Friday, September 21, 2012

Women in Faust

Women and other things

Spoiler alert.

I just finished Faust (Goethe's). A bizarre book for sure, but the end was especially odd. Woman, eternally, shows the way. What does that mean? And in the context? It's odd the the heaven in the beginning depicts our Lord with a handful of angelic voices, whereas the end shows Faust's immortal part being led to a mountain with saints and angels, the glorious Mother, and yet the Lord is not present as before. Why this change of persons? It's odd that Faust's penitent lover is here with our Lady, though her last words were a call to the God of justice.

The end also seemed to have nothing to do with woman. Mephistopheles and the mighty men frighten a couple to death, but that is the last mention of a woman. Not so significant. Helen is certainly a surprise, and that she comes from the Mothers. And that Faust is so offput by that name. And why does Helen vanish when Euphorion vanishes? Is that to say when euphoria dies, so does the bond of love? He's interesting because, like Faust, he's obsessed with activity.

And what about this theme of activity? It is true that God is most actual, yet what good can be said of Faust's actions? They're not all that commendable. He's always striving though. And what is the deal with the ocean? Faust is obsessed with it. Mephistopheles doesn't seem to get it. There is something beautiful, almost infinite about it. It's interesting that Faust seems to find the divine in worldly things. Certainly the sea is one place to find it. Thales and Proteus are noteworthy.

What could be said of Homunculus? He comes forth apart from natural generation. He is already intelligent, able to peer into the mind of Faust. He's already obstinate, leaving the one who made him. He's formless. I didn't quite catch where he left the story.

What of Gretchen? Is the whole first part to be reread in light of the second. Wagner, the bachelor, Mater Dolorosa. I feel like reading it again in another translation, more leisurely. Walpurgis Night's Dream still seems excessively obscure. The work as a whole is charming though the mingling of Romantic and classical worlds is pleasant. A bit disorienting. I think the bell that drives Faust crazy is a sacramental. Why is he blinded by Care? How does one prevent oneself from falling into Faust's terrible position?

Knowledge is perfective of man. Why not Faust? He didn't really know. And what of women? This is why any chaste man must be devoted to Mary. It seems that one needs the aid of a woman, and only she perfectly supplies the temporal lack of female company. Perhaps that's why she comes in prominently at the end?

Why is Doctor Marianus given such a high seat? Is that Scotus? He is the only one I know who claims that title, and how fitting, for he defended Her immaculate conception. A perfect woman! I still do not understand the Mothers. Some thought they were evil, but I don't think so since they are considered by the eternal mind.

What a packed play. Goethe himself had interesting run ins with women. I remember one account of his dealings with the two daughters of his French dance teacher. Oh my!

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