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Dr. Faustus vs. Dorian Gray

Since the publication of the History of Dr. Johann Faustus at the end of 16th century, the story was retold many times by Marlowe, Lessing, Goethe, Heine, George Sand, Frank Wedekind, Mikhail Bulgakov, Paul Valéry, Thomas Mann, and the French writer Helen Siu.

The historic Johann Faustus was a bon vivánt and a braggart. He pretended to be a powerful magician, who was subservient to Satan himself. Faustus was personally acquainted with Luther, and was a member of the Protestant movement. His violent death was surrounded by many rumors.

In times of modernity the of Faustus was continued in the famous novel The Picture of Dorian Gray written by Oscar Wilde, where the author anticipated reflection of the 20th century critical thought about society of the play and images. He showed that the autonomous power of images and the alienation of the soul are part of the same process – another twist of the Faustian theme.

The novel tells the story of the life and death of a young handsome Dorian Gray. In many ways it is similar to the story of Dr. Faustus, who sold his soul to the devil in the immortal work by Goethe. Although Dorian remains young and handsome, this is only his external beauty. And all his terrible crimes are changing the portrait that, according to Wilde, is the conscience of the character.

Lord Henry becomes Mephistopheles for young Dorian. But, unlike Faustus, Dorian Gray, though sells his soul for immortality, accepts it only on the sensual level, in earthly categories like beauty that is not influenced by time. Dorian carries his essence in representation, and Wilde shows his gradual degradation as the pursuit for the sign and the visibility at the expense of the referent and nature. If Lord Henry sees Helen of Troy in Sybil Vane, Dorian immediately recognizes Gretchen in her.

Elena from the second part of Faustus was visibility, or rather a vision, which was attributed the essence mistakenly. Gretchen was a real person and died because Faustus was chasing a chimera and visibility. Dorian was attracted only by the art of Cybele and was not interested in the essence disclosed in her by love. The essence of Dorian does not exist – it is alienated in the painting and locked in the attic. But, like Faustus, Dorian Gray lives a long and happy life without the spirit and the soul. When alienation becomes not the subject of a personal pact, but a universal process, the sale of his soul does not lead to alienation from others.

Since the publication of the History of Dr. Johann Faustus at the end of 16th century, the story was retold many times by Marlowe, Lessing, Goethe, Heine, George Sand, Frank Wedekind, Mikhail Bulgakov, Paul Valéry, Thomas Mann, and the French writer Helen Siu.

The historic Johann Faustus was a bon vivánt and a braggart.

Assignment ID
100000870
Type
CREATED ON
1 August 2016
COMPLETED ON
2 August 2016
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$50
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