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Goethe's Personal Relationship to his 'Faust'

Schmidt Number: S-3532

On-line since: 8th July, 2014

Goethe's Personal Relationship to his 'Faust'

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This previously untranslated lecture is from the lecture series entitled, Spiritual Scientific Note on Goethe's Faust Vol. II published in German as, Geisteswissenschaftliche Erlaeuterungen zu Goethes 'Faust.' Band II. Das Faust Problem. Die Romantische und die Klassiche Walpurgisnacht. It is lecture 7 of 13 lectures given by Rudolf Steiner at various cities throughout Austria, Germany and Switzerland in the years 1916–1919.

By Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Hanna von Maltitz
Bn/GA 273

This previously untranslated lecture is from the lecture series entitled, Spiritual Scientific Note on Goethe's Faust Vol. II, published in German as, Geisteswissenschaftliche Erlaeuterungen zu Goethes 'Faust.' Band II. Das Faust Problem. Die Romantische und die Klassiche Walpurgisnacht.. It is lecture 7 of 13 lectures given by Rudolf Steiner at various cities throughout Austria, Germany and Switzerland in the years 1916–1919. Now, all of the lectures in this series have been translated!

We present it here, lovingly translated by Hanna von Maltitz, with the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland. From Bn/GA 273.

This e.Text edition is provided through the wonderful work of:
Various e.Text Transcribers

Thanks to the Basil Gibaud Memorial Trust, this Lecture has been made available.

Goethe's Personal Relationship with his “Faust”

Rudolf Steiner Lecture given in Prague, 12 June 1918

Translated by Hanna von Maltitz


Goethe's “Faust” undoubtedly belongs to one of those works in world literature to which one can, decade after decade, return to and find within it ever again, something new. This ever fresh insight may bring about the belief that we can benefit fundamentally ever more from the work than had been obtained on a previous occasion. Maturing with age this experience is indeed possible involving other works of world literature — however, with Goethe's “Faust” one has the impression, that ever new experiences of life are needed, as are offered by approaching age, in order to fully absorb certain secrets and inner aspects found within these works.

Discoveries made by delving ever deeper into Goethe's “Faust,” within the work itself, prompting a decisive wish to turn to Goethe's biography, to explore his life ever anew, because through the observation of Goethe's “Faust” one realizes that these rightful insights will enlighten this work. An objection is only natural that such a reference of the poet to his work begs incompletion. One may say a work of art must be grasped, as it stands, independent of the personality of its creator. One can also put aside some more or less pedantic tendencies and through the observation of Goethe's relation to his work hold him to it, that out of such a flood of power something higher must appear, more significant than each impression and suchlike. These are the thoughts from which this theme of today's lecture has grown.

I wish to speak now about the personal relationship of Goethe to his “Faust,” not in the narrow personal sense but regarding the relationship of the spiritual character of Goethe to his “Faust.” One could easily come to the conclusion, that by studying these relationships of Goethe's personality to his “Faust” — what Goethe mentioned about himself, regarding his life, his striving, his manner and way, his attitude to knowledge and questions about art — that these details could be particularly useful. Yet as one enters deeper and deeper into Goethe's life, one notices this is actually not so. Here exactly lie difficulties within the observation regarding Goethe's spiritual character. On the other hand there is something which penetrates not only into peculiarities of Goethe, but within one's soul life itself. One goes along with the idea of being convinced, through Goethe's statements, as expressed in letters directed to one or other individual, that these are useless in relation to the consideration just mentioned. One discovers, on looking at the way Goethe considered himself, that one can't really get the key to exactly that which had depth in the most meaningful work of Goethe, in “Faust.” When clearly stated riddles need truthful answers out of Goethe's work, from observation of his life, about that which lived in his soul, which he expressed in his work and particularly in his “Faust,” one realises that there was something so huge, so all-encompassing and with expansive enlightenment that Goethe himself, in his personal consciousness, within his knowledge, couldn't grasp what really was working in his soul. If not so much misuse of the expression “unconscious — subconscious” has been used during the last decades, I wish to apply it to Goethe with the eminent sense that that which is found within Goethe's creation, streams so gradually into our soul, that it becomes larger than all which Goethe can utter about it prosaically.

Exactly that which I express now, applies in a particular degree to the relationship of Goethe to his “Faust.” I can't allow myself, due to a time constraint, to closely discuss Goethe's relationship within the folk tradition in which appears the “Puppet Show” and such-like. I wish to restrict myself to the discussion regarding the relationship of Goethe to his “Faust” itself.

Before all else, it is necessary to enter into Faust as boldly as possible. Precisely out of Faust himself the insight is revealed related to Goethe and his “Faust.” What is most admirably Goetheanistic within this which is revealed through a lengthy observation of Goethe within it? What is Goethean in “Faust”? When looking at Faust — we see from the Prologue a tendency which doesn't exist at first — starting with the Monologue: “Philosophy — I have digested ...” the contemplation of “Faust,” then one usually gets involved in the following: within this lives Goethe's attitude against outer knowledge, against the drive for external knowledge. One sees the larger reference within the opening which leads Faust towards despair in the power of his four faculties and so on; it is noticeable then, how Faust, doubtful in the power of all four faculties, gropes towards magic, and so forth. However, working at length with “Faust,” one doesn't get the feeling that already within this Monologue specific Goetheanistic ideas are presented. That begins at a specific point. In this rebellion against the four faculties, this grope towards magic, Goethe opposes the Faust-tradition; it was not in this which Goethe's soul, in essence, wanted to reveal himself through Faust. The part of Goethe's soul revealing itself for the first time in “Faust,” encounters an opposition, where Faust, after he opened the Nostradamus book and the sign of the macrocosm, turns away towards the other sign which brings him to conjuring up of the Earth Spirit. Here unfolds, as Goethe writes this scene in his “Faust,” that which lives in Goethe's soul in a quite unique form, the world riddle. What is this, however? Goethe allows his Faust to open up a book on magic, called the Book of Nostradamus, at the sign of the macrocosm — expressing the connection between humanity and the almighty world powers. The sign of the macrocosm expresses the world as three-fold; that the earthly and heavenly separations are threefold, and that within the threefold world stands the occult connection with the threefold human being of body soul and spirit.

Upon this relationship Goethe arrived momentarily in his life. It dawned on him in such a way, that he allowed Faust to strive towards the revelation, and through the images of these signs, find the connection between humanity and the entire world. During this time Goethe was not tempted to consider that something acquired in this manner from spiritual knowledge, was satisfactory. Deeply, decisively we heard Goethe's words as he turned away from the sign of the macrocosm: “What spectacle! But oh! Only a spectacle, no more!” Within this lies Goethe's entire withdrawal during the seventies of the 18th century, from what was generally recognised as the connection of humanity with the entire world, the universe. Goethe believed he had reached clarity in the thought that everything within imagination — acquired through ideas — was nothing other than a mirror-image of reality. Thus Faust turned away from the symbol and its revelation to another sign, which directed him to reveal the Earth Spirit. Look closely now within the depths of Goethe to understand why he turned away from the macrocosm and towards the microcosm. Goethe already belonged to the world view of those who didn't in the ordinary sense relate to the history of specific knowledge, constructed from an accumulation of ideas about the laws of nature and of humanity. No, in fact Goethe didn't strive in this sense for knowledge, he strived for knowledge in so far as the result of this knowledge would empower the human soul, in order that each human being's striving in his becoming, may result in crystallization. Goethe also belonged to those in spirit who, to a certain sense, I might say, in order not to be misunderstood, harbour a particular nervousness, a fear for that which is taken up by the soul in the form of conceptual knowledge. By this is meant: whoever has really struggled once with conceptual knowledge, with an idea through which one in reality can penetrate into the world, would know how unsatisfactory the result can be, that one can't thus, through this idea, express everything which has been thus penetrated and which had been revealed in the depths. One wants to always, when one has acquired knowledge, say to oneself: yes, you have brought about this or that in your thoughts, you know however, what lives in the soul and is revealed from the depth of the soul world is only partly incorporated in these ideas. There is a worry that something had been lost along the way between life and this knowledge. One has a constricted feeling in this situation. Once a conceptual idea is taken up, there is the possibility to regain, later, through the spirit, that which had been lost. One must doubt, when one has once had an idea which was not fully expressed, to once again bring it into a lively representation. This worry lay in Goethe's soul. With this he was always occupied — with world riddles rather than expressing riddles in a pure and strong way and thereby giving a superficial elucidation and satisfaction. He had a shyness, a respect for knowledge. He said to himself: that which you entreat as knowledge to the human soul, can only be a spectacle, only a spectacle ... oh, only a spectacle! — thus Goethe turned away from that which the universe revealed to him, and allowed himself to turn to the sign which is not revealed by the universe but that which rises from the depths of the soul itself.

Thus Goethe allows Faust to doubt that within the immense universe he may perceive the manifestation of reality, and thus turns him to search for a revelation from the depths. Goethe's Faust encounters the Earth Spirit in such a form as it appears in the hidden depths of the human being, in the subsoil of the human soul as the case may be. Approaching the great All, we approach the spirit of revelation, and so we come to that which lives in the soul's depths, and arrive closer to spiritual revelation. In this moment however we discover the danger which accompanies every approach to knowledge. This danger within the striving human being's soul during earthly life is what Goethe now confronts and this he mystifies into his “Faust.” Before Goethe's Faust stands the direct revelation of his individual inner being. Faust has to turn away from it. That which lives in consciousness, which expresses itself clearly within Faust's soul, cannot grasp what lies in the depths of his very own being. For most of humanity, that which is unknown, that in us which we could lightly deny, scares Faust and he falls back, dazed. He has to turn away. “Not you? Who then? I, replica of the image of God! Not even you!” The Spirit responds: “You match the spirit you comprehend, not me!” Who then is this spirit Faust understands? Towards whom must Faust turn at this moment?

Right here is one of the dramatic moments in Goethe's “Faust.” One need relinquish all revelations of ideas which one usually seeks to interpret “Faust”; one needs to look at the drama, at the artistic elements themselves, at the presentation. Giving oneself over to this without comment, explanations or considerations, one steps into this place of a real mighty opposition. Who is his match? Here Wagner steps in. “You match the spirit ...” — which spirit? Wagner matches him. That is the dramatic knot. One is not allowed to see the traditional interpretation which is always given, where Faust is presented as the higher striving, spiritual idealist and Wagner hobbles in on the stage as insignificant, even gesturing a bit in Faust's manner. Wagner may be allowed to appear as Faust's mask, because it is self-knowledge which Goethe wants to represent: You are no more than what resides in Wagner's soul. Whoever explores the dialogue between the two, discovers a certain philistine air in Wagner; he has a locked personality, a character which has brought a conclusion to his striving. One only sees him once as unabashed, which happens in this scene when Faust meets Wagner and reveals that he doesn't go searching for rain worms and suchlike. In this scene, considered as dramatic, artistic and not philistine, self knowledge appears to Faust. What was it then ultimately, which Goethe made his Faust recoil from, and to what did he turn?

Goethe's soul stands in a time, when this scene was written, during the seventies, when a duality existed between — which I wish to phrase as — “world knowledge” and “self knowledge.” Faust turns away from world knowledge as he does from the sign of the macrocosm. Goethe didn't desire world knowledge. He believed everything can be found within self knowledge acquired through striving for a worthy existence. This is the route to self knowledge. In this Faust-Wagner scene we encounter in Goethe's striving something quite extraordinary, bringing self knowledge of human fulfilment into expression and to revelation. When both impulses, world knowledge and self-knowledge are considered, it must be pointed out that in both, specific human dangers are connected.

With world knowledge it is thus: trying to penetrate ever more into world knowledge, demanding human imaginative capabilities to penetrate ever more into what is offered in a spiritual sense perception, one arrives at a percept which can be called the “temptation of illusion.”

There exists for instance in human culture, and Goethe felt it, such diversity in world knowledge, that it offered, through the tangling of its laws, an illusion, (which the Indians term Maya) ever accompanying us in life, insofar as it forces itself into life and so places the personality in the wide world. We are, in our search for a relationship to things, subject to illusion. Only through this, that we strain with all our all power to protect our consciousness, disallowing it to be charmed, as Faust does after his oath with the Earth Spirit — only in this way can we work our way through illusion. It can appear to one with the deepest discernment in this form before the soul, as Goethe describes later, calling it the Mephistophelean force. Danger in this world knowledge exists in such a secretive way precisely so we don't notice it, in all our worldly thoughts and every experience, in simple indications of life, emotionally intertwined, that it finally does not originate within us. Closer observation shows that, that which is so emotionally inter-mixed does not come from within us, but from other forces. What the human being can conclude in the illusion of a Mephistophelean danger comes down to the so-called intermixing of instinct, of a kind of willing and of desire into this outer knowledge. We often believe we have objective knowledge, but we only have it when we admit to giving in to no illusion, that the aforementioned is mixed into outer knowledge.

When we, however, try to throw out all we have as knowledge, derived from feeling, willing, from passion, the remainder is what Goethe allows Faust to call: “A spectacle! Oh, only a spectacle!” No one needs to search for other ways to discover reality. What we are led to believe is suffused with illusion. As Faust stands before the sign which calls his soul to awaken to such a observation of the world, where everything connected to the will and passion is thrown out, he finds a mere spectacle, a show. This he doesn't want. He wants to dive into self knowledge. He believes the human being can be driven down to the core of the world. Here another danger threatens. While illusion acts as a threat towards world knowledge, due to us delving into the depths of the soul, so another threat finds us in as much as so-called knowledge leads us to wishes, feelings, affectations, towards world riddles, yet they do not allow separation from wishes and will.

It keeps pace with our constitution. We seek in us, through a false mysticism, the everlasting and only find the most recent with a vague mix of the everlasting within it. Acknowledging that, we know that every moment we dive into ourselves, we are confronted with a vision threatened by a void, appearing more as a facade than mere fantasy, which merely drives us into wasted error. Goethe was well known regarding these secrets of human existence, that we, when we don't constantly correct ourselves with common sense and dive into the mystical and encounter deep contemplation, we may get involved in visions. We don't need disease to be a visionary, we enter into a life which becomes a visionary life when it turns ill.

Thus these two elements which are found in life stand out in another way. Goethe didn't proclaim it. It stood before his soul, when we keep everything in mind, which appears as illusion in world knowledge. What does it come to when one considers these illusionary things in a philistine or pedantic manner? To what are we continuously led, away from reality? This illusion is linked with everything which we grasped during our quite normal development. Not continuously coming to terms with the danger of illusion in our soul-life, we may not be defeated by that underlying development which we allow in growing, sprouting, prospering not only during child development, but also in mature development. This however connects to that which, from the age of thirty five, indicates the descending human existence.

This backward directed development is connected to all which lives in our soul. We couldn't become wise or clever through life's experiences if we didn't develop from birth, that which during the descending development brings in an extraordinary existence. We actually live from forces which direct us towards death, not towards growth. We die from birth onwards, and at the moment of death everything is drawn together which worked through our entire life. It works in such a way that that which develops forwards carries that which withdraws, bringing our soul qualities to the fore. If the Mephistophelean, the life of illusions, weren't bedded into world knowledge, we couldn't develop as human beings; these descending forces couldn't live in us. Through this illusion, everything is connected to that which we bring as disturbances into the world, which leads some individuals to destruction and which is connected to the origins of our forces.

It's different with elements arising out of self-knowledge. As we descend into our inner soul, we certainly reach into the spiritual part of our being. We seize hold of ourselves in our personal kernel which connects to the kernel of the world where, in an unconscious way, we forcefully experience will forces and desires living within us. As a result we can develop a specific influence on those around us; we just tend not to study this properly. This disturbance influencing our contemporaries, those we are living with, causing impairment, originates in fact from the descending forces, out of which we could only have grown, if we had grasped them in a proper, spiritual manner. These forces are Luciferic. It is extraordinary that Goethe had within his feelings this duality, the Ahrimanic-Mephistophelean and the Luciferic. Originating within a western spiritual development and western tradition he did not manage to make a clear distinction between the Mephistophelean and the Luciferic. Out of this Goethe unfortunately created the single Mephistopheles. When commentators frequently emphasized that Mephistopheles was an actual character, Goethe continued to sense, subconsciously, that Mephistopheles had to be presented as a duality, as ahrimanic and luciferic. Therefore it is a given that, the moment Faust must turn away from the Earth Spirit, where he doesn't show himself mature in his knowledge, that which moves within his own soul, be it in the soul of man as a whole, Mephistopheles appears as Lucifer to Faust. This results in the merger linking our wishes, feelings and desires within our depths. This follows in other words in the totally wonderful, magnificent, vivid tragedy of Margaret. It also makes it possible for Faust to explore the connection between wishes and will; it results in the most part to that which we go through in the first part of Goethe's “Faust.” Here we experience everything which appears as a luciferic element. However, everything originates from what Goethe actually explored during the seventies and eighties as carrier of human knowledge: people didn't want to know anything about the relationship between themselves and the wider world. However, the feeling remained in him, prompting him to find a solution.

It is interesting that everything which turns towards the luciferic element, results in dissatisfaction. We can only reach satisfaction when we try to find the relationship with the luciferic on the one side and ahrimanic on the other side of the Mephistophelean, which rises from world knowledge. It is interesting that from the beginning of the combination of Mephistopheles with Faust, Goethe left this unresolved. He felt that there had to live a deeper level which flowed between Mephistopheles and Faust, which he however didn't know through his everyday consciousness. Later he wanted to bring it out in a disputing scene. That is the ahrimanic character which lived in Mephistopheles and came to expression when Mephistopheles installed himself and argued about world riddles. In this very discussion, actually, lives illusion. In this way Goethe wanted to introduce something which had brought out another element before his spiritual eye.

Now we observe something extraordinary in Goethe's personal development. He had treated Mephistopheles as an individual character, bringing Faust to a poetic expression. In 1790 he offered “Faust” as a fragment. Schiller stimulated him to continue and what is remarkable, is the manner in which Goethe declined. He saw himself as old, finished and done, couldn't go any further. What actually happened there? The personal relationship Goethe had to his “Faust” became something quite different.

This change can only be understood through insight into the world view Goethe had built for himself during the nineties. What did this knowledge of nature become? It was much spoken about; here and there even justice was done but really penetrating the moving target was hardly achieved. In essence, Goethe wanted to build a bridge, with the help of the knowledge of nature, between self knowledge and world knowledge. When one looks at Goethe's method of nature observation, one discovers that singular results and their discoveries are hardly the main issue. The manner and method, how thoughts unfold, is what matters. How was this? It was so, that Goethe searched for a complete different kind of comprehension and types of ideas to which we are accustomed. When we don't want to focus on this point, we will never understand Goethe's nature observation. Right into the colour teachings we can't understand Goethe, if we fail to focus on what Goethe wanted. He wanted to reach such concepts with his metaphysical teachings, which did not follow one imagination to another, from one idea to the next idea in an outer way, no, by contrast, he wanted us to dive into the reality itself in order for the idea to unfold itself in our soul life, which is actually sufficiently unselfish to share in world experience at the same time. He wanted, in this way, to reach, though his nature observation, what really lies behind reality; he wanted to join self knowledge and world knowledge. Goethe couldn't, because of that which scientifically confronted him, deepen a satisfactory nature observational method, according to him; he had to bring forth a world view from within his being; this he had to achieve honestly and only then the possibility would be given to connect self knowledge with world knowledge. Earlier he had believed that through self knowledge something could be accomplished. But only, diving so deeply down into self knowledge, that the depth of the world is understood in the same manner as we understand Goethe's nature ideas, then the bridge can be built, to find the illusionary element of the world.

So Goethe was stimulated by Schiller to take “Faust” up again.

Here self knowledge could come to its full right. However, now it was one-sided and had to be linked to world knowledge, to the macrocosm. Faust had to turn again to the sign of the macrocosm, from which he had turned away earlier. It had to be placed within the universe of good and evil forces. The forward and backward moving forces had to take up the striving of Faust from the fields of world knowledge. This was what came to him as a necessity. Mephistopheles had to accept the ahrimanic character. That is why Goethe developed his Mephistopheles more and more in this manner. That is why there's such a contradiction in this characterization. Goethe placed Faust in the universe through writing the Prologue in Heaven. The good and the evil forces are at war, and Faust stands in the middle of it.

Occult scientific development had not advanced to such a degree that Goethe could be clear about this. From his single Mephistopheles he could not have created two characters. In his sub-consciousness however, they lived. From this Goethe became ill during the nineties. This is what made Faust so difficult, so heavy. Frequently the second part of “Faust” is left unrecognised, while within this second part only allegory is looked for. When really searching for insight, the second part presents nothing more full of life, nothing more direct and more lively than all the characters! Why do they appear as allegorical? We, as single individuals, place ourselves in the world with our life's work and our individual ideas — we are urged to withdraw somewhat from this reality as an abstraction — but this is what we should surely learn from, in the present! We live in a present time, in which we should ponder the relationship of human beings who are so taken with reality, giving us the most fruitful illusions. Right within ideas, be it in social or political fields, lives abstractions, the allegorical. We live with them. It is the very manner in which the Mephistophelean element enters into our worldly experience in our own lives.

This is depicted vividly and with endless humour in the Emperor scene of the second part, where outer associations of reality with illusion are presented in a grandiose and humoristic way: stupidity and cleverness, as they appear side-by-side in life. In a wonderful, clear way they come to meet us. We then see how Faust, in the thorough way in which he has positioned himself in the world where illusionary elements exist and where they combine with stupidity, he finds it necessary to once again delve down into his own soul.

Now self knowledge is expressed in a yet higher sense. It links to the moment when Faust bows to the mothers with: “The mother! Mother! It sounds so wondrous!” Quite wonderful it sounds when we shift into our own depths, as Faust delves into himself. Now Goethe needs to give Mephistopheles, while he has two figures within him — Lucifer and Mephistopheles — a kind of minor role. In order to understand him fully, Faust sinks down into the worlds where Lucifer's power grips one in loneliness. That which he had experienced in the depth of soul, lived out in a dream, he goes through in such a way that we see: from it flows whatever he has brought up from the depths of his soul and out of self knowledge, and now self knowledge within world knowledge is transformed. There had to be something here regarding science, which links to self-awareness. That which we discover in the depths of our souls, numbs us, only allows us to dream, when we can't bring it out of our depths.

Had we had the chance in Goethe's time, or do we have an opportunity in our time, to develop such spiritual knowledge? What Faust took from the mothers, no, that wouldn't have made it. Human knowledge appeared to be an artificial product, understood like a mechanism. No Homunculus bulges forth out of lively reality. Now comes that towards which Goethe strives for within the entire depth of his soul. That which has grown out of world knowledge, must now unite itself with self knowledge. They had to become so blended together that they become one. This is what Goethe achieved: his wonderful knowledge of nature, biological and other metamorphosis-knowledge, brought together in a bond, equally including what Faust brought from the mothers on the one side, and on the other side, what could be given to him in his time as outer world knowledge.

Through this striving Goethe steered into the Greek era. His quest wasn't towards a one-sided spiritual abstraction or life abstraction — but to the consummation of the soul. This exact perfection, living in the Greek soul, cannot be restored, yet some vestige must have been left which can be won again, something similar to Hellenism which can be experienced again in later times. In Italy Goethe had experienced this in Greek art. He regarded the Greek artist as one who had solved nature's mysteries. As he observed the Greek civilization, perfection dawned on him. In his time they hadn't reached as far as solving the split between world knowledge and self knowledge. Faust had to, through that which incorporates an inner becoming within Hellenism, take up this power and use this to amalgamate self- and world knowledge. Now Goethe tried, towards the end of the second part of his “Faust,” to depict, as much as modern art allowed at that time, Faust as he appears amid all that had been brought from the mothers, towards that which the great universe revealed to humanity. Precisely from this basis, because he wasn't split within his consciousness in the depth of his soul, he had to — what he justifies in his way — adapt traditional form. He places Faust into the traditional form of the Christian church, in order to, after he had brought forth the deep elements in his soul derived from the mothers, direct him again towards that which he had turned away from in the beginning: the possible revelation in the sign of the macrocosm. We see Goethe at the close overcome what he as younger man had rejected: one-sided self knowledge. Faust is introduced into the universe, in the steams of the world-all, into secrets, where the ahrimanic world combines with the physical.

This is the great tableau at the closing of “Faust,” where Goethe strove to introduce Faust into the macrocosm. We can't understand Goethe's “Faust” when we fail to have this insight into the work which had accompanied Goethe during nearly sixty years of his life and had shared his own destiny, but in a higher form, as is usually meant. Goethe had as a younger man turned to mere self knowledge and refused to be bothered by world knowledge. His struggles with nature's manifestations and nature's powers expressed in his nature observation, led Faust into the wide world. At the end Faust stood there, saying: “A spectacle, oh, but not only a spectacle, but an element which man lives through and through into which every human life flows in all the streaming which courses through the macrocosm, through the universe!” — Faust turns back to that which the sign of the macrocosm had wanted to reveal to him.

It looks bad when we only quote “Faust” in one or the other facet. We have to admit, Goethe had conquered what he had mixed up in his youth. I don't believe that Goethe, due to a gradual contradiction in his advancing age, belittled that part of “Faust” which he created in his youth. Precisely as a result of this, he stands there largely because he is so honest in his personal relationship to “Faust” while he shows how he had struggled and strived to find the way, from self knowledge to world knowledge.

Whosoever participates in these steps, really penetrating into the single elements in which “Faust” lives, will judge him differently.

To descend into his own soul, Faust again turned to Bible translating. He didn't stick to the traditional translation: “In the beginning was the Word,” but tried: Sense, power, deed. “In the beginning was the deed!” Just this manner of translation invites Mephistopheles to enter; he is the diminutive of superficiality in which Faust, at this point of his development arrives at the trivial: “In the beginning was the Deed” from the deeper: “In the beginning was the Word.” However, through this, because Faust finds himself within all the illusions of world knowledge, through this he can overcome Mephistopheles. It is a great work in world literature which allows us to lay our eyes on a relationship so close to the bone.

“Faust” has become no lesser work of art. It is more accomplished through the fact that great power flowed into a single soul, a person of the highest ranks, who strives and struggles with the spiritual riddles of mankind. This I believe anyway, that in Goethe's “Faust” stands a work towards which mankind must return, repeatedly.

It made an extraordinary impression on me when I read a critique written in English, translated from a French work by a Spaniard, a harsh criticism, exercised on Goethe's “Faust” from the standpoint of taking everything within it as that which must be combated against within by central European people. I believe, that all man's weaknesses, all that which doesn't allow one to get along, wherever one is, be recognised, that in Goethe's “Faust” not only the central Europeans but the entire world has appeared in a work, containing specific meaning, which shouldn't only be given to mankind, but is continuously being sought by mankind. While Goethe's own search is so closely connected with the search in mankind, I also believe that Goethe, through his “Faust” has given mankind a most precious gift, because the greatest good is that towards which mankind should come, because when you really understand yourself, you have to search for this good, without end.




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