Essay PreviewMore ↓
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who lived to the age of eighty-two and produced more than 130 volumes of poetry, plays, letters, and science, is acknowledged to be one of the giants of world literature. His writing ranged from fairy tales, to psychological novels, to political and historical novels, and to something completely unique and different such as Faust.
Goethe was born shortly after the death of the Pope, on August 28, 1749 in Frankfurt am Main to a middle class family. His mother had many connections because she was a daughter of the mayor. Young Goethe was brought up having a feeling of aristocracy. He had only two siblings out of the total eight who survived. One was his sister Cornelia and the other was the first born. He began writing at an early age and wrote abundantly. As C.P. Magill points out, "his writings are of daunting bulk and diversity. He is the national poet of a most industrious people and the quantity of information about him is correspondingly enormous." His poetry is of numerous styles, ranging from the Renaissance to his own times.
At the age of sixteen he was sent to study law at a university, but would have more gladly read classics at another university. After ten years he was invited by Duke Karl August to come to Weimar (this city would be his actual home until his death there on March 22, 1832). He was already a good lawyer and had written the novel Werther. His work in Weimar caused him to observe the natural world around him and led him towards science. He would yet write fourteen volumes on the subject. At that time Weimar was an important city in Germany. C.P. Magill describes the time in the following passage:
"Up to the early years of this century, Weimar remained a symbol of the best elements in the German cultural tradition, and a center of activity in the arts. It was, for example, in its art schools, which Walter Gropius took over in 1919 and renamed the Bauhaus, that the modern movement in architecture began. Unhappy political associations now cling around the name of Weimar, providing for pessimists the futility of the exalted humanism engendered there in the eighteenth century and reminding the more sanguine that ideals are so called because they are unattainable."
Footnote: Magill, C.P., German Literature (Great Britain, Oxford University Press, 1974) 50.
How to Cite this Page
"Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Feb 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... During his time with Mephisto, Faust comes across a young woman by the name of Gretchen, “Well. What’s doing. When am I going to have her?”(Goethe Line 2831). While reading, Gretchen is portrayed as your ordinary peasant girl. She’s innocent, pure and a little bit naïve for her age. As the poem progresses, Faust manages to seduce the young innocent girl, with the guidance of Mephistopheles. Gretchen gives into temptation. Here, Gretchen is the embodiment of good, while contrast, Faust is evil.... [tags: character analysis]
1014 words (2.9 pages)
- ... Harry Steinhauer believes that a modern reading of the novel depict Werther as a man who cannot, “...find a place for himself in society.” However, if we are to believe that Werther is aware of the difference in values between society and the individual, we too can see that he consciously elects to alienate himself from society by following his own desires as opposed to those structured to complement society. It can be said that while Lotte accepts the values of society and Werther opposes them, both of these actions come as a direct result of the interdependent relationship between the individual and society.... [tags: notorius German writer and statesman]
1359 words (3.9 pages)
- Innocence can often times be acceptable, such as when a young child breaks an expensive item, or if a friend were to feed someone food that she did not know would cause an allergic reaction. Though innocence can be a typical label for someone that is uncorrupted by negative experiences or unaware of consequences, it easily becomes destructive because it can be used as a tool to construe a situation in a way that’s beneficial to one person. Both Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Mary Shelley’s characters idealize innocence in ways that justify their actions, no matter how horrid, through downplaying the existence of other traits and factors that may exist in a complex situation besides innocenc... [tags: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Romanticism]
1785 words (5.1 pages)
- 	Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who lived to the age of eighty-two and produced more than 130 volumes of poetry, plays, letters, and science, is acknowledged to be one of the giants of world literature. His writing ranged from fairy tales, to psychological novels, to political and historical novels, and to something completely unique and different such as Faust. 	Goethe was born shortly after the death of the Pope, on August 28, 1749 in Frankfurt am Main to a middle class family. His mother had many connections because she was a daughter of the mayor.... [tags: essays research papers]
1016 words (2.9 pages)
- 1. Faust is a play written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe . He published part I of the tradgedy in 1808, and Part II was published in 1832. The play was originally written in the German language. In summary, an old scholar, Faust is dissatisfied and yearns to comprehend not just all knowledge, but all experience. In such a quest, Faust makes a bargain with a spirit named Mephistopheles. The pact provides for the loss of Faust's soul in the event that Mephistopheles should provide him with any sensuous experience to his liking.... [tags: tragedies]
336 words (1 pages)
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in 1749 on August 28 in Frankfurt, Germany, and died in 1832 on March 22 in Weimar, Germany. Goethe was 82 at his time of death and he lived in Modern Times. Goethe was a German poet, writer, scientist, theatre manager, critic, and an amateur artist. He is considered the greatest German literary figure of modern times. Goethe was born in a large house in Frankfurt, Germany. As Goethe was growing up he was home schooled. His father and his private tutors gave him lessons all the common subjects of their time, especially the languages.... [tags: Important Germans]
1212 words (3.5 pages)
Myth of the 'Noble Savage' Illustrated in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther
- Political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is often attributed to the discussion of the “noble savage,” and the existence of natural man. Throughout numerous works of literature, the theme of the “noble savage” is prevalent and enduring, providing indirect authors’ commentary through the actions and development of various characters. Two such novels are Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther. In both novels, Shelly and Goethe demonstrate strong Romantic ideals, while developing various characters using Rousseau’s myth.... [tags: The Sorrows of Young Werther, frankenstein]
1379 words (3.9 pages)
- “The period from 1700 to 1840 produced some highly sophisticated psychological theorizing that became central to German intellectual and cultural life, well in advance of similar developments in the English-speaking world” (Bell i). Some of the psychologists that have helped German literature, advanced are Sigmund Freud, Karen Horney, and Carl Rodgers. Originally, Sigmund Freud studied personality and developed a theory of neurosis and later, Karen Horney built upon his theory, changing some ideas, making her own theory of neurosis.... [tags: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Romanticism]
1673 words (4.8 pages)
- WERTHER AND SELF DECEPTION Romanticism was deeply interested in creating art and literature of suffering, pain and self-pity. With poets pining for a love long gone and dead and authors falling for unavailable people, it appears that romantics in literature were primarily concerned with self-injury and delusion. In Goethe's novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther", we find another romantic character fulfilling his tragic destiny by falling victim to extreme self-deception. Werther's story may appear simple and even trite to some- a young man falls in love with a woman he can never be with and deludes himself into believing that she loves him too only to be severely disappointed in the end.... [tags: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]
1360 words (3.9 pages)
- Faust as a Tragic Hero In the story of Faust, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust is whirled into an adventure of sin and deceit. The further Faust follows the devil the closer he comes to his own demise, taking down with him the innocent Gretchen. As Faust goes on he embodies the characteristics of a tragic hero in a sense that he is borderline good and evil, constantly battling his conscience. The one major flaw that initiates his self-destruction is the fact that he feels he is extremely intelligent and can not be out witted.... [tags: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe essays papers]
770 words (2.2 pages)
It was probably in Weimar that Goethe developed his liking for politics. In any case he learned to think of it as his home. As he traveled even more, he grew severely ill and was forced to return home from Leipzig. During the time of this illness he experimented with religious mysticism, alchemy, astrology, and occult philosophy, all of which is evident in Faust. Upon his recovery, Goethe decided to continue his studies at Strassburg which would have a great impact on his life.
"When he returned to Weimar at last, he fell into a deep relationship with Charlotte von Stein. He wrote many volumes of letters--1800 of them to Frau von Stein alone."
Footnote: Magill, 46.
At this time Goethe wrote a large part of his works such as Die Geschwister, Der Triumph der Eempfindsamkeit, and books of poetry. His affair with Frau von Stein was not enough, however, to inspire such great works such Egmont, Faust, Tasso, and Iphigenie. It was his visit to Italy that helped him create such masterpieces. Most of his journey to Italy was spent at Rome and it was a turning point of his life. This journey had no affect on him, however, what Magill says about this is the following:
"It would be misleading to say that the experience changed him, for he saw in Italy only what he wanted to see and took from it only what he needed. But he acquired, through the impact of the Italian landscape with its wealth of clear-cut forms..."
Footnote: Magill, 49.
After this journey he wrote Italienische Reise in which he expressed his enjoyment of the Italian landscape.
As the years went on, and the French Revolution occurred, Goethe began an active political life. He thought much about German politics, saying that the root of the trouble is the fragmentation of German culture. Surprisingly, as Goethe's life came to its last decade he continued to write poetry very vigorously, just as in youth. By this time he was entirely famous and a world figure. People streamed to Weimar from both hemispheres allowing Goethe to learn the current events. He summarized his feelings in Wilheim Meistres Wanderjahrde. He kept track of the technological and social progress, such as the building of the Panama and Suez canals. Just as Dante wrote his Divine Comedy, summarizing all of his life's experiences and feelings, just so did Goethe come up with Faust, writing in completely different styles and ways. It has elements of both the five-act Greek Tragedy and of medieval mystery and allegory. In the play, Faust and Mephistopheles travel through many strange places including the witches' mountain and Greece, encountering even stranger mythological creatures. It seems like in Faust he has summarized the knowledge of his times. At first the play was considered to be too long to have a structure. That was because in those times you could not perform such an enormous play all at once. It became feasible only after both parts were abridged. The entire play's structure seems simple enough with the happy ending being foretold in the Prologue and the entire play being a cultural experience. And yet it deals with the intricacies of the human soul.
Mephistopheles is sometimes portrayed as an evil spirit, but at times as an wise scholar. Faust himself is tricked by Mephistopheles, but at last goes to Heaven. In him the reader sees Goethe himself, as he studied the occult, and then began his
Goethe himself is very much like Faust, writing the tremendous play at the end of his life. As C.P. Magill states, "he is a lucky man, the kind who gets away with murder."