Commentary Against Absurdity in Goethe's Faust Essay

Commentary Against Absurdity in Goethe's Faust Essay

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Commentary Against Absurdity in Faust

 

Goethe's "Faust" could be called a comedy as readily as it is subtitled "A Tragedy." In the course of the play, the author finds comic or ironic ways to either mock or punish religionists, atheists, demons, and deities. Despite the obvious differences between these, Goethe unites them all by the common threads of ego and ridiculousness. Thus, the play as a whole becomes more of a commentary against absurdity than against religion.

            The first victims of satire in Faust are Satan and God, who appear in somewhat small-scale form in an early scene that parallels the Book of Job. In Goethe's Heaven reigns "The Lord," to whom a trio of archangels ascribe creation. Enter Mephistopheles, and all semblance of seriousness is lost. Introduced as a demon, and arguably THE Devil, he is witty, cynical, and in general a caricature of what religionists throughout the ages have labeled pure evil. The Lord proceeds to give Mephistopheles permission to go to his "good servant" Faust,...

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