Mysteries: Goethe & Dante

Goethe and Dante have writings that are major attempts to understand the mysteries of Nature and human nature. Their writings endeavor to answer the mysterious and the deep questions of life. “Faust represented one of the most ambitious efforts ever made in literature to impose order of a sort on the whole world of man’s thoughts and experience from heaven through the way to hell.” (Presnell, 1959) Goethe’s play is comparable to the Homeric poems as far as the detail he gives in addressing the human condition. I postulate that Goethe’s Faust can be antipodally compared to Dante’s Inferno. That is, Goethe and Dante give a prime example of the stark contrast of how the natural Universe can be so dramatically and differently interpreted. Dante saw the Cosmos as being a condemning (deontological) Universe, while Goethe would come to see the Cosmos as being a redeeming (consequential) Universe. They may have come to conspicuously diametrical interpretations, but in the main Goethe and Dante both endeavored to make some sense out of natural phenomena and how it is displayed in humans.

goethe and dante


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