In Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s tragic play Faust, we see the romantic side of the ninteenth century. In the age of romanticism we see the dominance and assertion of a more individualist society heavily based on imagination and freedom. When society became more heavily individualized poets began to take advantage of this and write plays based on individual characters like Faust. Goethe took advantage of the heavily romantic influence and spent his life righting the play Faust. The ultimate goal of Goethe’s Faust was to achieve the understanding and sympathy of all cultures which fully embodies romanticism.
Even though Faust is not strictly a piece of romantic literature, Goethe’s ideas display the characteristics of genre. In the first half of the play of Faust he goes on a walk through nature with Wagner and we see the overall comfort of Faust and the natural world. Faust goes on to talk about the qualities of nature and provides spiritual and faithful reasoning which justifying him deep down wanting to participate in nature. In the speeches that Faust makes about nature we see the early nineteenth century tradition of romanticism lifted up.
When Faust returns to his studies after the walk through nature we see for the first time that he is satisfied. It is when he returns to his study that we see the jubilant spirit of Faust killed by the world of rational thinking. Goethe sees a strong spiritual connection in nature because he feels there is a spiritual connection between humans and nature. Goethe believes that nature is what feeds spirituality and the individual free thinking spirit. The human soul is viewed to feed off of a connection with nature and without this connection there cannot be completeness in an individual.
Goethe views the disconnect of human happiness comes from over rationalization and the need to have a scientific explanation for everything. There is no one explanation for everything and he views that in order to feel complete and whole as a person you must return to nature to gain the qualities needed to whole. Throughout the play the reader cannot help but notice the influence of nineteenth century romantics. Goethe is looking to get across his points of romanticism through his views of nature and the thought of happiness.
Faust goes through several journeys and through all of these he is looking for self-completion and satisfaction. The reader must go into reading the play with an open mind not closed off to the views of Goethe and his views of the natural. Goethe embodies his total thoughts of the natural when Gretchen receives forgiveness because of her obligation and obedience to the natural. Through all of the play Goethe is looking for the understanding of people of all views and backgrounds and fully embody the ideas of romanticism.
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