Hyperrealities and Simulacra in Goethe’s Faust

  • Francesco Rossi Università di Pisa, Dipartimento di Filologia, Letteratura e Linguistica
Keywords: Virtuality, Theory of simulacra, Faust, Goethe's Faust, Thematic analysis


No other text calls for ongoing interpretations like Goethe’s Faust. Reconsidered in relation to the progressive virtualisation of experience typical of our age, this two-part tragedy is interesting for us, its twenty-first-century audience, because of the crossing of boundaries between the real and the virtual. This encourages an interpretation of the text along the lines of Baudrillard's philosophy of the simulacrum, supplemented by further theoretical inputs. Virtuality and simulacrum are thus to be considered as parts of the same thematic field running through the work. Closely linked to this field is the mediatisation of experience, through which the subject becomes a hybrid, disembodied, decontextualised and non-situated presence floating in a sequence of hyperrealities. My interpretative hypothesis focuses on this aspect, which is closely linked to the question of the simulacrum and its relationship to the posthuman. It focuses particularly on the figures of Homunculus and Helena, in which the phantasmagoric side of Faust becomes evident. While in the former the simulation of the human in vitro is associated with a reduced form of life that privileges the mind over the body, with the latter the question shifts to the relationship between the main male character and the eternal feminine. These two characters invite us to reflect on disembodied experience, as well as on the poetic and aesthetic values of the simulacrum in this text and beyond it.


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How to Cite
Rossi, F. (2022). Hyperrealities and Simulacra in Goethe’s <em>Faust</em&gt;. Between, 12(24), 441-459. https://doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/5141