Explain how Rousseau's "man of feeling" transforms into Faust in Goethe's Faust Part One.

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Rousseau began writing in 1750 (Discours) and Goethe wrote the first portions of the Urfaust (original fragment of Faust) in 1772, therefore it is reasonable that there may be influences of Rousseau's philosophical ideas in Faust Part I. It is harder to maintain that Rousseau's ideas appear in Part II, which is developed in a Classical vein and holds extensive Classical allusion. In 1777, Goethe repudiated Romanticism, which sprang from his Rousseau-influenced ideas in The Sorrows of Young Werther, which actually gave birth to Romanticism. His repudiation came when, in 1777, he saw that a young woman who had drowned herself went to her death with a copy of The Sorrows of Young Werther in her pocket.

You might say that Faust becomes Rousseau's man of feeling beginning from "Witches' Kitchen." It is here that he sees the image of Helen of Troy in a magic mirror and, as a result, agrees to Mephistopheles’ (Mephisto’s) coercion to take the witch's love and youth potion. As a result of the potion, his passions are awakened, after having slept for his lifetime, and he directs his feelings at Gretchen.

Throughout their courtship and his ultimate seduction of her, his passions and feelings take more sway up to the moment that Faust, under the control of Mephisto, meets and slays Valentine, Gretchen's beloved brother. The ultimate demonstration of his feelings occurs in "Dreary Day: A Field." Mephisto has told Faust of Gretchen's suffering--though it is not shown on stage--and Faust loudly berates him and curses him for withholding the information from him:

Treacherous, contemptible spirit, and thou hast concealed it from me! ... Stand and defy me with thine intolerable presence! ... [Thou] hast concealed from me her increasing wretchedness, and suffered her to go helplessly to ruin! ... Dog! Abominable monster! ... O woe! woe which no human soul can grasp ...!

This and the scenes that follow are considered by most critics to be Goethe's crowning achievements for the heightened realism of intense emotion they carry. Faust demands that Mephisto rescue Gretchen: "Rescue her, or woe to thee! The fearfullest curse be upon thee for thousands of ages!" Mephisto points out the limits of his power, but Faust, in his love and horror, is adamant: "Take me thither! She shall be free!" Mephisto cautions him about the "guilt of blood" that "still lies upon the town" because Valentine was slain. Faust scorns the mention of his own guilt and demands, "Take me thither, I say, and liberate her!" Mephisto capitulates, within the limits of his power, and says, "the magic steeds are ready, I will carry you off," to which Faust echoes, "Up and away!"

In "Dungeon," the emotion crescendos and grows even more painfully realistic and intense as Gretchen, half crazed, insists upon her punishment, and Faust, despite his desperation and despair, is unable to convince her to allow herself to be rescued. These scenes certainly show Faust as a Rousseauean man of feeling, which is defined, in short, as one who declines to interrupt the flow of passion and feeling and further declines to act within reasonableness and select, combine, and choose the right words and phrases that create the witty and persuasive expressions of language used and preferred by a rational--not a feeling--man [person].

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Explain how Rousseau's man of feeling became Faust in Part Two of Goethe's Faust.

It is easy to identify Rousseau's ideology in Faust Part I, but harder to find a trace of it in Part II. The reasons are three-fold. First, sixty years past between the originally published fragments and Goethe's writing of Part II, recommencing it after his friends and admirers begged him to complete Faust before the end of his life. Ultimately, Goethe died just days after completing Faust Parts I and II. It was sealed, not be opened until after his death.

Second, Faust was begun in 1772 and helped launch the Romantic period. In 1777, because of a young woman's self-inflicted death influenced by The Sorrows of Young Werther, a copy of which was in her pocket, Goethe renounced all association with Rousseau-influenced Romanticism.

Third, Goethe completed Faust in the style of Classical drama, with no Romanticism in Faust Part II, which is steeped instead in the classicalist’s search for knowledge and reason as is proven by settings, characters, themes, and allusions. Yet, there are three places where Rousseau-type feeling might be interpreted as representing Rousseau's man of feeling.

The first is Faust's encounter with Helen of Troy whom Mephistopheles (Mephisto) has liberated from the classical underworld. It's interesting to note that when they meet in Part II, Helen is speaking in Homeric verse and Faust, speaking in Elizabethan verse, teaches her rhyming.

But teach me why that man spoke aloud
With curious speech, familiar but strange.

Faust loves Helen, who was the first one to stir his passion--before Mephisto coerced him into taking the youth and love potion that led to Gretchen's undoing. Their courtship and life together is built on Rousseau's idea of the man of feeling--one who doesn't interrupt his flow of feeling with the rational task of selecting, combining, and choosing language to produce an affect of wit and the persuasive power of passion.

The second is the son that Faust and Helen have. Euphorion is precocious, possessing a spirit of adventure and exploration. Helen and Faust deeply love and pamper their son: "It requires two noble hearts / For Love to bless humanity." One day, Euphorion insists that he can fly and falls to his death: "Onward! I must! I must! / Let me but fly!" The feeling Faust displays can link him to Rousseau's man of feeling. It is heightened by his sorrow when Helen is called back to the underworld when their son is no more: "Mother, don't leave me alone / In the shadows' domain!"

The third is at the end of Faust's life. He has completed almost all parts of his land reclamation project yet is plagued because one old peasant couple has held out against his entreaties and clings to their land, trees, and chapel--the chapel gives Faust a dread feeling. Mephisto goes too far when Faust in haste requires that the couple be moved by force to another plot of land that he has selected. The old couple dies of terror together when Mephisto and his generals storm in. After Faust's feeling of rage at Mephisto is spent, his feelings turn to remorse and he says, "Quickly said, too quickly done, I fear!" His final moments are spent in exalted feelings--further connecting him to the man of felling--after being blinded by Care, as he envisions a new achievement that will house millions:

My last and greatest act of will
Succeeds when ...
[I] make room for many a million.

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