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Faustian Legends in American Culture

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Ms Kuitems

on 4 October 2013

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Transcript of Faustian Legends in American Culture

Faustian Legends in American Culture
"Deal with the Devil"/ Faustian Bargain
1. "Devil" (can go by many names, but it is usual the embodiment of evil)
2. The Desperate Pawn or "Faust"
3. Crooked but magically binding contract
4. "Devil" offers something of value
5. Then asks for something in return
6. The "Faust" often "earns" the happy ending through outsmarting the Devil , reaching a "truth" like "the power of love"
Your Task
Faust is the central character of the archetypical story of a Deal with the Devil.
Though there were earlier stories of individuals bargaining with demons for magical power, it is the legend of an early 16th century German scholar that has been the most frequent and most profound inspiration for works of art on this theme.
Who is Faust?
Classic German Legend
Faust was a successful scholar, but he was dissatisfied with his life. He makes a pact with the Devil to exchange his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures
The Devil will claim Faust's soul in 24 years
Different versions exist. In some versions:
he becomes irrevocably corrupted and the Devil takes him away
he uses his powers to bewitch a girl to fall in love. She dies, and her innocence allows her to go to Heaven, and she pleads on Faust's behalf to save him as well.
Faust - The Legend
Washington Irving (1783-1859)
Became the first American writer to have international reputation
Worldly traveler interested in European Literature
Inspired by European folklore, created:
"Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
"Rip Van Winkle"
"The Devil and Tom Walker"
Entrance into American culture:
Examples- American Faustian Tales
The Little Mermaid
Shrek Forever After
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
SNL "The Devil in People's Court"
Supernatural "Crossroads"
O' Brother Where Art Thou
Robert Johnson -Blues Singer
Create a narrative that incorporates a Faustian Bargain
This should be a "commentary" on our culture today. What do you think we are consumed with? What would we be willing to make a Faustian bargain for?
This should include the common aspects of a Faustian Tale including:
Your" Faust" begins unhappy/unsatisfied or in a desperate situation
Devil figure offers "goods" through a contract with some catch
"Faust" must get out of the deal ( for example: he/she learns a truth or lesson and become redeemed) OR become so consumed he or she is beyond redemption and taken by the Devil at the end.
Ghost Rider
1. "Devil" or evil character
Does not require a "Satan"
any trickster or evil deity roughly equivalent to the Devil works
2. The "Faust"
The "Faust" a desperate pawn.
The "Faust" is usually the protagonist
Also is usually incredibly desperate, has no other option, or is somehow crooked to begin with.
Contract is usually vague
wall of text
punishment for breaking it is usually death
Loopholes can be found
3. Crooked but magically binding contract
The "Devil" offers something of value to the "Faust". For example:
Money
Power
Popularity
Saving your life moments before death
Saving the one you love
Magic
4. The Goods
5. The Catch
"Devil" will ask for something in return for the goods like:
soul
conscience
sanity
first born
loved ones
voice, etc.
Usually, this will also have the total ruin of the "Faust" if delivered.
OR "Devil asks for an impossible task
6. The Ending
Many different endings
The "Faust" often "earns" the happy ending through
outsmarting the Devil
reaching a "truth" like not to sacrifice happiness for greed
Learns "the power of love"
Turning to religion
Finding a loophole
OR "Faust"
has already sold his soul
ends up losing to the "Devil"
"Born Again Krabs" - Spongebob
Full transcript