Faust: the Dichotomy of Gretchen
In the play “Faust” by Johann Goethe, Gretchen’s character envelops severe elements of Virgin Mary and of Eve. Mary functions as the sign of the mother of humanity, the pure woman who makes guys’s salvation possible. She has no evil in her at all. On the other hand, Eve is the archetypal figure of the fallen woman, the cause of guy’s suffering and damnation. She represents death, damage, and human wickedness. Eve is the antithesis of Mary; together the two archetypes correspond to the two sides of Gretchen’s character. < When Gretchen is very first presented in the play, she appears to be the suitable of innocence and pureness.
When Faust tries to talk with her on the street, she declines. “I’m not a girl, am unfair; I can go house without your care.” (2607) An effectively raised girl would never enable herself to be picked up on the street. It is her naivete that attracts Faust many of all. “I’ve never ever seen [Gretchen’s] equivalent anywhere! So virtuous, modest, through and through!” (2610-1) Even Mephistopheles acknowledges her virtue. He calls her an “innocent, sweet dear!” (3007 ). Goethe further identifies Gretchen as a saint when Gretchen’s bedroom becomes a shrine to Faust.
Faust utilizes religious language to describe the space. “Welcome, sweet light, which weaves through this sanctuary. Take my heart, you sweet discomfort of love, you that live suffering on the dew of hope! How the sensation of stillness breathes out order and satisfaction all around. In this hardship, what fullness! In this prison, what holiness!” (2687-94) Simply from remaining in her room, he feels spiritual sacredness, often connected with shrines of saints. He pictures her bed as a “father’s throne”( 2696) with “a flock of kids sticking swarmed” (2697) around it, thus associating Gretchen with maternity.
A big part of Faust’s destination to Gretchen is the image of a virgin mom he sees in her, the perfect of feminine purity.; br;; br; Gretchen’s strong spiritual background further enhances her saintly image. The prayer in the Ramparts scene is an example of her religious training. “Oh, bend Thou, Mom of Sorrows; send Thou a look of pity on my pain.” (3587-9) Gretchen looks on the world from a religious point of view. She wishes to make Faust’s actions consistent with her spiritual childhood. “How do you feel about religion? … However without desire [you revere the Holy Sacraments], alas!
It’s long because you admitted or went to mass!” (3415-23) Gretchen can pick up Mephistopheles is devil. She can feel his wicked existence, which is what saints are expected to be able to do. She shouts when Mephistopheles comes near her prison, “What rises from the threshold here? He! He! Thrust him out! In this sanctuary what is he about? “”(4601-3) In the end of the book, Gretchen is forgiven and her sins are redeemed. A voice from heaven calls, “She is saved!” (4611) Despite her sins, the religious side of Gretchen stays throughout the book.
Gretchen is continuously knowledgeable about her criminal activities and prays. “My peace is gone, my heart is sore.” (3374-5) She retains her capability to pick up the presence of Mephistopheles up until the end. Since of Gretchen’s salvation, the audience understands that her spiritual side has actually been more powerful than her sinful side. < However, in some circumstances, Gretchen exists as a fallen woman who triggers her own destroy. Even though Gretchen declines Faust on the street, she is right away brought in to him, in spite of the truth that he acts extremely vulgar towards her.
Gretchen ignores her religious childhood and starts an affair with Faust. Later on she tells him, “Yet I confess I understand not why my heart began at once to stir to take your part.” (3175-6) The double side of Gretchen’s womanhood is evident in the Evening scene. Gretchen is made both innocent and sensual as she removes her clothing and sings a romantic song. While she stays a woman getting ready for bed, her undressing is a foreshadowing of her affair with Faust. Later, in the church at the mass for her mom’s death, a fiend torments Gretchen.
She does not feel comfy in the church any longer since she has sinned. “Would I be away from here! It appears to me as the organ would suppress my breathing, as if my inmost heart were melted by the singing.” (3808-12) Gretchen understands her responsibility for her sins and she can no longer hush her guilty conscience. < Gretchen can no longer bear the concern of guilt and turns to Mater Dolorosa, to whom she prays in the Ramparts scene. This scene illustrates Gretchen hoping at the statue of the Virgin Mary.
It presents the dichotomy of Gretchen’s character: Gretchen the saint and Gretchen the fallen female. Gretchen the saint finds herself in a comparable condition with the Virgin Mary as an unwed mother-to-be. Both experience society’s harsh judgements. She attract the Virgin’s compassion, exclaiming that only Mary might comprehend what she is feeling. “What my poor heart suffers, how it trembles, what it desires, just you alone know.” (3601-3) The words are really personal and reveal her vulnerability, producing a text fit for a lady like Gretchen, who at this point is experiencing real, unforeseen discomfort. lt; br> The correlation in between Gretchen and Mary becomes more apparent when we think about Gretchen’s representation of a virgin mother of sorts. Goethe depicts her as such through her experience with her younger sis. Earlier in the play, Gretchen describes how she raised her sister alone. She looked after the child and treated it as her own, all the way as much as its sudden death. “I raised it and it liked me completely [Mom] could not think of suckling it herself, the poor babe pitifully wee.
And so I brought it up, and rather alone, with milk and water; so it became my own.” (3130-3) Gretchen was like a mom to the kid, though she remained a virgin. She combines the maternal nature of a mother with the innocent pureness of a woman. < Simply as Gretchen is linked to Mary as a virgin mother, she feels nearness to Mary because of her suffering. The prayer Gretchen recites reveals Mary's pain at the loss of her boy, a foreshadowing of Gretchen's own pain that comes at the death of her child.
Gretchen’s deep feelings recommend that she is still innocent and pure. This image contrasts dramatically with the tip that she could kill her kid in the future. She calls herself “the slut, who eliminated her kid” (4412-3) Gretchen gets no aid from paradise, regardless of her pleas. < This divine silence would be better for the other Gretchen, Gretchen the fallen lady. This other facet of Gretchen's character is in complete contrast to the first and supplies a very different viewpoint on the scene in the Ramparts.
While a saint hopes to get some sort of absolution, a sinner prays to blaspheme. The absence of reaction to her plea can be seen as a start to her more fall. A parallel can be developed between Gretchen and Eve– the fallen woman– who is herself responsible for her own ruin. Though Gretchen feels helpless against Faust’s seduction, she still knows right from wrong. For instance, she recognizes from the beginning that Mephistopheles is evil and not the lovely guy he seems. “The guy who is with you as your mate deep in my inmost soul I dislike. (3420-1) Gretchen who kills her daughter is reminiscent of Eve who brings mortality– death– on herself and her children. Just as Eve falls since she wants to gain understanding and is tricked by a “guile” snake who has more knowledge than Eve, Gretchen is damaged by all-knowing Faust. Despite the fact that Gretchen exhibits numerous excellent qualities, she “falls” with Faust, which is similar to the fall of Adam and Eve.; br;; br; Gretchen’s double personality permits the audience to perceive the character of other heroes in the play more clearly.