Theater provides an opportunity to appreciate the transience of time by revealing the eternity of art as part of cultural heritage. “Prologue in the Theater” discusses the purpose of art between a theater director, a poet, and an actor. The theater director sees art as income, the poet romanticizes theater, and the comic actor tries to be realistic. Through “Prelude,” we learn how people look at art and look for themselves in the characters. Goethe writes: “And with considerate speed, through fancy’s spell, Journey from heaven, thence through the world, to bell!” (Goethe). These are the concluding lines, but they give us an idea of the world in which art is born.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
In the Prologue to Heaven, the Lord (the embodiment of the Enlightenment Mind) engages in a dispute with Mephistopheles (the image of the spirit of negation) over Faust. He embodies the essence of man, and therefore his figure is vital to Goethe: “An inward impulse hurries him afar, Himself half-conscious of his frenzied mood” (Goethe). The reader sees that evil for Goethe is not useless, and unlike Christianity, he accepts it as a necessary part of the world. One can see that Mephistopheles is not impersonal, like any evil in religion, but instead has valid motives.
Tired of learning and the long road to knowledge, Faust is indeed tired of words. He considers reasoning “unrefreshing as the empty wind” because it is boring (Goethe). Knowledge is a burden on Faust, the doctor thinks himself a kind of deity, but he realizes that he overestimates his rights. He wants to renounce knowledge and accept punishment from the spirit. Faustus over-romanticizes knowledge and truth, becoming similar to Hamlet. Their similarity is searching for truth and the antiquity that created the world. But Faust overdramatizes instead of a rational search for the answer in knowledge.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von. Faust. 2004.