Human Nature and Faust

Powerful Essays
Human Nature and Faust
Henry Taylor
Professor Green
Humanities 113

Humans are the most complex and most evolutionary advanced organism on the earth. While many other organisms experience fear, happiness and desire, no other animal experiences lonesomeness, lust, and greed like that found in human nature. These and other major negative aspects of human nature work to limit human potential. Faust is a classic story, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, about a romantic character searching for a greater purpose in his life, motivated by his distaste with human nature. Throughout the epic poem Dr. Heinrich Faust struggles but ultimately succeeds in overcoming some major hindrances of human nature in his ultimate quest to finding meaning and understanding in life. The struggle over whether humans are ultimately good or bad is represented by the love affair between Faust and Margarette (Gretchen), as well as Faust's quest after her death. In the prologue an important bet is made between God and the Devil (Mephisto) concerning Faust and whether he will reach his end goal of understanding and knowledge. “So long as he walks the earth alive...Men make mistakes as long as they strive.” (Faust Prologue lines 74-76) God is betting that even though humans have inherent flaws in their nature, that ultimately they are good and will succeed if they try. Mephisto, however, is wagering that the negative aspects of human nature outweigh the positives. Given the opportunity to show Faust the joys in embracing the negative, ultimately hindering, aspects of human nature, he bets he can convince Faust to abandon his search for meaning and understanding. This demonstrates that Faust's journey is about more than just the soul of Faust but rather whether God was successful in his job as a creator, whether humans and human nature are inherently a good or bad thing. While his dissatisfaction with

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