Childs, Matthew Robert, "An Analysis of Light Metaphors in Goethe’s Faust" (2015). Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations. Paper 9569.
This paper examines a series of light metaphors in Goethe’s Faust. The purpose is to display a connection between each light metaphor and major developments in Faust’s character, namely his development from a restless scholar imprisoned in his study to a blind man shortly before his death. The order in which the light metaphors are introduced is not chronological; rather they follow a thematic sequence from night to day to night. The purpose of this particular progression is to show more clearly Faust’s movement from one mindset to the next. The order, moonlight to rising sun to rainbow to setting sun to inner light, reinforces much of what is claimed in this paper’s main argument. I assert that a series of light metaphors are connected to Faust as the subjective extensions and expressions of his thoughts about the nature of knowledge and man’s place in relation to the Absolute in the wake of series of trials and tribulations. Furthermore, I argue that these light metaphors, when connected thematically as opposed to chronologically, trace the cyclical nature of Faust’s, and possibly man’s, intellectual enterprise. This thesis combines my own interpretation of the main text with those of other major scholars in the field in order to best argue my points. In the end it will be shown that the various light metaphors are connected to Faust’s personal development and display the perennial disposition of human activity as he searches for truth and knowledge in a world of uncertainty.