Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Hero's Journey of Faust

By Penny Peterson

Goethe’s Faust depicts a man torn by a changing modern society and how Faust ultimately meets and deals with these changes. The play does follow the Hero’s Journey as Faust is unsatisfied with life and agonizes over his decision to sell his soul to the Devil. Faust ends up making a deal with the Devil and he takes the role of an antihero. Through his adventures Faust has his loyal servant Wagner beside him. Wagner is the one that tries to pull in Faust and help him see the error of his ways.

The ordeal that Faust encounters that changes him forever is love. His love for a woman not only wakes up his human feelings but Faust eventually seduces Gretchen. When Gretchen’s brother finds out, Faust is called out to fight and Faust wins the fight with the Devil’s help. Now Faust must leave Gretchen and run for his life as the townspeople want him arrested.

Much later in the play, Faust finds out that Gretchen has given birth to his child out of wedlock and has been scorned by the town. Faust returns to the town to find that Gretchen, in grief died along with his child. After this horrific event, Faust turns his talents to better mankind. He continues his good deeds until he is old and feeble. As his last hours are slipping away, the Lord asks Faust if he will repent giving Faust a chance at salvation. Faust repents and his guilt and love in life, is his salvation in the end.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that you brought up the play "Faust". Goethe held a lot of influence. Rudolf Steiner uses this play for a basis of his life path philosophy, Anthropology and was deeply inspired by Goethe. Once I became aware of this work I started to see it pieces of it in other texts. It's a reworking of an earlier play. Oh, the intertexuality!