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Goethe's Faust

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posted on Feb, 28 2017 @ 11:20 PM
Hi and welcome! I recently began a re-read of Goethe's masterpiece Faust and had forgotten just how good it is! The plot line alone is fascinating--the jaded scholar who realizes how insignificant and incomplete human knowledge is and yearns for the secret of life. He resorts to magic, and evoking spirits in order to learn the hidden knowledge (not unlike Eve's transgression). And who should appear?

The Dedication alone is worth a read:

You come back, wavering shapes, out of the past.
In which you first appeared to clouded eyes.
Should I attempt this time to hold you fast?
Does this old dream still thrill a heart so wise?
You crowd? You press? Have, then, your way at last.
As from the mist around me you arise;
My breast is stirred and feels with youthful pain
The magic breath that hovers round your train.

With you return pictures of joyous days,
Shadows that I once loved again draw near;
Like a primeval tale, half lost in a haze,
First love and friendship also reappear;
Grief is renewed, laments retrace the maze
Of Life's strange labyrinthian career,
Recalling dear ones who, by fortune's treason
Robbed of fair hours, passed before my season.

They will not hear me as I sing these songs,
The parted souls to whom I sang the first;
Gone is the first response, in vain one longs
For friendly crowds that have long been dispersed.
My grief resounds to strangers, unknown throngs
Applaud it, and my anxious heart would burst.
Whoever used to praise my poem's worth,
If they live, stray scattered throughout the earth.

And I am seized by long forgotten yearning
For that kingdom of spirits, still and grave;
To flowing song I see my feelings turning,
As from aeolian harps, wave upon wave;
A shudder grips me, tear on tear falls burning,
Soft grows my heart, once so severe and brave;
What I possess seems so far away to me,
And what is gone becomes reality.

I've had enough losses to begin to know what Goethe means by his dedication. Those last two lines are just so powerful, and describe growing older so well. Imagine the yearning you'd feel if you've reached the age when you know more people in the next world than this one.

So the poem promises to be excellent on a second reading.. but so dark! Another soul faces eternal perdition, so repent before it's too late type of message. What I find so appealing about Christ is his way to confront evil with love and give your enemy the choice of continuing evil against a loving being or change his ways. Hell and perdition are hard for me to fathom.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. How about you? Any ideas about Faust, Heaven/Hell, the pursuit of knowledge, etc?

Thanks for reading!

edit on 28-2-2017 by zosimov because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 28 2017 @ 11:29 PM
a reply to: zosimov

Hi zosi. I can always count on you to bring some humanistic depth to ATS

I was just about to go to bed so I'll read and watch tomorrow, good night

posted on Feb, 28 2017 @ 11:30 PM
a reply to: knowledgehunter0986

Hey thanks my friend! Good night and will discuss later

posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 12:14 AM
a reply to: zosimov

F.W. Murnau
116 minutes
Black and White
Required reading and viewing
at my alma mater.

Check it out :

BEST to You
edit on 1-3-2017 by Wildmanimal because: add line

posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:25 AM

originally posted by: Wildmanimal
a reply to: zosimov

F.W. Murnau
116 minutes
Black and White
Required reading and viewing
at my alma mater.

Check it out :

BEST to You

Hi manimal,

I will definitely be checking out your recommendation today and will post my impressions here. That it's from 1925 Germany is fascinating-- not in the least because it's Goethe's home country, but also imagining the conditions of the day and the country's upcoming Faustian plunge into the depths of hell. Hitler's emersion in the occult only adds to the interest, imo.

Thank you so much for the link. All the best to you as well!

edit on 1-3-2017 by zosimov because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 1 2017 @ 07:35 AM
I can definitely sympathize with the drive which led Faust down his dark path. We are stuck here with vast but finite knowledge with which to face the howling infinite. This excerpt says it all:

I have, alas, studied philosophy,
Jurisprudence and medicine, too,
And, worst of all, theology
With keen endeavor, through and through--
And here I am, for all my lore,
The wretched fool I was before.
Called Master of Arts, and Doctor to boot,
For ten years now almost I confute
And up and down, wherever it goes,
I drag my students by the nose--
And see that for all our science and art
We can know nothing. It burns my heart.
Of course, I am smarter than all the shysters,
The doctors, and teachers, and scribes, and
No scrupple or doubt could make me ill,
I am not afraid of the Devil or hell--
But therefore I also lack all delight,
Do not fancy that I know anything right,
Do not fancy that I could teach or assert
What would better mankind or what might

I also have neither money or treasures,
Nor worldly honors or earthly pleasures;
No dog would want to live longer this way!

edit on 1-3-2017 by zosimov because: (no reason given)

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