Faust as a Romantic Hero
In Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, the protagonist exhibits many characteristics of a typical romantic hero. First, he is larger then life. He has obtained numerous advanced degrees, and conjures up spirits. In his effort to go beyond knowledge and gain experience he strikes a bargain with the Devil. He is "not afraid of the Devil or hell" ( Lawall & Mack, 444) and proves that by making the deal with the Devil. Secondly, he embodies the best and worst of mankind. He is a scholar and would be considered a Renaissance man. Earlier in his life, he helped his father, who was a doctor, treat sick people during a plague. On the other hand, his lust for Margarete displays the worst of mankind. This lust led to the death of Margarete, her brother, her mother, and her baby. Margarete is a simple, innocent girl who Faust can physically have but not form a permanent bond with (Lawall & Mack, 438). And lastly, he is a icon for all humanity. Faust is continually striving, and reaching for more power, more knowledge and more experience (Mitchell, 5). While this continually leads to failure, he never quits trying to gain more . He is also versatile, becoming despondent when he can't obtain what he desires. The reader might see these failures as Faust's tragedy, as everything he is involved in turns out badly. But, in these failures he is representative of humanity. In the Prologue in Heaven the Lord states that "man errs as long as he will strive." (Lawall & Mack, 442) Even a successful life has not satisfied him. By any standard most people would consider his life a rich and full one. He has mastered the subjects of philosophy, law, medicine, and theology ( Lawall & Mack, 443). His expertise is sought out by his students, townspeople, and others on the subjects in which he is an expert. Even though he has obtained this position of respect and notoriety, he feels depressed in that his life is unfulfilled. He feels...
Cited: Lawall, Sarah, and Maynard Mack, eds. The Norton Anthonolgy of World Masterpieces. New
York: W W Norton & Co, 1999.
Mitchell, Ruth. Faust: Parts I and II. Barron 's Educational Series, 1985. 25 Mar. 2006
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