As the children of a melting pot culture of British, French and German influences, the American consciousness is uniquely poised to reflect upon the impact of one of the most prevalent and oft-retold legends of the modern age: Faust. German in origin but moreover a culmination of various historical figures and indigenous lore, the story of Faust is that of a man who sells his soul to the devil for youth, wealth, pleasure, power or whatever else the writer in question can think to attribute to him. The legend's themes touching so frequently on the subjects of the supernatural and the struggle of good and evil in a Christian mythological setting, it is little wonder that the story has caught the attention and inflamed the imagination of literally hundreds of storytellers from all over Europe and, more recently, North America. Enjoying in excess of five centuries of exposure through books, plays, opera and film, not to mention its basic concepts permeating to the depths of modern speech and expression, Faust is indeed one of the most notable singular legend of modern times. Yet Faust is a malleable figure, gaining influence just as much as it gave, to finally become an amalgam of half a dozen countries' sensibilities.
The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus is known as one of the many books to display a popular understanding of the evolution of modern Western Science. The story is about a medieval doctor who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. However, he starts to fear hell as his motive to repent for his wrongdoings haunts him. This story takes place in Europe during the 16th century, which was when major changes in philosophy and science occurred.
In Faust's opening monologue in 'Night', whose source material is mainly Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, Faust rejects book learning in favour of magic. However, the positive lights towards which he then turns, first the moon shining outside his window, then the Macrocosm and Earth Spirit, evoke from him the language of eighteenth-century sensibility. Faust is interested primarily in his emotions, and his narrow gothic room, emblem of his dry intellectual world, offers
Dr. Faust is a legend from the sixteenth century that tells the tale of a man that sells his sole to the devil for non-human powers. This legend is influenced by the time that it was written. During the sixteenth century religion had a large role on the society. It had affected everything from Government to everyday life for people. This story was set in the area of Europe. Which had a heavily religious influence. The Faust legend employs the notion of black magic and sorcery. This was often related to the devils work in this time due to the role of religion in society.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s version of the Faust Legend in the works of “Young Goodman Brown” is considered to be a significantly different version when compared to the common Faust Legend. The article that I found discussing this subject is, The Rewriting of the Faust Myth in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, “Young Goodman Brown.” By Hubert Zapf. A brief summery as to what this essay is about, Zapf’s entire thesis is filled with information and facts that all leads up to the analyzing of the common use and application of the Faust legend in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown”, and how it compares in contrast to other “Faust users”. The points made through out Zapf’s essay consist of what the Faust legend originally is and how Hawthorne used it differently in his story, “Young Goodman Brown”. Zapf is analyzing the similarities, differences, and symbolism of Hawthorne’s version of Faust compared to the traditional out look of the Faust as well as the differences when compared with “Young Goodman Brown”. The comparing of this information is a way for Zapf to show that, “Both the transgression and the price to be paid are symbolically expressed in the central element of the Faust Myth” and to really show that that Hawthorne was using his own version of Faust (19). My own opinion of this essay confides with the fact that I agree the use of the Faust legend in the works of Hawthorne has the foundation of Faust, however there are some differences as well.
The Romanticism period is marked by changes in societal beliefs as a rejection of the values and scientific thought pursued during the Age of Enlightenment. During this period, art, music, and literature are seen as high achievement, rather than the science and logic previously held in esteem. Nature is a profound subject in the art and literature and is viewed as a powerful force. Searching for the meaning of self becomes a noble quest to undertake. In the dramatic tragedy of “Faust” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, we find a masterpiece of Romanticism writing that includes the concepts that man is essentially good, the snare of pride, and dealing with the supernatural.
The old legend of Faust is, in short, about a young scholar who made a deal with Mephistopheles, the devil. Faust was seeking ultimate knowledge and in the deal the devil said he would grant Faust ultimate knowledge in return for his soul. Faust agrees to the deal and after a certain time period of possessing ultimate knowledge Faust suddenly dies. There are many different versions of the story as to exactly how he died, and some versions of the story go into more detail than others. As time passed, Faustian legends were being told in many different stories, many different ways. To have a Faust story, four basic elements should be present: a Faust figure, a devil figure, some sort of temptation, and a price.
Even though the original story of Faust is complicated, it still has a unifying theme which is Faust’s discontentment with the limitations of man’s existing capabilities, -- his motivating forces to surpass the boundaries set on human experience and consciousness. In 1926, Faust was made into a silent movie by F. W. Murnau. “Faust” is a story of a man who sells his soul to the devil, Mephisto. It is believed that the Germans loved Goethe and so those who have seen Murnau’s film were insulted with the way Murnau directed the film – the liberties he took in the movie. The film was not totally an adaptation of Goethe’s Faust since there are a lot of spotted differences especially with the flow of the story.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the brilliant mind behind the 17th century’s epic poem “Faust”, illustrates a combining structure of desire and self-indulgence. His idea was to capture the ideal image of good vs. evil and how easily it can be misconstrued. “Of all the great dualities of hum an experience 'good and evil' have been the most instrumental in shaping the beliefs, rituals, and laws, of Homo Sapiens.”(Argano)
Faust is full of angst because he has mastered subjects like philosophy and medicine, but he thinks that he has not done anything for mankind. This leads him to learning magic so he can have the power of the universe, which leads him to a crossroads because this is going against God. He becomes hesitant at first when he begins wagering with Mephistopheles, but in time, we see that Faust has changed and keeps going to Mephistopheles before making decisions.