New Revelations in Goethe’s Faust

Welp, I just finished reading Goethe’s Faust *again*. I combed through it with the help of a good group of people

Things I learned this time through which I didn’t realize in my previous reads.

(1) When Faust translates the bible to “In the Beginning is the Act!” I believe this is foreshadowing the end of Faust’s Life. God’s Act in the beginning was the beginning of Freedom, planning on making it universal. Faust’s Act at the end of his life, when he is blind but sees clearer, like the seer Tiresias, is that he’s mesmerized by the spectacle of freedom as he hears his people reclaiming land, and pushing back the sea. This Act of Faust posits freedom for his people, so his soul and God’s soul share the same purpose, he’s the microcosm of His vision.

(2) Also, The Walpurgis Night is an expression of German Romanticism, which is in contrast to Classic Walpurgis Night. Goethe, late in life, when asked to name the difference between these views, said, “Classic is health, Romantic is disease,” and these two scenes express just that.

(3) Also, Penelope surprised me with her enlightened view that in part 1 of Faust, the Earth Spirit is the flawed demiurge, child of Wisdom that created the earth. This is a gnostic teaching I was unaware of. So we were able to dive deep into this heresy. All I can say, is wow, how great that was!

It was great to revisit this book. Earlier this year I finished the Divine Comedy, and Goethe’s Eternal Feminine, I saw, was a direct nod to Dante’s nod to Beatrice and the 2 other heavenly ladies that helped him get back into the fold. I’m not going to revisit Faust in some time now, I feel like I got the major Gist of it after giving it the Dante effort. It will be years before I revisit again.


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