I now taste my own supreme moment.
Goethe wrote his tragedy “Faust” for over 25 years. The first part of it was published in 1808, the second – only a quarter of a century. This work had a strong influence on all European literature of the first half of the XIX century.
Who is the main character, whose name is the famous tragedy? What is he? Goethe himself spoke about him as follows: the main thing in it is “a tireless activity until the end of life, which is getting higher and purer.”
Faust is a man with high aspirations. All his life he devoted to science. He studied philosophy, law, medicine, theology, achieved academic degrees. Years passed, and he realized with desperation that he had not approached the truth for a single moment, that all these years he had only been distancing himself from the knowledge of real life, that he had exchanged “lush nature” for “decay and trash.”
Faust realized that he needed a living feeling. He turns to the mysterious spirit of the earth. The spirit appears before him, but it is only a ghost. Faust is acutely aware of his loneliness, longing, discontent with the world and himself: “Who will tell me whether to part with dreams? Who will teach you? Where to go?” he asks. But no one can help him. Faustus seems to be looking at him with a sarcastic skull, “white teeth sparkling”, and old instruments with which Faust hoped
Reflections of Faust included the experiences of Goethe himself and his generation about the meaning of life. Goethe created his Faustus as a person who hears the call of life, the call of a new era, but still can not escape from the grip of the past. After all, it was exactly the contemporaries of the poet who were German educators.
In accordance with the ideas of the Enlightenment Faust is a man of cause. Even translating the Bible into German, he, disagreeing with the famous phrase: “In the beginning was the Word,” clarifies: “In the beginning was the case.”
To Faust in the form of a black poodle is Mephistopheles, the spirit of doubt, exciting to the point. Mephistopheles is not just a tempter and an antipode of Faust. He is a philosophical skeptic with a brilliant critical mind. Mephistopheles are witty and sarcastic and favorably different from the schematic religious character.
Goethe put a lot of his thoughts into the mouth of Mephistopheles, and he, like Faust, became the spokesman for the ideas of the Enlightenment. Thus, dressed in the clothes of a university professor, Mephistopheles ridicules the reverence for scientific circles before the verbal formula, insane cramming, beyond which there is no place for living thought: “You must trust words: you can not change iota in words…”
Faust concludes a contract with Mephistopheles not for the sake of empty entertainment, but for the sake of higher knowledge. He would like to experience, learn, and happiness, and sorrow, to know the higher meaning of life. And Mephistopheles gives Faust an opportunity to taste all earthly goods so that he can forget about his high impulses to knowledge. Mephistopheles sure that will make Faust “crawl in the litter.” He puts it before the most important temptation – a love for a woman.
The temptation, which invented for Faust the limp features, has a name – Margarita, Gretchen. She is fifteen, she is a simple, clean and innocent girl. Seeing her on the street, Faust flares up to her mad passion. He is attracted to this young commoner, perhaps because he acquires with her a sense of beauty and goodness, which he had previously sought. Love gives them bliss, but it also causes misfortune. The poor girl became a criminal: for fear of human fame, she drowned the child she had born.
Upon learning of the incident, Faust tries to help Margarita and, together with Mephistopheles, enters the prison. But Margarita refuses to follow him. “I submit to God’s judgment,” the girl says. Leaving, Mephistopheles says that Margarita is condemned to torment. But a voice from above says: “Saved!” Preferring death with the devil, Gretchen saved her soul.
Goethe’s hero lives up to a hundred years. He is blind and is in complete darkness. But even the blind and feeble, he tries to realize his dream: to build a dam for people. Goethe shows that Faust did not succumb to the enticements and temptations of Mephistopheles and found his place in life. In accordance with the ideals of the Enlightenment, the protagonist becomes the creator of the future. It is in this that he finds his happiness. Hearing the sound of the buzz of the builders’ shovels, Faust presents himself with a picture of a rich, fruitful and prosperous country where “a free and free nation lives on earth”. And he utters secret words about what he would like to stop a moment. Faust dies, but his soul is saved.
The confrontation between the two main characters ends with Faust’s victory. The seeker of truth did not become the prey of dark forces. Faust’s restless thought, his aspirations merged with the quest of mankind, with the movement towards light, goodness, truth.