Doctor Faustus (Thomas Mann)

Doctor Faustus (Thomas Mann) Analysis

The novel "Doctor Faustus" was created by Thomas Mann in a difficult time. The first pages of the works were written in 1943, when even for the Germans, it became clear the truth about the collapse of a new national idea, which degenerated into fascism. Published in 1947, the novel was the artistic denial of the anti-human ideal, which Germany has set before itself in the 30-40-ies.

The narrator - a friend of the main character, wrote a biography of Adriana Leverkühn during the fall of German cities under the pressure of Russian troops. Narrating the events relating to the beginning of the XX century, he periodically returns the reader to the present conducting a specific parallel between the life of the individual and of the entire country.

The genius composer Adrian Leverkühn is a fictional character. In his artistic image is much more of Goethe's Faust, than of any other musicians ever existing. Separate traits are present in the character, but rather at the level of musical technique (parallel in chapter XXII with contemporary of Thomas Mann - composer and theorist Arnold Schönberg), than the nature or characteristics of life. Created by Adrian Leverkühn songs are not a continuation, but opposition to the classic works, claiming constructive basis of work. Present in the symphonies "Doctor Faustus" disharmony to the end of his life turns into a real "Crying", which is the antithesis of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the expression of the internal collapse of the composer's personality.

The dominant trait of the hero – pride, is the foundation of his mad genius, and his spiritual fall. Incredible individualism inherent to Adrian Leverkühn, makes him inaccessible to ordinary human feelings, denying at the beginning of a woman's love, then – of the friend’s, and, at the end of life – of his nephew. Adrian explains his failures by the deal with the Devil, which took place due to the original corruption of his soul.

Devil has no need to persuade the hero to the signing of the agreement: he comes to clarify the conditions of cooperation and explains how everything will work. The enemy of the human race becomes visible only after the appearance of venereal syphilis - a disease, taken up by him after the first experience of love in the arms of a prostitute. The fall of the character explains his vision from the spiritual point of view, the damage of the brain – from the physiological. Has Adrian Leverkühn really met the Devil, or it is only a thought – it is up to the reader to decide. The author-narrator does not dare to make any statements.

"Doctor Faustus" is intellectual, philosophical, and musical novel. There are long discussions about the music - musical instruments, composers, ancient and modern techniques of creating music. Thomas Mann reveals to the reader the history of music, the nature of creativity, genius problem. Last could be seen in two ways - what owns Adrian Leverkühn can be called a mad genius, madness and genius at the same time.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.