This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

In the story Faust, Goethe portrays something that lies within everyman, a challenging spirit. In the beginning God challenges Satan and then a little later Faust bets Mephistopheles. Faust is to the end point in his life at this time. He feels that his life’s work and study are worthless and he has missed out on numerous opportunities, so what a perfect time for the Devil to appear to Faust.

Faust shows his temperament towards the idea of his past of knowledge towards Wagner a student, “The times often just a source of gloom! You take one look at them and run away. A trash can and a littered storage room, At best a plot for some heroic play with excellent pragmatic saws that come resoundingly from puppets’ jaws.” He does not feel any importance in studying the past, as if his whole life was a waste of time. He even proclaims, “We must break off now for the present.” Faust feels that the present is what matters, if all one does is study the past they miss what’s before their eyes. He thinks that you must use all the knowledge that one can possess and never let it go to waste.

Faust comes very close to suicide. He does not go through with it and soon after that Mephistopheles comes into the scene. The Devil knows that he is approaching Faust at a very vulnerable and weak point in Faust’s existence, so he must feels as if he has the upper hand. As the Devil taunts Faust, Faust decides that he can handle anything that Mephistopheles can throw his way, “If I ever lie down upon a bed of ease, then let that be my final end! If you can cozen me with lies into self-complacency, or can beguile with pleasure you devise. Let that day be the last for me! This bet I offer!” HE feels that he will never portray his word and he truly believes that he is stronger and more powerful than the devil himself! “I’ll honor this pact, you need not be afraid! The aim of all my strength and mind will be to keep this promise I have made.” Mephistopheles questions Faust’s word and through this quotes Faust assures him that his word is fair. Faust indeed signs a contract and binds it with a drop of blood.

The question comes to mind that at this point Faust was an extreme low point in his life and at the weakest level in strength, why would anyone think it logical to serve a bet to the devil? The thought that there is nothing else to loose, or the feeling of being alive and taking a risk that is unimaginable, “Let us plunge in the flood of time and chance, into the tide of circumstance!” Faust here shows the numb feeling he has of the value of his life. He feels he has wasted away his time here on earth so might as well challenge the devil and test his real ability of knowledge.

Faust believes with all that’s in him that he can win this bet. The devil knows just how weak Faust really is and takes advantage of such a state. Faust gives into the devil and his word is no longer valid. The vulnerable Faust could not see the future and what it entailed and he believed in nothing of this world, he believed in his strength. Whether we succeed of fail, we all should have the faith in the strength we possess.


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