Saturday, May 7, 2011

Goethe - Faust (The Second Part of the Tragedy)

"If you're going to read Goethe, stop after Part One so you can keep liking him."

"i hate Goethe, he's the most ugly writer ever plus he's German, bleah!"

"Oh i hate goethe with His f****** Poems..."

"I just want to mention how much I hate Goethe's Faust. Suck it, Goethe!"

"hate goethe too. he is gay"

"Goethe is overrated. The only effort this man did is the Faust - and maybe also the Prometheus - but he's a terrible dramatist. All in all it's just a question of taste. Why may he not show his rhymes to public? and at least it's more intelligent than 99% of most german so called humor. Look at your TV!"

"If you have read (and not just seen) Goldman's 'The Princess Bride,' you will understand my reaction to this classic. The short of it is that Marlowe's 'Dr. Faustus' is a more-to-the-point rendering of the classic tale. Goethe starts strong, but Part II loses focus, and dulls the story.

The play is called 'Faust,' therefore our focus should be on Faust, as the focus of 'The Hobbit' is on the Hobbit Bilbo. Goethe does this to perfection in the first part of the story. Mephisto's seduction of Faust is palpable--you can taste the evil dripping of every page, and you twist in time with Faust as he wavers back and forth under Mephito's barrage.

However, Part II does not follow logically from the events in Part one. Instead of focusing on the decline and fall of Dr. Henry Faust, we get setting after setting after setting. Goethe's main gimmick is the Pleasure Garden, which takes place in Oberon's Enchanted Forest. Furthermore, there are ample helpings of Greco-Roman mythology that sent me packing to my 'Bulfinch's Mythology.' This is all nice, but if we wanted Homer or the Bard, we would go to the source. As Bruce R. McConkie said, 'Don't drink below the horses.'

This brings me to William Goldman. Part of the humor in 'The Princess Bride' is that it is 'the good parts version.' Marlowe's 'Dr. Faustus' should be considered 'the good parts version' of Goethe's retelling. A lot of Goethe's flourishes and irrelevant asides could be excised without any violence to the plot and the story telling. Of course Goethe was building on Marlow's work, but in several places, he went a too far.
However, the ending was the most disappointing ending conceivable: deus ex machina by virtue of grace. So eat, drink and be merry (and sell you soul to boot), for mercy CAN rob justice, and we CAN be saved in our sins, not from our sins."

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