Faust "The Eternal-Womanly Draws Us Above"

Johann Goethe

"The Eternal-Womanly Draws Us Above"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: At the conclusion of the drama, the soul of Faust, not yet free from the dross of earth, is purified by God's love from the lower elements and is brought into harmony with the eternal Goodness. The final words, spoken in Heaven by a "mystic chorus," provide a summary of the philosophy expressed in the work. Essentially, what is earthly is only a symbol of the eternal and divine. Of these lines Professor G. M. Priest writes: "What is past human grasp and understanding. . . ., namely, the transition from earthly life to the life beyond, is accomplished here, in the case of Faust, through the grace of an understanding love which is divine in its essence and in its workings. We know such love in its purest, most selfless form only in womanhood, whether incorporated in earthly woman or imagined in its highest perfection in the Virgin. Such love is the supreme, uplifting power. The Eternal-Womanly leads us upward and on, closer and closer to God." The phrase is usually heard as "the eternal feminine." In the words of the chorus in this translation:

All earth comprises
Is symbol alone;
What there ne'er suffices
As fact here is known;
All past the humanly
Wrought here in love;
The Eternal-Womanly
Draws us above.