Canal March

Faust or the dissatisfaction of modern man

Helena Cortés Gabaudan

Helena Cortés Gabaudan, translator and Professor of German Language and Literature at the University of Vigo, analyses the classic of German literature, Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). The tragedy, which occupied Goethe all his life, consists of two works, which only coincide in the title, in the continuity of the plot of the pact between Mephistopheles and Faust and in the presence of the two protagonists: the first, as a dramatised novel, is influenced by the pre-romantic trend of "Sturm und Drang", while the second, Faust II—where the characters are allegories—reproduces the formal models of classicism and is written in Goethe's mature period. In addition to exposing several of the literary, scientific and theological influences and interpretations of the work, the lecturer analyses the character of Faust as a symbol of modern man, stating that "what Faust symbolises are the excessive and never-satisfied desires of the modern ego".

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