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2012 Group Reads - Archives > Faust - Part I ~ Scene VI: The Witches' Kitchen

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver This is an interesting, and I think fun chapter.

I was most curious about the creatures, and why the witch's helpers were presented as being ape like animals.

While Goethe predates Darwin, he did have an awareness about some ideas concerning evolution. He wrote an essay about metamorphosis in plants, and conducted botanical and zoological studies in evolution.

So I wonder if his choosing to use apes here was meant as another form of mockery, and a suggested facade considering the closeness between primates and humans.

Are the apes meant to be "aping" man? Or suggesting something out man's own primal natures and perhaps particular Faust turning away from his human reason and knowledge in order to pursue more carnal interests.

message 2: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 1 comments The kitchen scene was striking. It was also comical with the witch coming down the chimney and all her antics.

message 3: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 17, 2012 12:23AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I felt that this scene mocked the witches in Macbeth.

From The Upright Ape by Aaron G Filler MD PhD:

'Goethe proved that humans were in the same continuum as the other animals with his famous paper on the intermaxillary bone in the 1790's [see link below]. Then he suggested that repeating fundamental elements could be identified - the leaf for plants and the body segment for animals - out of which any conceivable organism could be assembled. This was his proof of shared origins for the major types of life.

In his 6th edition, Darwin finally acknowledged Goethe's priority, but questioned his conclusions. Modern Hox genetics now shows that Goethe the poet was closer to the scientific truth than Darwin the zoologist.

We tend to assume that objective science must be widely separated from the realm of poetry and philosophy. However, what if a poet saw and understood the most basic truths in science when reductionist biologists took 200 years to be able to appreciate what he had seen and understood.'

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