it. In conclusion, though she may have been seduced by magic and appeal, I believe that Gretchen should be held accountable for her own actions.
Posted by: Branka Trivanovic at February 9, 2010 12:04 AM
Entry Ticket 2
In part one, what were the Country people doing and what was done when Faust was leaving? Pg 36
Faust was saying his farewells’ and thanking the people for the food and drink and good time and they(country people) all said that the thanks was due to him and his father for saving their lives and helping them when the fever’s fire and rage took so many of their lives.
What was going on when a borer was brought and a hole was put into the table so that they could drink wine?
It was a scheme by the devil, he was playing a trick on them and promised them wine and they started to hallucinate. While they were hallucinating the devil tried to get them to kill Altmayer, saying that he was on fire because of black magic and they should stick him though. Pg 79 Then they realized that they were being deceived and that it wasn’t wine, it was moonshine that they were drinking.
Posted by: jeremy at February 9, 2010 12:32 AM
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 Survey of English Literature II (Honors)
3 February 2010
Entry Ticket 2
What does Übermensch mean and why did the Spirit call Faust this?
Übermensch is German for Superman. This is the Earth Spirit’s response to Faust calling him forth. The Spirit is being sarcastic. He is angry because he see no relationship between himself and Faust. There is no kinship and he sees Faust as an insignificant little man.
When Faust makes his deal with Mephistopheles he changes the wording of the contract. How does this change the contract and what does this mean for Faust?
The deal that Faust makes is “If ever I settle on a bed of ease, let me be done for there and then (1692-1693).” In other words, if he is ever so filled with pleasure that he becomes immobile and wishes to be left alone, then Mephisto may have his soul. This is not the usual deal that Mephisto makes for a human soul.
To Faust the primal sin is to be inactive. One must be in motion and involved in some kind of activity. He is also not really concerned with what happens to his soul after he dies. He does not believe in heaven or hell.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Faust Part 1 (Penguin Classics). New York: Penguin Classics, 2005. Print.
Posted by: m. Clemens at February 9, 2010 01:12 AM
English 226 – Honors
9. February 2010
Entry-Tickets for Faust, Part 1
1. Q. How does Margaret (Gretchen) change throughout the play?
A. Margaret was raised in a poor household by her mother. She was raised very religiously, and she goes regularly to confession. Gretchen represents the innocence of the world and obedience. She is very beautiful and nubile – the temptation of Faust. For me, Gretchen is a pathetic character because it seems she has no self-esteem because she does everything her mother tells her to do. In the readings, we learned that while her mother was ill she cared for her little sister as if she was her own child until its death. Gretchen’s mother tries to control her and takes her jewelry and donates it to a priest. The second time she received Jewelry from Faust she does keep it secret from her mother. No matter how much faith or goodness a person has, it seems greed wins every time.
Temptation wins Gretchen over also. She fell in love with Faust and let him seduce her. The consequence of this union is her pregnancy. She regrets her actions and starts praying to the Virgin Mary to forgive her for her human weakness. Unfortunately, she was so desperate after her brother’s death, who wanted to defend her; she drowned her child at birth. This action drove her insane because of the guilt. What happened to her? In the beginning, she was an innocent girl who obeyed her mother, and now she is a multiple sinner. From her point of view she deserves death. She does not want to flee with Faust – it would be of no use. When Mephisto appears, she immediately feels the evil spirit and calls for Gods help and throws herself at his mercy. A voice from above says she is saved.
2. Q. On line 2510, Mephisto does not want to be called Satan; instead he should be called Baron. He sees himself as a gentleman. Why is this so and what makes him a gentleman?
A. Mephisto says humans stayed the same throughout the centuries but the image of evil changed. I imagine what he meant is that even though humans are weak creatures and only protected by God, they still have free will which makes them a target of evil spirits if they choose to depart themselves from God. Centuries ago the devil did not have an easy time of tempting people because he attacked people directly. Evil showed its true face from the beginning. However, Mephisto (an evil spirit) takes another approach when he tries to lead Faustus to hell. By first introducing Faustus to the good temptation of evil, Mephisto has a better chance of acquiring Faustus’ soul. To understand this concept one must first understand what a gentleman does. A gentleman usually has a good reputation, is kind, educated, sensitive, well-mannered, and is respected by most people. A gentleman in the 18th century was mostly considered to be from high birth and that is why he wants to be called Baron – he is high born gentleman. Everyone can trust a gentleman, so Mephisto tries to win the trust of Faust in order to have an easier time winning over Faustus soul.
Posted by: D.Parizon at February 9, 2010 07:43 AM
9 February 2010
1. Faust has constantly striven to be the best and most knowledgeable. What does he strive to know and learn from Mephistopheles?
Faust is tempted by Mephistopheles to give up his soul in order to gain what he wants. The only problem is Mephistopheles does not actually give Faust what he is searching for. Faust states in the beginning of the section Night that he has plenty of degrees and areas of study mastered but he had realized that is not what life is about. Faust begins to believe that if he makes such a deal with Mephistopheles that he will be able to gain everything he has ever wanted. Faust is looking for what life is really about and realized that striving to read all the books and get all the facts will not tell you the ways of the world. Instead he must go out and see the world for what it is, but gets caught up in the games Mephistopheles plays.
2. The name Faust means “fortunate, or enjoying good luck” in Latin, why would Goethe choose this name for his main character?
It seems that before Faust meets Mephistopheles he is a very well educated brilliant man who is still not happy with what he knows. After he meets Mephistopheles he believes he will get everything he has been waiting for, but things turn out quite differently. Faust learns that all the promises and fortune that he was hoping to acquire was not all he bargained for. It seems as though the meaning of the name Faust is almost ironic to the actual characters luck and story. It’s almost as if the author wants the readers to believe he is luckiest until you see all the predicaments he gets himself into.
Posted by: Dawn at February 9, 2010 09:35 AM
Survey of World Literature
1. We come to understand that Faust has a desire for ultimate knowledge outside the realm of the natural world. We also understand that he is willing to barter with Mephistopheles to attain this type of knowledge. Are there any ethical or moral limitations that might prevent a person from achieving such an advanced level of Enlightenment?
The answer to this question is solely based on one’s personal opinion. It can be suggested that due to the outcome of events within the novel that such an arrangement is so inconceivable. This notion could be well exemplified with illustrations from the text. The entire agreement between Faust and Mephistopheles serves as an example of this in that now Faust has sold his own soul. Is eternal damnation worth temporary happiness? Although my perception of God and religion is only specific to me, where I would say the answer is no, it can be argued that the answer would remain the same regardless of religious beliefs. This is where the topic of morality comes into play as it is entirely possible to have morals without a religious baseline. Ethics may generally be used in a more professional setting however it can be applied here. As a consequence of Faust’s dealings with the devil, his love interest Margaret, ends up killing her family landing herself in jail. Faust then deals once again with Mephistopheles to relieve her of her imprisonment. From a purely religious stand point dealing with the devil would be utterly immoral and unethical. Since the dealings can be directly tied to Faust’s thirst for knowledge it is safe to say that morality would stand in the way of becoming omnipotent. It is an understood belief that since God is almighty and all-knowing and man is a creation of God, to question the creator or to attempt to gain knowledge from the creator would be sacrilege.
2. Religion takes on a predominant focus in the aspect of the theme in the story. Faust’s faith and overall belief in the existence has been taken into question. Do you believe that Faust believes in the Lord?
Though I am not particularly tied to any one religion myself my answer would still be a quick no. It is my understanding of theology that any bond which includes the devil severs the connection from the almighty creator. Perhaps Faust, being a man of academia, did at some point believe in a God, this does not necessarily mean that he believed in the true God of the supposed Bible. The bible states that it is blasphemous to question the creator; salvation is received by faith in Christ Jesus alone. If Faust believed in the Bible’s version of the Lord, Mephistopheles never would have had a chance. I have previously offered the possibility of Faust being agnostic. I would say that pinning down a direct answer to whether or not he believed in the Lord is tricky. It is far easier to simply say that he might have believed in a creator in an ethereal sense but the god was not of the Christian Bible. Or that Faust did believe in an almighty creator and frankly just lost his faith. This however is far less likely as the Bible clearly states that when one obtains true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they have been “elected” and chosen by God and if the profession of faith is genuine, it can never be lost.
Posted by: Patricia Pothier at February 9, 2010 09:39 AM
Entry Ticket 2: Goethe
1. Is Faust a deist, why or why not, and how does this affect the reading?
A. Faust seems to be a deist in that he is a symbolic of a rejection of organized Christianity. He communes with spirits, works in alchemy, and makes a bet with Mephistopheles. While Mephistopheles is the devil and makes a bet with God, the story doesn’t follow traditional Christian lines, and Faust is a flawed hero, most definitely non-Christian. This can affect the reading by making the reader question his or her own rites and rituals associated with their religion, and compare it with the moral of Faust.
2. Why did Goethe decide to use a dog, specifically a black poodle, as the vehicle to bring Mephistopheles into the story and more literally into Faust’s study?
A. Dogs in America have a special place in our hearts, but this feeling is recent, and in medieval Europe dogs are considered dirty and low beasts. While Goethe wrote this after medieval times, it feels as though it is set in the mysterious “dark ages” and the portrayal of the poodle seems less out of place. Another possibility is that a dog can be seen to be less threatening and be more apt to be invited into a person’s home than other animals, and it would have free access throughout the city without fear of the inhabitants attempting to exterminate it. A last thought, a German author portrays the devil hiding in the body of a French dog, coincidence or statement?
Posted by: Dana Jennings at February 9, 2010 10:41 AM
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226 Survey of English Literature II (Honors)
Reading Response 2
11 February 2010
Mephistopheles’ Criticism of God
Faust’s: Prologue in Heaven
Mephistopheles is the representation of evil. God is the representation of good. This is a drama that has been going on since man began to ponder life and his place in the universe. In the Prologue in Heaven this drama continues with the wager between Mephisto and God over the soul of Faust. The story of Goethe’s Faust has been compared to the Old Testament Book of Job and they are similar but Goethe has put his own slant on the story. In this version of the story Faust has a choice, Job did not. But what really makes this situation interesting is the criticism Mephisto casts at God.
Mephistopheles’ criticism begins after the angels sing their praise to God. The first thing that came out of his mouth was sarcasm. In Mephisto’s opinion it was gracious of God to stop by and find him among the servants. And he makes the comment: “Pathos from me would surely make you laugh were laughter not a thing you’ve learned to live without” (277-278). He then goes on to castigate God for shining heaven’s light on man and watching him suffer. Mephisto says “I pity the poor creatures in the misery of their days, can scarcely bring myself to augment their torment” (297-298). It was this criticism that brought on the wager between Mephisto and God.
And what is God’s reaction to Mephisto’s negative appraisal of him? God says: “Do you have nothing else to say to me? And never come but finding fault always” (294-294). God suggests Faust for this little adventure and is confident that his earthly child will succeed. At the end of the conversation God tells Mephisto: “I have never hated such as you” (337).
The battle between good and evil is an old one. Faust is the representation of humankind and our relationship with God, the existence of good and evil and our place in the universe. Mephistopheles’ criticism of God brought on the wager, which was a symbolic expression of whether or not God has been a capable Creator and whether or not man should continue to exist.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Faust Part 1 (Penguin Classics). New York: Penguin Classics, 2005. Print.
Posted by: M. Clemens at February 10, 2010 07:23 PM
February 10, 2010
Mephistopheles’ definition of himself and his role defined by The Lord in the Prologue
In Goethe’s 18th century literary work, Faust, Part I, Mephistopheles [devil character] and ‘The Lord’, both have an opportunity to define Mephistopheles’ character and his role to be seen throughout the play. Both of their personal opinions seem to describe Mephistopheles right on point, and they both correlate with the other.
Mephistopheles describes himself in two simple lines: “A part of the power who Wills evil always but always works the good” (1336-1337). While speaking to Faust, he explains that he [Mephisto] is an intrinsic part of the greater power of all beings, but he is the part that does no good. He has always been present among the human race and has always been able to lead them astray; and in this way, he is ‘good’. He is a manipulative being that causes chaos, suffering, and harm to the vulnerable human beings, and that is his ultimate skill.
In the prologue of the play, The Lord, speaking directly to Mephistopheles (336-349) tells him that he has never possessed as much hatred for another being as he does for Mephistopheles. But, The Lord openly admits that he enjoys making the devil a companion of the human beings because they are dedicated to him [The Lord] and they will not fail to come back to do his will. The Lord says to Mephistopheles, “I like to make the devil his companion to prick and work and be a mover willy-nilly” (342-343). It is as if The Lord enjoys watching the devil challenge his people, having great pride in the fact that his believers will not go astray. This almost arrogant nature of The Lord, preceded by the bet that is made between him and the devil could be foreshadowing into the lost fate of Faust’s soul, to the devil.
The Lord and Mephistopheles have an understanding of what the devil’s goal is, and The Lord seems to embrace it, in hopes that the devil’s temptations will prove the faith and devotion of his people. Mephistopheles makes known his evil ways and The Lord seconds it, with great hopes of coming out superior to the devil among his people.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Van. Faust, Part I. New York: Penguin, 2005.
Posted by: Mary Strand at February 10, 2010 10:35 PM
Erin Van Eepoel
One prevalent theme in Faust is love or lust. During the book there are many examples of both love and lust such as the young townspeople’s conversations about the opposite sex and Faust’s relationship with Margarete. These examples are both important to the story but they also conflict with the ideals of love.
Outside the town young girls chatted about boys that could have anyone they wanted but went for easy targets. The boys would dance and walk with the lovely upper class girls but then go to bed with the lower class easy girls bringing the idea of lust into the story. The young girls wished for a more romantic fate though they knew eventually the boys would tire of being with the lower class girls and end up with them for wives. Another view of love and lust came from the soldiers speaking about the lovely women that they love and leave at each stop. They even went as far as to refer to the women as “spoil for a brave mans toil”. The young girls longed for a romantic love while the soldiers merely wanted their benefits for the service they gave to their country
Beyond the young immature love and lust of the townspeople is Faust’s brooding love for Margarete. The first time Faust lays eyes on Margarete he falls for her beauty Faust begins to rant to Mephisto about her beauty and how he needs to have her to be happy. He gives Margarete jewels and compliments her beauty even though she cannot see why he is so struck by her they fall deep in love. Throughout the book they fall deeper in love and have a child out of wedlock. Margarete is so upset that she drowns the child and goes to jail adding yet another twist to the story. All through the book love plays an important part in tying the story and the characters together.
Erin Van Eepoel
The theme of love is important in Faust because it helps to bring about a main conflict in Faust’s happiness and in turn a main conflict about his deal with the devil. Love also brings Faust and Margarete together which brings about the conclusion and Faust being released from his deal with the Mephisto.
Erin Van Eepoel
Wolfgang Von Goethe, Johann. Faust, Part 1. NY,NY: Penguin, 2005. Print.
Posted by: Erin Van Eepoel at February 10, 2010 11:15 PM
Erin Van Eepoel
FAUST entry ticket 2
Q. Why would Faust give himself away to eternal suffering just to attain fleeting happiness?
A. Faust had never experienced true happiness through all of his knowledge or work. He was so desperate to feel happiness that when he got an offer from Mephisto he could not refuse it despite the consequences. The offer was that Mephisto would serve Faust on earth if Faust would later serve Mephisto in hell, but if Faust achieved true happiness and wished to stay in that moment forever he would die instantly. This proves how desperate man can become when they cannot find true joy and love in their lives.
Q. Why did Faust consider his teachings and education useless?
A. Even though Faust had a vast education he did not consider himself any less foolish. His titles of Master and doctor mean nothing to him because they have left him without joy. Many intelligent and important men have a hard time finding joy and they can become lost in their own lives.
Erin Van Eepoel
Q. Why would Faust give himself away to eternal suffering just to attain fleeting happiness?
Q. Why did Faust consider his teachings and education useless?
Posted by: Erin at February 10, 2010 11:16 PM
ENG 226 [HONORS]
Due February 11, 2010
Discussion Question for Goethe’s Faust
Group 6, Question #10:
How does Mephistopheles answer his hysterical accusations and turn the blame back around onto Faust?
On Page 159 Mephisto points out a human flaw: we ask for things but when the situation goes south we blame other people and we want them to get us out of the mess that we created by our own accord. He also points out that Faust is the one that sought the Devil out, not the other way around. He was not prepared to deal with the consequences of associating with such an entity thus it his own fault. Faust commands Mephisto to free Gretchen but he replies with, “Who thrust her into ruin, me or you?” When Faust first ran into Gretchen, Mephisto told him to let it go, that another girl would come along but Faust persisted. He had Mephisto transform him into a young man so that he could seduce the young girl and make her his. His actions took away a part of her innocence-- some may even say all of it. In the end, Faust persists that Gretchen be saved so Mephisto tells him that he will take him to the prison but he will have to get the girl out himself.
Posted by: Branka Trivanovic at February 10, 2010 11:37 PM
English 226 – Honors
11. February 2010
In Goethe’s new version of Faust, Satan is portrayed in a very unique manner. The image of Evil changes through the characterization of Mephistopheles – the evil spirit of the play. The typical image of Satan at the time was a red monster with horns on its forehead, holding a pitchfork, and wielding a sharp tail. He was usually rude and did not have contact with humans. Instead, he would commit his evil deeds by sending the plague, leading humans to unhappiness, or directing other bad influences that would lead lay people toward eternal afterlife in flames. Of course, Mephistophele’s goals were the same as Satan’s, but instead of attacking humans directly with his true face, he tries to win the trust of his victims by fulfilling their every wish. However, Mephistopheles does this not out of generosity, but rather to lead humankind to its doom. Faustus understands that there must be a quid pro quo. Mephistopheles easily convinced Faust to make a pact that stated that if Faust ever did find joy through Mephistophele’s generosity, his soul would belong to Mephistopheles.
The war between good and evil has existed for centuries, and this pact with Faustus was, for Mephistopheles, only one battle in the greater war. In Goethe’s Faust, Part 1 evil spirits lead the war. Mephistopheles is so unique compared with other images of Satan from the same period due to the fact that he liked to be seen as a gentleman, who could be trusted as he says: “Call me Baron, that will be best” (Faust 87). He wants to be seen as powerful and trustful in Faustus’s eyes. Mephistopheles introduces himself to Faustus first in the form of a black poodle before he transforms back to his true image. He chose to be a dog most likely because they are considered man’s best friend. However, Mephistopheles could only become a companion to Faustus and make a pact with him because Faustus wished to commit suicide before they meet. Faustus’ probably thought if he did not meet the devil, he would have ended up in hell anyway because of his sin, so he had nothing to lose.
With each miserable and hateful thought that humans have, Mephistopheles gains power, but with every act of compassion and goodness humans show, he loses power. When Mephistopheles says, “I feel the people ripe for Judgement Day / And this is my last climb up the witches’ hill / And since my little keg is running cloudy / The world is in decline as well” he admits to his defeat (Faust 147). Mephistopheles realizes he loses power as he says his keg is running cloudy. The reason why Mephistopheles feels the loss of power is because people regain faith in God. Not because they believe in God but because they fear him on their Judgment Day. As a result, before people die they try to live a decent and sinless life. They do not want to burn in hell for eternity; they would rather live life in misery for many years on earth. This is the reason why Mephistopheles tries so hard to get Faust’s soul: to regain power and win his battle against all good.
In the end, it does not matter what Mephistopheles pretends to be, he shows his true character – evil. While Gretchen felt the evil spirit and felt uncomfortable near Mephistopheles, Faustus did not really care who Mephistopheles was – he only wanted to find knowledge beyond the earth. Faustus gave him a perfect chance to trade his soul with the gained knowledge he desires. It is an effective strategy for obtaining what the devil desires.
Von Goethe, Johann W. Faust, Part 1. Trans. David Constantine. Penguin Classics, 2005. Print.
Posted by: D.Parizon at February 11, 2010 08:17 AM
HON ENG 226: Survey of world Literature II
Faust Reading Response
Education is the key. Knowledge is power. These are some of the motivational expressions that I have heard throughout my school years from elementary. Yes, I do know these statements are true or else I wouldn’t be in this institution of higher learning enrolled in this course. Intelligence is supposed to be “so-called” food for the mind, but can it ever be too much or not serve its rightful purpose? Can too much knowledge lead one beyond their expectations and get them into trouble?
Faust is not a common character in his self titled play Faust 1. He is more than a Renaissance Man. He is a scholar, doctor, professor, and everything else that represents knowledge and intelligence, but he wants more. He knows that he is way sharper than the average man, but somehow he still feels incomplete. Faust feels as though his education at times could be worthless because with all that he does know, there are still some things that he doesn’t know and it bothers him severely. He believes that he should be able to know everything possible that man was probably not made to fathom, just told and accept. In lines 412-417 of the play, Faust exclaims and questions why he cannot know that start of life instead of having to believe the simple theory that man was created by God and stopping there. It seems as though he seeks something way deeper than the human mind can grasp. There has been times when I myself wonder, “How did the world come about?” And since God creates us, who created God? It’s only normal that someone will pose questions such as these when presented with information. I have felt similar to Faust many times, but I am not as scholarly as he is so it never consumed me like it did to him. I think after he realized that he knew so much and still not everything, Faust started to ponder that educations is not all that great because there still are some unknown and mysterious marvels that will probably never be deciphered.
Posted by: Antonette Boynes at February 11, 2010 09:53 AM
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 226: Survey of World Literature II
11 February 2010
The Spirits of Time
During the time of which Faust and Wagner lived, religion was the base source of knowledge about the world and after death. While Wagner was learning under the studies of Faust, his belief of the ancient writings of men of early days are valuable because the scriptures are learned and acquired to achieve eternal life and if we don’t attempt to, “[…] climb up to the fountain-head” (Goethe 22), one is condemned to Hell.
Many of the characters believe in the same understanding like Wagner, even including Faust until he starts to question them. The history behind their beliefs was of the wise men before them have brought the “light” to the future, which is their now. For Faust, there are still unknown answers, main one being why? The seven seals give their ideas of the time in which the wise man lived, but it in the end, Faust believes it is in oneself to attain eternal happiness.
Faust main concern is the reason for free will if we are already treated like puppets to God, “It is not refreshment you have won, Unless it’s springs from your own soul.” (22) He understands what Wagner believes because he himself learned the same way however, he begins to realize that maybe it is time to take what we have learned and add to it with even more knowledge learned by nature, which God had been able to do.
After he has spoken with Wagner, he reflects about his encounter with the spirit and how he was almost able to communicate. As much as Faust continues his readings of scriptures, he now has added to his already fast pacing mind that his faith in what once was, has long past his thoughts.
Johann Wolfgang, Von Goethe. Faust, Part 1. New York: Penguin Classics, 2005
Posted by: Katie Ganning at February 11, 2010 10:15 AM
Messing With Mephistopheles
Faust and Mephistopheles have witty banter throughout the play, and their discussion about their pact is no exception. I enjoyed the fact that Faust did not make the devil a stock character, as it would have been very easy to do so. Instead, he makes him a sometimes funny and sometimes dangerous character that has motives and uses tactics to overcome obstacles.
In the scene Faust’s Study (II), both Faust and Mephistopheles are attempting to manipulate each other, in a give and take exchange, as Faust states, “So my existence is burdensome, death to be wished, life loathsome” (53). With this line he is stating that Mephistopheles can give him nothing he wants, as he only wants death. He believes he is being clever because he thinks that Mephistopheles cannot kill him. I found it odd that he could believe that, even though it was true, I felt that he didn’t truly want to die, and many would argue that while the devil isn’t the Angel of Death, he could still take you if he wished.
Faust’s boast that nothing can satiate him except death, which would presumably take him to heaven and out of Mephistopheles reach, is an interesting way of manipulating Mephistopheles into giving up more than he might have otherwise. Mephistopheles doesn’t want to give that up willingly though, so uses his humor and wit to diffuse some of Faust’s edge in the pact, stating, “And yet that night a certain somebody left a brown juice undrunk” (54). He states this after Faust has proudly proclaimed that he had called for Death to come and take him, and Mephistopheles is bursting his bubble by stating that if he had really wanted to greet Death, he would have drunk the poison in his drink. This is a fun way of manipulating Faust into the defensive and explanatory position, a weaker position in negotiating. And at the end of the play, that is all they have done. They have negotiated and performed a pact, and throughout they are attempting to manipulate each other into a weaker bargaining position, often with humor and intellectual banter.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Faust Part 1 (Penguin Classics). New York: Penguin Classics, 2005. Print.
Posted by: Dana Jennings at February 11, 2010 10:32 AM
11 February 2010
Gretchen Pregnant At the Well?
It is common in human beings to feel more sympathy for another when the two are going through or have gone through similar situations. In Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s Faust, Part I, we see Gretchen facing her own problems and feeling for others around her. In the scene At The Well, Gretchen is talking to her sister Lieschen about another young girl who has become pregnant.
Gretchen and Lieschen come from a very protective and sheltering family, where young girls were to stay inside and learned what women should be doing in that time. After meeting with Faust, Gretchen finds ways to deceive her mother and family to be with him. One day Lieschen bring a young girl, Barbelchen, up in conversation while with Gretchen. As soon as Lieschen mentions that this young girl has went out and become pregnant, we see a wave of sympathy and remorse come over Gretchen. Gretchen proves her self naïve when she believes that the man who got this young girl pregnant would stay with her. It is easy to see that Gretchen herself is too pregnant because she has such strong hopeful feeling towards this girl, while her sister thinks she deserved it. In the last lines of the scene, At The Well, Gretchen makes a point to let the audience know she is pregnant, by saying that she used to talk badly and think badly of girls who had done what she has. She states that she now has come face to face with sin, but is having a hard time feeling sorry for something she felt was so good.
In many cases it is easy to see guilt and sorrow in someone, but in this scene Gretchen does her best to show only sympathy until she is alone. Gretchen was to make sure her sister was not aware of her pregnancy but after discussing another woman in the same situation, she realizes what has happened. Often times in play the audience is made aware of a situation before most of the cast is. Many authors use clever way and underlying messages to tell the audience as Goethe did.
Posted by: Dawn at February 11, 2010 10:56 AM
March 2, 2010
What part of Gogol’s short story The Diary of a Madman do you believe he started sounding like he was insane?
In Gogol’s short story The Diary of a Madman I feel that throughout the whole story he was insane. The reason of this is because right away after the introduction, on November 12th (page 9) he states that dogs are intelligent and know the political relationships. On page 9 on November 13th, this is where he really started to throw me off from being a normal guy to being a madman. He states that in their doggy handwriting the dogs had written him a note, s note that was written by a scholar like mind.
Another reason why throughout this story it seemed like he was becoming more insane as the story went on was because of the dates. In the beginning of this book it started in October 3rd then went through November in increments of day to day then to a couple days but then by up to year 2000, 43rd of April. This book is taking place in the 18th century and not anywhere close to the year 2000. Also, he states the date as Marchtober the 86th. Throughout reading this book I started to realize that he sounded like he was on drugs. As time went on it seems like he got more and more insane, he started making up dates and months and even times, as in where he wrote on page 19 that there was no date at all, the date was dateless. He then tends to forget the date and time by stating it wasn’t there or he had forgotten it and only the devil knows what there was. Here is where I thought he was on drugs while going mad, I think he was hallucinating while going insane and he started seeing the devil.
He also writes how he is running from the cops throughout the book and he is seeing things. In the book he says he is in one place at one point then two minutes later he is in a different country, Spain.
The Diary of a Madman: and other stories
By: Nickolai Gogol
Posted by: tommy at March 1, 2010 07:59 PM
*NOTE* The deadline for the assignment shown above this message has now passed. Any comments listed below this message are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.
Posted by: B. Lee Hobbs at April 5, 2010 01:52 PM
HON 250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
7 December 2012
The Humanistic Tendencies of Goethe and Dante
A central idea of humanism includes the belief in the power of man and the individual. Two works that relate to these ideas, and to humanism as a whole, are Goethe’s most famous piece, Faust, about a scholar turned magician, and Dante Alighieri’s Dante’s Inferno, a telling of one man’s long and treacherous journey through Hell. However, while both Faust and Dante show pro-humanistic tendencies through their writing, they are more anti-humanistic.
Goethe’s Faust and Dante’s Dante’s Inferno are more anti-humanism, but they still display at least some promotion of humanism. In Faust, Goethe displays some pro-humanistic tendencies through Faust’s soliloquy at the start of his story when he declares, “I’ve led my scholars by the nose, / And see, that nothing can be known! / That knowledge cuts me to the bone. / I’m cleverer, true, than those fops of teachers, / Doctors, Magisters, Scribes and Preachers” (Goethe I). This shout of desperation from Faust is an example of his frustration with the limits of the medieval prototype – which greatly discouraged experimentation with new ideas – and his desire to think for himself, as an individual. Moreover, this illuminates Goethe’s promotion for humanism. In Dante’s Inferno on the other hand, Dante’s pro-humanism qualities come out through his treatment of religious figures. In humanism, scholasticism – which is related to the idea that the church is the end-all-be-all of authority – is often critiqued. Dante shows a concurrence with this idea when Virgil explains, “These sinners were incontinent when it came to wealth. Neither group could control themselves. One group hoarded their wealth, while the other group wasted their wealth. Many of the sinners you see here were Popes, cardinals, and priests – such people are unfortunately prone to greediness” (Dante 25). Dante’s critique on religion further shows a level of pro-humanistic tendencies, just as Goethe’s rejection of the medieval model does the same.
While it is true that Goethe and Dante display pro-humanism inclinations, they prove to be more anti-humanistic. For example, yes, Goethe critiques the medieval model through Faust’s character, but in the end, Faust must pay the ultimate price. This ultimate price is illuminated when Mephistopheles comes to bring Faust to Hell at the very end of his story and states, “Off! Or you’re lost ere morn. / Useless talking, delaying and praying! / My horses are neighing: / The morning twilight is near” (Goethe XXV). The mere fact that Faust’s ultimate result is his eternal damnation completely overpowers the pro-humanistic ideas and brings anti-humanism to full light. Despite the fact that Faust and Dante’s Inferno were written at very different times in human history, they each take similar, yet very subtle approaches to showing their anti-humanism leanings. Dante also showed his subtle, yet substantial, ways of critiquing humanism through the eternal damnation of characters. For instance, it is clear that Dante admires poets such as Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan, as shown by the fact that he considers them the “Greatest poets of antiquity” (Dante 12). Despite this admiration, all of these figures are in Hell for eternity. The understated tactics taken by both Goethe and Faust show their tendencies to lean more towards anti-humanism than pro-humanism.
Humanism is strongly related to the idea of man as the measure of all things, and the power of individualism. The approach to humanism is not always black and white, and pro-humanistic or anti-humanistic. Both Faust and Goethe may seem like pro-humanists on the surface, but if their works, Faust and Dante’s Inferno, are looked upon on a deeper level, their strong anti-humanist tendencies come through crystal clear.
Alighieri, Dante. Dante’s Inferno. Trans. David Bruce.September 2011. Smashwords.
Web. 3 December 2012 .
Von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Faust. Trans. Taylor Bayard. Produced by Juliet
Sutherland, Chuck Greif, and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
January 2005. EBook #14591. Project Gutenberg. Web. 3 December 2012
Posted by: Stacey Bigge at December 6, 2012 10:18 PM
B. Lee Hobbs
HON 250 Humanistic Traditions CA02
7 December 2012
Academic or Intellectual
The two works to question are Faust by Goethe and Candide by Voltaire. There are vast differences between the two works, yet there are some startling similarities. The learning experience along the journey, the effect of education on the main character, and the characters’ perspective of what is good are what showcases the intellectual capacity for the characters and how education made them grow or pushed them down the path they trod.
Both works center on a journey. Candide is an epic journey covering countless miles, as well as Candide’s journey to find himself. Faust is a testimony of a man falling down a path of darkness. Faust’s downward spiral begins when he forsakes God and embraces Satan in hopes of gaining knowledge. However, he learns of woe and suffering instead of finding the answers he desired. Faust’s quest leads to darkness with very few rewards: youth, a woman to love, and great loss (Goethe 54-101). Candide began his journey when he was cast out from his home, and faced many hardships such as being forced into the Bulgarian military, surviving a terrifying earthquake, and being separated from the woman he loves (Voltaire 4-26).Though both Faust and Candide led painful existences, their pain was lessened by traveling with companions. Faust has Mephistopheles, a demon from hell who was Faust’s reward for relinquishing his soul to Satan: “Here, an unwearied slave, I'll wear thy tether/ And to thine every nod obedient be: / When There again we come together, / Then shalt thou do the same for me” (Goethe 40). Candide has the companions Pangloss, Cunegund, the old woman, Cacambo, and Martin. Both titled characters would have been lost were it not for their companions. They guided them through tough times, advised them, and made their journeys possible.
Education has an effect on everyone. It shapes and molds personality, sense of morality, and views of the world. Faust’s quest for knowledge led him to his fate. He was never satisfied in what he had learned. “I've studied now Philosophy And Jurisprudence, Medicine,— And even, alas! Theology” (Goethe 19), Faust had studied all forms of knowledge known to man and yet did not know the answers for everything in the universe. His downward spiral came from him seeking “higher” education, to be all knowing, almost god like. Unlike Faust, Candide was not a dedicated scholar. He was taught philosophy by his mentor Pangloss, whose views of everything were simply "that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end” (Voltaire 2). This gave Candide innocence that was constantly challenged throughout his epic travels. Candide was exposed to various beliefs, some that lived in harmony, yet many led to large battles and death. This harshness of the world challenged Candide to find himself, to find what it is that he believed to be the truth. Candide and Faust both sought knowledge, to find an exact answer to confirm their reasoning and why they were there.
A large point of contention between to what the main characters view as good. Once again Faust’s desires to find answers that explain the world come into play. Faust is willing to sell his soul for the power to understand the universe, to have the fabled power to wield at his command. This is what led Faust to the witches’ kitchen, and to drink the elixir for youth (Goethe 58). This is contrasted by Candide’s compassion at the horror he sees before his eyes. Candide focuses on an answer to why things must be this way besides the teaching of Panglossian philosophy, which is simply that it is the best of all possible worlds thus everything is for the best. Seeing violence between factions compare the peaceful harmony of El Dorado truly startles Candide.
”Gentlemen, I plainly perceive you are strangers, and such we are not accustomed to charge; pardon us, therefore, for laughing when you offered us the common pebbles of our highways for payment of your reckoning. To be sure, you have none of the coin of this kingdom; but there is no necessity of having any money at all to dine in this house… My friends, we are all of us priests; the King and all the heads of families sing solemn hymns of thanksgiving every morning, accompanied by five or six thousand musician" (Voltaire 37-38).
This exemplifies Candide’s astonishment: a place where all views were accepted and equal and all men were treated as equals compared to the greed of Europe where slaves lost limbs working in sugarcane fields (Voltaire 41-42). However, both Candide and Faust are forced to reevaluate what they believed they want up seeing atrocious acts, death, cruelty, but the most disheartening was the losses of the ones they loved. These acts make them discontent with what they thought was right, for Candide that it is the best of all possible worlds, and for Faust that the understanding all the world was the most important thing in his life.
Faust and Candide both exemplify academic and intellectual influences. What sets them apart is that the way in which they learned and why they wished to do so was drastically different. Candide lost himself and was searching to make himself whole. Faust sought knowledge of all that existed, power not known to man, and he suffered for it in the end with the loss of his love, tearing him asunder.
Goethe, Johann von. Faust. N.p, n.d. Project Gutenberg. Web. 26 Nov 2012.
Voltaire. Candide. N.p, n.d. Project Gutenberg. Web. 30 Oct 2012.
Posted by: William Berry at December 7, 2012 07:36 AM
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
HON250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
7 December 2012
The Ideas of Evil in Faust and Tartuffe
The concept of evil has existed as long as man has been able to question human action. The idea of two opposing forces of supernatural power has shaped many aspects of society. Goethe’s Faust and Moliere’s Tartuffe both focus in on the ideas of deception and evil within a society that is based on Christian teachings, opposed to sin and temptation. The idea of evil is present, however, through the representation of key controlling characters in both stories, internal conflicts within and against major characters, and the concept of evil in humanistic perspective.
In Moliere’s Tartuffe, the character of Tartuffe represents many aspects of the ideas of evil or “sin.” He is an imposter, a liar, a betrayer, and a false priest. He embodies the idea of evil in the sense that he has no righteous intentions and seeks to gain everything for himself with no concern for others. Throughout the story, Tartuffe works hard to keep Orgon from discovering the truth about him, so he can manipulate him to his own advantage. This is a recurring theme in both Tartuffe and Faust. The idea of Tartuffe’s influence and his control over Orgon was evident almost immediately in the story; when Dorine speaks to him of how his family was suffering during his absence, he only has concern for Tartuffe. He tells his brother in law Cleante: “He is a man ... who ... ah! ... in fact ...a man Whoever does his will, knows perfect peace, And counts the whole world else, as so much dung. His converse has transformed me quite; he weans My heart from every friendship, teaches me To have no love for anything on earth; And I could see my brother, children, mother, And wife, all die, and never care--a snap.” (pg. 13) Orgon has so much trust in Tartuffe that he wishes to give him his daughter Mariane’s hand in marriage. Nevertheless, Tartuffe does not deserve this devotion or respect; he is not the holy man he claims to be. He attempts to seduce Orgon’s wife while Orgon is hidden: “Though pious, I am none the less a man; And when a man beholds your heavenly charms, The heart surrenders, and can think no more.” (pg. 45) After he is discovered, he openly tries to take all of the family’s possessions. “The house is now, as you well know, of course, Mr. Tartuffe’s. And he, beyond dispute, Of all your goods is henceforth lord and master” (pg. 73) Tartuffe negatively influenced Orgon’s decisions, and used his power to place himself in a position of authority within the household and society. This is very similar to the character of Mephistopheles.
In Faust, Goethe creates the character of a demon that represents evil against humanity. Mephistopheles despises the world and challenges God. “What will you bet? There's still a chance to gain him, If unto me full leave you give, Gently upon my road to train him!” (Prologue) He is also a swindler and manipulates Faust so he can win his soul over from God. Many of Mephistopheles’ actions throughout the story are deliberate attempts to keep Faust from recognizing the truth. He personifies Faust’s discontent with the world he lives in, and he often manipulates Faust’s desires to coerce him to greater sin. “Thou'lt find, this drink thy blood compelling, Each woman beautiful as Helen!” (Scene 6) Goethe presents a character comparatively similar to Tartuffe though, the relationship between Mephistopheles and Faust differs radically. Faust begins to suspect Mephistopheles’ true intentions during the play, whereas in Tartuffe, he confesses his true nature to the family. Had Faust been able to witness the prologue in Heaven between the angles, God, and Mephistopheles, he would have recognized what the demon was planning for him.
For most of Tartuffe, Orgon does not suspect that his friend could be so deceiving and manipulative. Orgon has internal conflict with himself, for he is torn between believing his wife and family or his friend and faithful advisor Tartuffe. “I know your motives For this attack. You hate him, all of you; Wife, children, servants, all let loose upon him,You have recourse to every shameful trick To drive this godly man out of my house” (pg. 50) However, once he discovers that Tartuffe is desperately in love with his wife, he confronts him and orders him to leave immediately. “You leave my house this instant.” (pg. 65) Once Orgon kicks out Tartuffe, he is able to see clearly and recognize his mistakes, and realizes what Tartuffe was trying to do to him. “Strange things indeed, for my own eyes to witness; You see how I’m requited for my kindness… He dares to menace me with my own favours, And would make use of those advantages Which my too foolish kindness armed him with, To ruin me, to take my fortune from me, And leave me in the state I saved him from.” (pg. 69) Orgon’s internal struggle abruptly comes to a halt, as he does not hesitate to break whatever bonds once held him and Tartuffe close and remove him from his family’s life.
Faust constantly struggles throughout the story between agreeing with his conscience and with what Mephistopheles tells him to do. Because of Margaret’s innocence and her love for him, his lust develops into love for her, and he struggles with his personal integrity over which is right. Mephistopheles provides the voice of doubt for Faust, convincing him that his lust is what he yearns for most. The duality of good and evil within Faust create such a struggle within him; he does not know what to do with himself. He is torn between the idyllic way of life represented by Margaret, and fulfillment of all his desires by the devil. “Within my breast he fans a lawless fire, Unwearied, for that fair and lovely form: Thus in desire I hasten to enjoyment, And in enjoyment pine to feel desire.” (Scene 14) He eventually gives in to his temptations and decides to stop thinking about the issue, and finds reprieve with Gretchen. “I, God's hate flung o'er me… She and her peace I yet must undermine: Thou, Hell, hast claimed this sacrifice as thine! Help, Devil! through the coming pangs to push me; What must be, let it quickly be! Let fall on me her fate, and also crush me, — One ruin whelm both her and me!” (Scene 14) Faust decides that he will bring Gretchen down with him; he wants to give into his lust and forget about the rest.
Within Humanistic beliefs, the idea of “evil” as a supernatural force caused by devils or demons is quite lucrative. Man has complete control over his own destiny, judgment, and actions. To say that a character or person performed an inappropriate act because they are “evil” does not appropriately define the deed or the person, erroneously placing the blame on some sort of hypothetical or mythical source. If there is any “evil,” it is the result of human action of inaction alone, not an external force. Tartuffe is called evil because he attempts to bite the hand that feeds him. He shows nothing but greed, and has no limitations on how heartless he can be. However, is he an evil person or simply a man filled with gluttony, insatiability, and uncontrollable self-indulgence? His actions are what are classified as wrong; to say a person is evil would even contradict common Christian thought towards others.
Mephistopheles is an entirely different matter however. As a devil, his character is meant to embody the unwanted characteristics and traits of good and moral people. However, these qualities are exactly what are needed for him to fill his role as a villain. Humanism does not prove the existence of such demons or devils, but they do not deny the use of an ultimate evil for literary purposes. Mephistopheles becomes an example of the idea that the concept of pure evil is inconsistent. The fact that Mephistopheles does not appear as an ugly black monster with glowing eyes shows that evil is not a limited concept, it can be changed and altered to suit many different purposes. To Goethe's understanding, evil operates within the confines of human desires and needs, not the result of an external power. Humans create evil as a scapegoat, the cover-up from wanting too much of something, or mistaking wants for needs. It is misunderstanding the own basis of our lives, but this means it is also internally conquerable. Divine assistance is not required or needed in the world of Faust.
The concept of evil exists in every facet of life. It is a constant factor in human reality, and a major influence on decisions and behaviors. In Moliere’s Tartuffe and Goethe’s Faust, these themes are present through the depiction of significant characters in both stories, inner struggles within and against main characters, and the notion of evil itself as it fits into Humanistic ideals. These different depictions of sin drive both stories, and create sources of conflict necessary to comprehend the significance of the work. Without Evil, would there really be any good?
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von. Faust. Trans. Bayard Taylor.
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Chuck Greif and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team. January 2005. Project Gutenberg. Web. 6 December 2012
A scholar Faust sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles in exchange for knowledge and worldly satisfaction. This work has many instances of evil throughout, as the devil Mephistopheles is a significant and controlling character and provides many examples of evil deed and thought. Faust himself is a prime example of internal conflict between good and evil.
Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste (Moliere). Tartuffe, or, The Imposter. Trans. Curtis Hidden Page.
Produced by Dagny and John Vickers. January 2000. EBook #2027. Project Gutenberg. Web. 6 December 2012 . A 17th century drama depicting a family man, Orgon, who is deceived by a pseudo holy man, Tartuffe. I will use the many instances of the idea of evil in the play, created by and within the character of Tartuffe, to support my ideas. This will be an excellent example for depicting the many aspects of “sin,” and its effects on a family.
Posted by: M. Rhett Pringle at December 7, 2012 10:46 AM
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
HON 250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
7 December 2012
The Mockery of Religion: A Comparison Between Candide and Faust
The Humanistic time period is known for its writings that constantly ridicule religion and point out faults and fallacies that come with belief. In Voltaire’s Candide and Goethe’s Faust, there are several instances in which religion is mocked, whether it be the characters manipulating religion for their own satisfaction, the contradicting idea that true happiness comes from satisfaction, or the consistent theme of corrupt religious leaders. In both stories, religion is one of the largest themes that is regularly seen throughout the play in a humanistic fashion.
In Voltaire’s Candide, the main character Candide witnesses a multitude of horrific actions, such as religious beings using their beliefs and religion to extract what they wanted or excuse their own actions. During this time period, it was common for heretics to be burned alive for their beliefs, though they were not unlike from the accusers. Pangloss, a religious man with a steadfast belief in the optimist teachings, excuses his own sexual exploits with a prostitute resulting in syphilis by claiming that God wanted it this way, that this was all in his plan (explained on page 15-16). Candide also describes instances of priests extorting sexual favors from prostitutes and young females for their own satisfaction. In Faust, Faust is a steadfastly religious man, yet when he has become bored, having mastered all academia, he dabbles in the Devil’s work (alchemy), which Wagner points out on page 27, asking, “Ah, when one studies thus, a prisoned creature, that scarce the world on holidays can see,—Scarce through a glass, by rare occasion, how shall one lead it by persuasion?” Wagner asks how he was persuaded into the dark arts, which Faust replies that he wouldn’t understand, “You’ll ne’er attain it, save you know the feeling,” (page 28). He then goes on to say that God would’ve wanted him to continue his knowledge.
Many religious beings would ascertain that in order to achieve happiness, true happiness, it would come from being the purest, most dedicated believer, etc. However, both plays contradict this typical, common idea, constituting that true happiness comes from satisfaction in hard work. In Candide, the play comes to a close with Candide’s reply, "All that is very well . . . but let us cultivate our garden,” (page 169, line 1). As Pangloss argues that optimism is still valid because everything has resulted in the best of all possible worlds; if all had not occurred, then he would “not be here eating preserved citrons and pistachio-nuts,” (page 168, line 8). In the case of Faust, Faust teaches that the existential purpose in human existence is to put forth the most positive, purposeful, untiring effort in whatever is done. Goethe also explains that while reaching for the stars, the limitations of human beings must be remembered, something that is not taught by the religious leaders of the time.
The last and foremost indication that these texts ridicule religion is the implications that religious leaders are corrupt. Throughout Candide, there are several religious leaders that do not practice what they teach. Candide comes across the daughter of the Pope, a man that as a Catholic priest should have been celibate. There was a Catholic Inquisitor who keeps a mistress hypocritically, a Franciscan friar is a jewel thief despite the poverty that should be taken by the Franciscan order, and they meet a Jesuit colonel with homosexual tendencies. During this time, there are several religious leaders that will turn violent, creating wars with religious oppression all against those who disagree on even the smallest of theological matters. In Faust, the two greatest religious leaders, God and the Devil (Mephistopheles), are found making a bet, a wager on the life of one man for their pure enjoyment. Is making bets in the Bible? Should such behavior be allowed?
The Humanistic tradition in literature contains a constant theme of corrupt religion and religion used in an unethical, dishonest way that is frowned upon in the teachings that they put forth. These religious leaders that teach not to steal, to stray away, not to manipulate, do such in a hypocritical manner. Both Candide and Faust accurately portray and ridicule the hypocritical nature of religion during their time, exemplifying the humanistic beliefs.
Voltaire. Candide. New York: BONI AND LIVERIGHT, INC., 1918. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19942/19942-h/19942-h.htm. 29 Nov. 2012. Candide is the story of the young Candide, a man lives a sheltered life taught by Pangloss that optimism is the only way of thinking. They go through an adventure with several tragedies, including many natural disasters, and Pangloss insists that this is still the “best of all possible worlds.” Throughout the story, we watch as Candide radically transforms his views to one of almost rejecting optimism. This text is an extremely good translation of Voltaire’s original publication that will heavily aid in my paper.
Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann. Faust. A Penn State Electronic Classics Series Publication. Translated into English, in the original metres, by Bayard Taylor. http://lgdata.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/docs/797/605679/Goethe-Faust-III.pdf. 29 Nov. 2012. Faust is based on a classic German legend of a scholar making a deal with the Devil (with Mephistopheles in his place) after becoming unsatisfied with his life. He agrees to sell his soul for years of magic powers. Faust uses Mephistopheles in a myriad of ways, having him aid Faust in seducing the young, naïve Gretchen. In the end, Faust is dragged off to Hell by the Devil. This text will be useful as it is a translation of Goethe’s original story and will aid me in making my connections the ridiculing of religion in Candide and Faust.
Posted by: Sarah Nobles at December 7, 2012 10:50 AM
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Hon 250 The Humanistic Tradition CA 02
7 December 2012
Integrity in Faust and Mandragola
The humanist movement was a period of significant change in the way people thought and learned about the world. This change included certain values, which prior to humanism, was determined by what the Church said was right and wrong. However, a shift was happening that put emphasis on human beings and the here-and-now rather than the afterlife. Two humanist plays that take a look at this shift in values are Mandragola by Niccolò Machiavelli and Faust by Goethe. Each play pokes fun at the institution of organized religion while at the same time illustrating how the values had changed from the past. Integrity is one value that is strongly challenged, and in some instances totally disregarded in both plays. The three major areas in which integrity is compromised are honesty, sexuality, and religion. While the characters in both plays seem to struggle mightily with integrity, the characters in Faust by far have the most trouble.
In Goethe’s play, the main character Faust makes a deal with a demon so that he can experience new things and gain a whole other world of knowledge that he could not acquire by himself. Part of this deal and new friendship with the demon allow him to pursue things, for instance, women that he ordinarily would not have pursued. In order to do this the witches give Faust a potion that makes him “see/in every woman a Helen of Troy” (Goethe 2603-4). In a way, he is lying to himself and the girl, Margaret (or Gretchen), whom he decides to take as his lover. He manages to convince her that he is “no doubt of noble birth” (2681) and that his name is “Heinrich”. There is also the issue of telling the girl’s mother that her husband has died in the war. In Mandragola, one big lie is the crux of the entire play as Callimaco has Nicia convinced that another man (Callimaco) must sleep with his wife in order for him not to die. Callimaco puts on a show of being a doctor with expertise in fertility who is “a worthy man” (Machiavelli, Act II sc. iii) and insists that Nicia must “have faith in” (Act II sc.vi) him. Callimaco does an excellent job of gaining Nicia’s trust. While the characters in Machiavelli’s play are bastards, Faust lies to a young, “innocent” (Goethe 2624) girl in order to sleep with her as well as lies to her mother about her husband’s death.
Sexual integrity is not a value that either play holds to high standards. In Mandragola, a man tricks a married woman into sleeping with him only for one night, but he appears to have no interest in any kind of long term relationship with her. In Faust, he finds a lover whom some would say he takes advantage of, but then he also finds himself carousing with witches and massive orgies. However, Faust does seem to fall in love with her as when he rescues her from prison he declares “Here at your feet is someone who loves you/who’s come to deliver you from your misery” (Goethe 4452-3). Perhaps he is not entirely coldhearted and does believe in things like loyalty. Callimaco, on the other hand, is “burning with such a desire to be with” (Machiavelli Act I sc. I) Lucrezia for just one night that he is willing to dupe her as well as her husband. There is no mention of love. In this instance, Machiavelli’s play may be slightly more lacking in integrity, but ultimately it is Faust that proves to be the most corrupt.
The concept and practice of religion is the final battle ground for integrity between the two plays. Mandragola uses as a main character a greedy priest, Frate Timoteo, who is very corrupt. In order for the conspirators to get away with their plot, the priest uses his sacramental authority and abuses his job in the Church so that he can make money. Despite these shortcomings and apparent lack of respect for his position, Timoteo laments over the lack of devotion that his brother friars have (Machiavelli Act V sc. I). There is still a reverence for the old way of doing things. Faust, on the other hand, takes immorality a step further by renouncing religion and making a deal with the devil. Pride leads him to the belief that no matter what he does he “hardly can escape/the torment of a life confined to earth” (Goethe 1544-5) and that nothing on earth is good enough for him. So rather than seeking solace in God, he turns to the works of the devil and his servant, Mephistopheles. At Walpurgis Night and in the Witch’s Kitchen he consents to the use of witchcraft and Satanic works in open defiance and rejection of the will of God.
Integrity plays a crucial role in both Mandragola and Faust in that the characters in each play show a tremendous lack of integrity. But as stated before, the characters in Faust seem to have the least integrity. It could be argued however that Faust is a unique character struggling with his intellect and it is the search for truth that leads him to such immoral acts. And that argument would be valid. The motives for their lack of integrity are very different, with Callimaco and Ligurio acting on their own selfish and base desires (Callimaco for lust and Ligurio for greed) while Faust acts on the search for knowledge. But, a man of Faust’s stature, a professor and a servant of God (Goethe 299), should be held to higher standards. It is not only the actions themselves that show a lack of integrity, but, and perhaps more importantly, the people performing the actions and their reasons for doing so. With that in mind, Faust comes up short.
Posted by: Zach Brasseur at December 7, 2012 12:58 PM
HON250 CA02 The Humanistic Tradition
3 December 2012
Trickery in Faust and Tartuffe
In the two literary works, Faust by Goethe and Tartuffe by Molière, trickery is a main plot device, used by the antagonist of the story to get what he wants. The ways in which trickery is utilized in the two works are similar in a number of ways, but do in fact differ, on some accounts. For example, the methods of trickery used are somewhat opposite of each other, Tartuffe using redemption to get what he wants, while Mephisto uses temptation. However, the two works are similar in that, in both, the antagonist uses a disguise of some sorts to trick the protagonist into doing his bidding. Another similarity between the two is the failure of trickery. In both cases, the trickery of the antagonists, Tartuffe and Mephisto, fail and the protagonists, Orgon and Faust, come out winning in the end.
The main difference between the trickery used in Tartuffe and Faust, is the logic behind the hoax. While in Tartuffe, Tartuffe uses the guilt of sin to “redeem” Orgon and get him to do his bidding, in Faust, the devil, or Mephisto, tries to tempt Faust into sinning and proving God wrong. “Part of that Power, not understood, which always wills the Bad, and always works the Good” (Goethe, lines 1336-1337). Mephisto, in Scene III of the poem, tries to get Faust to use the powers of evil to create good on Earth, manipulating his words to make it seem like it is all for the good, while really he is just trying to win his bet and get Faust to turn to the dark side. Tartuffe does the opposite in his trickery by making himself and sin the enemy. “Yes, brother, I am wicked, I am guilty, a miserable sinner, steeped in evil, the greatest criminal that ever lived… Believe their stories, arm your wrath against me, and drive me like a villain from your house; I cannot have so great a share of shame but what I have deserved a greater still” (Molière, Act III Scene VI). Tartuffe uses modesty and hypocrisy to manipulate Orgon into doing the opposite of whatever he says. By being a “humble servant of the Lord,” Tartuffe is seen by Orgon as a pious man, worthy of everything life has to give him. However, even though the two works differ in this respect, they are, in fact, still similar in many ways concerning the use of trickery.
One of the ways in which the two works are alike in their use of trickery is that in both cases, the antagonist uses a disguise of some sorts to trick Faust and Orgon. In the case of Tartuffe, Tartuffe uses the disguise of a pious servant of God, humble and holy. “Brother, in God's name, don't be angry with him! I'd rather bear myself the bitterest torture than have him get a scratch on my account” (Molière, Act III Scene VI). It is in this guise that earns Tartuffe the trust from Orgon that he needs to get what he wants. In the case of Faust, trickery is used by Mephisto as he takes on the guise of a scholar in order to gain Faust’s trust and tempt him. “This was the poodle's real core,a travelling scholar, then? The casus is diverting” (Goethe, Scene III, lines 1333-1334). This does not wholly trick Faust, but it does ease his mind more than the black poodle that was following him around did. Other than this use of a guise, another similarity between the two works is the imminent failure of the trickery.
In the end of both works, the antagonist fails and truth wins out. The trickery of Mephisto and Tartuffe comes to an end, despite their hard efforts to deceive their targets. In Tartuffe, Orgon wins out in the end when he catches Tartuffe in his trickery by hiding under a table when Tartuffe comes onto his wife. “I doubted long enough if this was earnest, expecting all the time the tone would change; but now the proof's been carried far enough; I'm satisfied, and ask no more, for my part” (Molière, Act IV Scene VII). In Faust’s case, he beats the devil in the end by resisting temptation and continuing to strive for good. He at last is admitted into heaven, having avoided temptation for so long. “Pure incandescence! Whom its flames bless, blissful with goodness, is their existence. Gathered together, rise now, and praise! Spirit can breathe here, in purer waves!” (Goethe, Act V Scene VII Lines 11817-11824).
Though there are some differences between the two works of literature in the use of trickery, the similarities between the two hints at the time frame that the works were written in. The use of trickery as evil and sin also hints at the humanistic ideas in the minds of the two writers.
von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil [Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy]. (written 1772-75) 1790. Drama. German. Goethe’s Faust is a work of literature written in the 18th century in Germany. The plot focuses on Faust, a devout Christian, but also an alchemist, who is consistently tempted by the Devil to turn to evil to fix the problems in the world. The Devil uses trickery in many different ways to tempt Faust, but loses out in the end. This source is helpful to the paper because it has direct quotes that explain the use of trickery in the story directly illustrates the similarities and differences between itself and the other cited work.
Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste (Molière). Tartuffe, or, The Imposter. 1664. French. Drama. This work is a comedy about a hypocrite that has fooled the protagonist of the story, Orgon, into giving him whatever he wants. This source is helpful to the paper in that is provides direct resources and quotes that aid in the explanation of the use of trickery in the novel, compared and contrasted with the other cited work, Faust.
Posted by: Anna McEntee at December 7, 2012 02:23 PM
Hon250 CA02 Humanistic Tradition
4 December 2012
Faust vs La Mandragola
At Saint Leo University, we strive to live by our six core values which include: excellence, respect, community, responsible stewardship, personal development, and most importantly, integrity. As students and staff, we try to incorporate these values into everything we do, whether it is in our daily lives, careers, or connections in our classroom. It is important to examine how our core values are reflected in the coursework and stories we read, or how they are disregarded and the consequences that occur when they are ignored. In Goethe’s Faust and in Machiavelli’s La Mandragola we see many examples of ways that the value of integrity is disregarded. Integrity is defined as the adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; and honesty. The characters in these stories ignore integrity in order to for their own personal goals, which are chiefly to seduce a specific woman and this causes a downward spiral for the characters.
The beginning of these stories is important to understand because each character begins with different levels of integrity in their personal character. In Faust, Faust begins the story with good moral character and he believes in doing the right things. Only until he is heavily influenced by the Devil, does his moral character begin to degrade. In contrast, La Mandragola begins with Callimaco unveiling his scheme to seduce Lucrezia by duping her and her husband. Clearly at the beginning of this story, he is unaffected by moral standards and obviously has no intentions of being honest. While these characters do not start off with the same levels of integrity, they go on a journey which leads them even farther into moral degradation.
Both stories center on the main character and his pursuit to be with a certain woman that they must dupe in order to seduce. In Faust, Faust meets Gretchen whom he wishes to become intimate with. Throughout the entire story, the devil is trying to prove to God that Faust can be shaken morally and Faust becomes dependent on the devil to achieve everything that he does. Faust has the devil set up a meeting so that he can get with Gretchen. He has the devil acquire jewels so he may woo her. When he goes to her house, he sees the purity and innocence in everything around him and he almost stop his plan because he feels guilty and knows that he is wrong for going about it the way that he is. However, when the devil comes back with the jewels he immediately forgets his moral dilemma and decides he will still seduce her with the jewels. He is losing sight of his integrity in this scene and it is apparent that the devil is minimalizing the importance of integrity entirely. In La Mandragola, Callimaco tells his servant Siro that he plans to seduce the wife of the rich Messer Nicia. He convinces a few other men to take part in the plot, but he does not divulge his true plot to them. His already faltered sense of integrity is quickly declining in this scene.
Faust’s integrity and moral responsibilities are almost entirely gone when he returns with the devil to Gretchen’s a while after they had deserted her after he seduced her. In this part of the story Faust does not even have feelings left for Gretchen, but he only returns for physical satisfaction. He uses the devil to get more jewels, and on his way to Gretchen’s, her brother appears and they get in a fight and Faust kills her brother. He does not even feel remorse and his sense of integrity is almost gone. In La Mandragola¸ . Callimaco devises a plot in which they trick the Messer, the wife, her mother, and the Friar. In this story, Callimaco clearly is not adhering to ethical and moral principles because he is unaffected by the fact that he is manipulating many people just to obtain his goal of sleeping with this woman.
By the end of the stories, the characters are still at different levels of integrity. Faust has realized after the Walpurgis night, where the devil tried to permanently separate Faust from any morals, that what they did to Gretchen was wrong. He convinces the devil to help him save her. At this point of the story, Faust is regaining his morals and he realized the depths of his ethical disregards and he beings to regain his integrity. In contrast, Callimaco in La Mandragola goes through with his plan and has no moral obstacles because by this point he has been so dishonest and taken advantage of so many people for his own gain, that he has lost all sense of his integrity. These stories have both demonstrated the ways that a lack of the value of integrity can cause many problems and complications for all of those involved. At Saint Leo, we do our best to incorporate integrity into everything that we do, because we understand that without this value our lives would be filled with distrust and negative consequences.
Posted by: Jordan Bailey at December 7, 2012 03:13 PM
Q: What is Faust's reaction to the young lady’s virtuous rejection of him? Why does Mephistopheles say he cannot deliver her to him immediately? What devilish reason does he give to justify the delay?
A: When Faust is rejected by Margarete (also called Gretchen), he cannot believe that she would do such a thing. He is captivated by her beauty and orders Mephisto to get him the girl. Mephisto tells Faust that she has just come from the sacrament of Confession, and thus, has no power over her, as she is free from sin. Mephisto has a plan to subvert this in his own manner, however. He will manipulate others to allow Gretchen to fall into Faust’s clutches.
Posted by: Glen Pringle at December 2, 2013 03:17 PM
HON250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
2 December 2013
Question: Faust has studied all of the major subjects in which a Renaissance scholar could receive a degree, so can be understood to have exhausted traditional learning. What is his attitude toward his education? In what way does he feel he is smarter than others? What activity has he turned to after rejecting formal education? At line 386, where is he looking? At line 398? What contrast does he draw between these two sights?
Answer: Faust feels unsatisfied with his education and that he has not contributed anything to society. He feels unhappy with all that he knows, even if he knows more than all of the "dimwits". He says, "True, I know more than all of the dimwits, the doctors, masters, clerks, and prelates" (Goethe 16). At line 386 he is looking at the moonlight. At line 398 he is looking his dungeon. He thinks he is limited by the confinement of his gloomy dungeon, however, the moonlight offers him endless endeavers.
Posted by: Jennifer Doyle at December 2, 2013 03:48 PM
Honors 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
4 December 2013
Question: What is Faust's reaction to the young lady's virtuous rejection of him? Why does Mephistopheles say he cannot deliver her to him immediately? What devilish reason does he given to justify the delay?
Answer: When Faust is rejected by the young lady, he seems to fall in love with her. He says, "Heavens, the child is beautiful! I never saw anything so comparable" (Goethe 91).He then tells Mephistopheles that he wants her. Mephistopheles tells Faust he can't deliver her because he has no control over her due to her piety and innocence.
Posted by: Joe Radigan at December 4, 2013 01:50 PM
Honors 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
4 December 2013
Question: What is the significance of the prologue in Heaven? What is God’s attitude toward
Mephistopheles? Does he hate him? Why or why not? Why does God allow Mephistopheles to tempt Faust? Why is he so sure that Faust will prevail against the evil spirit?
Answer: The prologue in Heaven is significant because it represents Goethe's belief. It also helps to set up the rest of the play and asks the question of whether good or evil will win. God allows him to tempt Faust because he believes that Faust will ultimately prevail and attain understanding in the end. He is so sure of Faust because of how he sees him act and his reasoning. God does not hate Mephistopheles.
Posted by: Joe Radigan at December 4, 2013 02:04 PM
HON250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
4 December 2013
Question: What is the first place Faust and Mephistopheles visit together? What happens there? What is the significance of the transformation of wine into fire? What other tricks does Mephistopheles perform?
Answer: The first place that they visit is Auerbach's cellar in Leipzig. Mephistopheles shows four men his magic tricks. Mephistopheles transforms the wine into fire to show Faust how brutal the men can be when they get angry about the flames. Before he leaves, Mephistopheles casts a spell on the men, saying, "False word, False picture change what and where you think you are. So, being here, be there" (Goethe 79).
Posted by: Jennifer Doyle at December 4, 2013 02:57 PM
Q: What is the significance of Mephistopheles’s response to Faust’ s question, “what is your name?” What does this imply? How does Mephistopheles define himself? What is essential to his character and way of being? Why does Mephistopheles need Faust’s permission to depart? Why was he able to get into Faust s home? What is the meaning of the pentagram? What does Mephistopheles have to offer as an example of his “art”?
A: Mephistopheles responds to the question of Faust with riddles and deceit, taking care to never reveal his true name. This implies that Mephistopheles will be leading Faust into trickery later without the latter understanding the intentions of the devil. It is essential that Mephistopheles must keep up his trickery because he is, of course, the Lord of Lies. He needs the permission of Faust to depart because he needs Faust to remove the pentagram that he has on his threshold. He was able to bypass the pentagram to get inside by means of a mistake in the construction of the pentagram. Mephistopheles then shows off his power by summoning spirits into the room and lulling Faust to sleep.
Posted by: Glen Pringle at December 4, 2013 03:05 PM
04 December 2013
HON 250 The Humanistic Tradition
Question 2: What is wrong with Faust at the beginning of the play? Why is he dissatisfied? Why does he abandon his lifelong pursuit of knowledge and science and turn instead to magic? Why does he invoke spirits? What happens when he attempts to summon the spirit of macrocosm? The Earth Spirit? How does he feel after the spirit appears? What does the Spirit mean when it says to Faust, “Peer of the spirit that you comprehend/ Not Mine!”? How does Faust feel after the spirit disappears? What is it that Faust almost drinks? What does the act itself signify/allow? Why doesn't he drink?
At the beginning of the play, Faust is frustrated and dissatisfied because he has been searching for divine knowledge and truth through science but cannot reach it. He is still missing something, and to find it, he resorts to magic. He thinks that there is more to life and since he can't find it in science, he begins looking for it in other ways, so he tries to invoke spirits that may help him in his quest for truth. After looking for truth through magic, he is still not satisfied with the answers. After the spirit disappears, he feels as if he cannot reach truth. He feels hopeless and almost commits suicide by drinking poison, but decides not to when he hears the church bells announcing the coming Easter.
Posted by: Dafne Jacobs at December 4, 2013 03:29 PM
Honors 250 Humanistic Tradition CA02
4 December 2013
Question: Why does God allow Mephistopheles to tempt Faust?
Answer: God allows him to tempt Faust because he knows that Faust is a good man. God says that although Faust may stray from the right path, he knows that since he is a good man, he will always do the right thing in the end. God may also being trying to prove his power over Mephistopheles by showing that he can be more influential than Mephistopheles.
Posted by: Joe Radigan at December 4, 2013 04:02 PM
HON250 The Humanistic Tradition CA02
4 December 2013
Question: What kind of life does Gretchen lead before the arrival of Faust? How is her life changed by his presence and actions? What happened to her mother? What about the child she conceived with Faust?
Answer: Before the arrival of Faust, Gretchen leads a pure, virgin life. She was very religious and very family oriented; she nursed her sick sister until she passed away. When she meets Faust, her morals progressively diminish. She gives her mother a sleeping poiton, which results in her death, simply so that she can spend more time with Faust. Valentin, her brother, says to her, "You are a whore so go and do at least the whore's thing well" (Goethe 135). She then gets pregnant with Faust and kills the infant.
Posted by: Jennifer Doyle at December 4, 2013 04:08 PM
HON250 Humanistic Tradtion CA02
4. How is Faust trying to translate the bible?
I saw Faust translating the bible through the verse of Adam and Eve. They are tempted with fruit by the Devil disguised as a snake. In this case, Mephistopheles tempts Faust with infinite power for a day, in exchange for his soul. This temptation is more than enough for Faust and he seals the deal, blindly literally selling his soul for his desires. If not for Gretchen, Faust's
19. Are there ethical and moral considerations that limit the scope of a person's quest for knowledge?
More often than not, people in their quest for intelligence and knowledge find that there are certain boundaries that they should not cross; specific walls that are universally known to avoid. Faust boldly agrees to knock down these walls in an attempt to learn all about the material and spiritual worlds. Personally, I share the same undying yearn for knowledge in the way that Faust does.
Posted by: Burke Tomaselli at December 4, 2013 04:09 PM
Shayvonne “Shay” Renaud
Hon 250 CA02 Humanistic Traditions
4 December 2013
4. Q: How is Faust trying to translate the Bible? What passage is he working on? What choices of translation does he consider? Which one does he prefer? How does this situation relate to the overall crisis that Faust is facing? What interrupts him as he works?
A: Faust is attempting to translate the Gospel of Saint John into German; Faust both wants to discard religion as mere fantasy, however he still believes religion can be used to disavow drastic rationalism. Faust was frustrated because he could not understand “the word” when he was interrupted by a dog that morphed into Mephistopheles.
Posted by: Shayvonne "Shay" Renaud at December 5, 2013 11:56 AM
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