Reflection in Goethe’s Faust of the Advanced Enlightenment Ideas of the Epoch

Only he is worthy of life and freedom,

Who every day for them goes to battle.

I. Goethe

Goethe created his “Faust” throughout his life.

Although Goethe did not write Faust for the theater, it is both a tragedy and a philosophical poem. It reflected the search for a whole generation of German philosophical thought. “Faust” unusually complex work, the main idea of ​​which was difficult to determine the author himself.

The tragedy begins with two prologues. The first – “Prologue in the theater.” This is a conversation between a poet, an actor and a director. The poet dreams of high goals. He despises the “crappy scribbler” and sees his task as revealing “the power of mankind living in a poet”. The actor urges more courage to take everything from life itself to attract people’s hearts. The director represents the business side and is not going to believe in sublime deception.


second prologue – “Prologue in Heaven” – is revealed by a hymn to the mighty nature, eternal movement, eternal harmony, anthem to the Sun and Earth.

Archangels sing the hymn of the universe. God in Goethe is a positive creative principle, a life-affirming force of nature and man. Mephistopheles embodies denial and doubt, disbelief in the triumph of human genius, the spirit of skepticism.

Mephistopheles argues that the mind does not go to man for future use, for he sees only suffering around. He sees a man as an absurd, long-legged grasshopper, who makes a fool of himself and inevitably gets into the mud. Mephistopheles is sure that even a person with high aspirations, such as Dr. Faust, will succumb to low temptations and turn off the path, abandoning his search. “He is still wandering in the darkness, But the truth will be illuminated by the ray,” God replies. He believes in man. It is the faith of Goethe himself, the belief of the enlightener in the power of reason, in the victory of the humanist principle.

To resolve this dispute, the author decides to

hold his characters through suffering and doubt. In the companions of Faust, Mephistopheles is given: “As a demon, teasing him, let him bring to the point!”

Mephistopheles in Goethe does not at all resemble the usual biblical Satan. It is much more complicated. Mephistopheles is a symbolic figure, but thanks to the author it is a living individuality. He is an evil tempter who despises a man who does not believe in his strength, but at the same time he knows how to see the wrong side of things. This is a kind of ironic philosopher-skeptic and in this, as it were, complements Faust.

In the mouth of Mephistopheles, many truths, sound judgments of the author himself were invested. Among them are those that have become winged: “Dry, my friend, the theory is everywhere, And the tree of life is always green.”

Appearing before Faust at the time of his reflection and hesitation, Mephistopheles promises eternal youth, joys and pleasures, but in exchange demands to sell his soul. Faust agrees, and for him begins the path of cognition, of movement towards truth.

Meeting Mephistopheles speeds up Faust’s decision to break with the past, get out of the dark hole and enter “into a world where life sparkles.” But he is looking not for empty entertainment, but for higher knowledge. Love changes everything in his life, and it leads to a tragic ending.

The mother of Margarita is dying, and Margarita’s brother is killed at the hands of Faust. Left alone, without support and lover, who abandoned her, Margarita kills her newborn child. The highest court of conscience, Goethe justifies his heroine. She loved And nobody wanted evil. Her suffering is greater than her fault.

After the great trials and disappointed, having known the ups and downs, having learned love and having lost the beloved, Faust eventually acquires inner harmony. Shocked by the fate of Margarita, he plunges into a deep sleep. And in this dream nature itself pours in him the forces for new searches. With the rising of the sun, Faust awakens and welcomes life, light, the beautiful Earth and its eternally creative powers. He seems to be reborn and finds the highest satisfaction in creative activity for the good of the people.

Faust is one hundred years old in the last scenes of the tragedy. But neither old age, nor sickness, nor grief extinguished his high aspirations. Overcoming the temptations of Mephistopheles, he found his place in life.

Together with the workers, he is building a giant dam. Faust is blind, but sees more than those who worry only about themselves. Looking to the future, he is experiencing the highest moment of his life: “The years of life were not in vain”. Faust dies, feeling the immortality of his work.

In his great work, Goethe posed the most important question – the sense of being and the appointment of man on the Earth. Goethe solved this issue as an educator who believed in the power of reason and the charity of progress.

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Reflection in Goethe’s Faust of the Advanced Enlightenment Ideas of the Epoch