Essay about Faust, the Superman Before the Übermensch Theory

Essay about Faust, the Superman Before the Übermensch Theory

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The protagonist in Goethe's Faust I is a controversial character. Doctor Faust's moral character is not clearly defined and as a result, it makes it difficult for one to determine if he is a good or bad person. Despite the ambiguities, several pieces of evidence throughout the play show that Doctor Faust is a negative figure. Firstly, although Faust's perspective and character most likely started off to be positive, they are generally negative at the beginning of the play. Secondly, Faust's actions are not acceptable according to society's standards, therefore making him an immoral person. In Goethe's Faust I, Doctor Faust is a negative figure because he is an immoral man shown by his attitude and personality, notably the characteristics that resemble the Übermensch.
Faust has a overall negative character, evident in his speech. Even from his very first appearance in the play, Faust shows a very negative perspective within the first part of his monologue. This monologue consists of Faust's many achievements in life and how he is still yearning for more. The contents of this monologue seem to show ambitious goals and a positive attitude to continually improve, but Faust's tone of voice indicates that he is dissatisfied and greedy for more knowledge. His godless nature is also hinted in this first monologue when he states that he studied, " [his] sorrow, theology" (Goethe, 365). He implies that theology is more of a waste of time than studying any other subject, rejecting God. In addition to disrespecting God, he implies that he is equal to God: "Am I a god? The light pervades me so!" (Goethe, 439). Faust's desire is to become more than human is in a way challenging God. Furthermore, Faust also shows signs of arrogance, as he...

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...the negative characteristics outweigh the positive. As a result of rejecting the society's moral code, subliminal messages concerning his goals, and characteristics similar to the Übermensch, Doctor Faust is a negative man.

Bishop, Paul. "The Guilty Hero, Or: The Tragic Salvation of Faust." A Companion to Goethe's Faust: Parts I and II. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2001. 56-75. Print.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von. Faust, Part I. New York: Bantam, 1985. Print.
Hoslett, Schuyler D. "The Superman in Nietzsche's Philosophy and in Geothe's Faust." The German Quarterly 31 (1939): 294-300. Print.
Merkel, Gottfried F. "Goethe's Faust. Man or Superman?" The German Quarterly 23.1 (1950):
9-25. Print.
Tantillo, Astrida Orle. " Damned to Heaven: The Tragedy of Faust Revisited."Monatshefte Für Deutschsprachige Literatur Und Kultur 99.4 (2007): 454-468. Print.

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