O dearest, trust me, what doth pass for sense Full oft is self - conceit andblindness!
It need hardly be said that Goethe's "Faust" does not derive its greatness fromits conformity to the traditional standards of what a tragedy should be. Hehimself was accustomed to refer to it cynically as a monstrosity, and yet heput himself into it as intensely as Dante put himself into "The Divine Comedy."A partial explanation of this apparent contradiction in the author's attitude is tobe found in what has been said of its manner of composition. Goethe began itin his romantic youth, and availed himself recklessly of the supernaturalelements in the legend, with the disregard of reason and plausibilitycharacteristic of the romantic mood. When he returned to it in the beginning ofthe new century his artistic standards has changed, and the supernaturalismcould now be tolerated only by being made symbolic. Thus he makes thecareer of Faust as a whole emblematic of the triumph of the persistent strivingfor the ideal over the temptation to find complete satisfaction in the sense, andprepares the reader for this interpretation by prefixing the "Prologue inHeaven." The elaboration of this symbolic element is responsible for suchscenes as the Walpurgis - Night and the Intermezzo scenes full of power andinfinitely suggestive, but destructive of the unity of the play as a tragedy ofhuman life. Yet there remains in this First Part even in its final form much thatis realistic in the best sense, the carousal in Auerbach's cellar, the portrait ofMartha, the Easter - morning walk, the character and fate of Margaret. It issuch elements as these that have appealed to the larger reading public and thathave naturally been emphasized by performance on the stage, and by virtue ofthese alone "Faust" may rank as a great drama; but it is the result of Goethe'sbroodings on the mystery of human life, shadowed forth in the symbolic partsand elaborated with still greater complexity and still more far - reachingsuggestiveness - and, it must be added, with deepening obscurity - in theSecond Part, that have given the work its place with "Job," with the"Prometheus Bound," with "The Divine Comedy," and with "Hamlet."The Tragedy Of Faust - Dedication
What e'er therein is promised thou shalt reap, No tittle shall remain unpaid.But such arrangements time require; We'll speak of them when next we meet;Most earnestly I now entreat, This once permission to retire.Faust
Protophantasmist, Servibilis, Monkeys, Spirits,Journeymen,