Effects of Reaching For the Intangible
Authors Goethe of Faust and Shelley of Frankenstein depict the inevitable downfalls of the seemingly omnipotent protagonists who in the end, only reach an undying thirst for more than they can handle. However, with each going to the extent of isolating himself to challenge and seek the universal unknowns through his studies, both Faust and Frankenstein face lonesome defeat in their desperation for answers. Faust seeks to attain the supernatural in a natural world but ends up allowing the very gift of abundant knowledge to destroy him. Similarly, Frankenstein attempts to defy all science by creating an unnatural being that ends up controlling him. Both Faust and Frankenstein attempt to reach the supernatural to in turn help others but end up not only creating further isolation from their communities but also greater trials and discomfort. With a broad intellectual background, Faust becomes what society would view as a ‘renaissance man’, a person whose expertise spans over a wide range of subjects. Being so well-rounded in many different areas of intellect would allow room for any person of such acumen to be boastful or comfortable with his or her mental capacity; however, in Faust’s case, he is dissatisfied with the knowledge he has as he states from the introduction of his character, “I’ve studied now, to my regret, Philosophy, Law, Medicine… yet here I am a wretched fool and still no wiser than before” (Goethe, 354-359). From the beginning of the play, Faust falls into an unhuman state of living by pursuing the unattainable. His greed and desperation cause Faust to take measures beyond what is capable in the hands of man by taking up a bargain with the devil. He tampers with the idea of working with the supernatural, instead of upwardly revering this paranormal spectacle. Granted the powers Faust sought from the devil, he became absorbed in not only creating but also controlling his life to be one of perfection. Faust...
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