The Ultimate Sin Exposed In Geothe's Faust

1984 words - 8 pages

Geothe's Faust is similar in many ways to both Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost. The obvious similarity is how each work relates to evil or Hell. Other similarities include how the villains of two of these epics are the most likable characters, and the use of classical and Christian mythology in each poem. Faust deals with evil when he makes a deal with Mephistopheles, or Satan. This deal is that Mephistopheles will give Faust whatever he wants in return for his (Faust's) soul. Inferno is a journey through Hell. Dante is being lead by his guide, Virgil, through the icy parts of Hell, to the center of the earth, while he climbs up Satan's legs into Heaven. Paradise Lost is about how Satan is newly cast out of Heaven and just getting used to his surroundings, which is a more traditional furnace-like Hell unlike the one in Inferno.

            Mephistopheles, who is supposedly Satan, in Faust, and the Satan portrayed in Paradise Lost are the most likable characters in these plays. Faust seems like more of a villain than Mephistopheles, which is very ironic. Satan is made out to be an evil, manipulating demon, but Mephistopheles is not really like that. He does manipulate Faust in some ways, like with the contract of Faust selling his soul, but Mephistopheles has little more power than a regular person. Also, in the beginning of the play, when he talks to The Lord, he doesn't act serious at all. He actually tells The Lord that he likes Sunday's because of the "peace and quiet". In Paradise Lost, Satan makes God look more evil than (Satan) himself. Satan implies that God is some kind of slave driver, and that it would be "better to reign in Hell then serve in Heaven". They are considered the more likable characters because the heroes in these plays are portrayed as evil villains

All three of these epics use Christian and classical, or Ancient Greek and Roman, mythology. In Faust, the "Prologue in Heaven" came from the book of Job, which came from the Bible. He also uses Christian mythology when he talks about Creation's great circle. Goethe uses classical mythology when he refers to Muses. Inferno talks about three men who received the worst torment in Hell. These three men were Judas, Brutus and Cassius. Judas is part of Christian mythology, and Brutus and Cassius are historical figures. All three men betrayed someone, and that's why they were receiving the most torment. Judas betrayed the son of God, and Brutus and Cassius betrayed Caesar. Paradise Lost has many uses of both classical and Christian mythology. Some examples of Christian mythology would be when Milton mentions Oreb, or Sinai (alternate names for the mountain where Moses received heavenly inspiration), the shepherd (Moses), Adam and Eve, and many more. Milton uses classical mythology when he speaks of Muses, Aonian mount (the home of the Muses), and the river Styx (river that supposedly encircles the underworld in Greek mythology)

            Geothe's Faust...

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