Difference between revisions of "Speculah:Madoka Magica and Faust"
(Added Ep4 and Ep5, updated Ep3 "The pinnacle of happiness", various minor changes.)
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*Walpurgisnacht may be a large gathering of witches, or a single powerful witch as seen in the prologue.
*Walpurgisnacht may be a large gathering of witches, or a single powerful witch as seen in the prologue.
Revision as of 06:38, 25 February 2011
TODO: Please mirror all references to Faust on the episode pages and write about how they could connect with the actual story (e.g. in >>44790618 and >>44797549)
Short speculah can be added to the bulleted list for each section, extended analysis can be added under a subheading, eg. "Charater Roles" below.
- 1 Episode 1
- 2 Episode 2
- 3 Episode 3
- 4 Episode 4
- 5 Episode 5
- 6 Episode 6
- 7 Episode 8
- 8 General analysis
The very first shot of the series after the curtains rise is a title card that reads (in runes) "Prolog im Himmel". This is the title of the Prologue of Goethe's Faust, where Mephistopheles and God make a wager over the soul of Faust. The runes underneath the title are assumed to say "2011".
As of episode 4, this is the only direct quote from Faust which appears independently of Gertrud's barrier. In the absence of this Prolog Im Himmel screen it could otherwise be assumed that Gertrud merely studied or enjoyed Goethe's Faust.
- The addition of "2011" may imply that the series does not just reference Faust, but is a full animated adaptation of the story.
In Prolog im Himmel, Mephistopheles and God have a conversation about Faust. In the series prologue, Madoka and Kyubey have a conversation about Homura. While it is normally assumed that Madoka is playing either Faust, or the Gretal to Homura's Faust, the placement of characters in this scene presents other possibilities.
That Kyubey is Mephistopheles seems a no-brainer, after all Mephistopheles appeared to Faust as a small cute animal. So we could consider the possibility that Madoka is God. As of Episode three Kyubey, Mami and Homura have all stated that Madoka has massive magical potential, which could be viewed as god-like power. If true, we would expect to see Homura(Faust)'s existing interest in and devotion to Madoka(god) being tested and eventually broken as she loses her way or becomes more corrupt.
The alternative scenario presented by the prologue is that Kyubey is god, and Madoka is Mephistopheles. Certainly Kyubey's ability to grant wishes is godlike, while his animal form may be a red herring. Madoka's journey through the checkered hallways to reach the treetop where she converses with Kyubey may mirror Mephistopheles' journey to reach heaven. Also, the homo erotic subtext between Homura and Madoka parallels the subtext between Faust and Mephistopheles. In this scenario, we might expect Homura's relationship with Madoka to lead her down a path to damnation.
Please also note that Mephistopheles was not always depicted as an evil character. Often he is an unwilling slave to Satan who helps and advises Faust, trying to steer him away from the dark path he is treading.
The Witch's spell
After Madoka and Sayaka run away from Homura, four Anthonies are seen to be "speaking", or singing, moving streams of runes which are a quote from "The Hexeneinmaleins" in Goethe's Faust. This quote is a basic magic spell demonstrated to Faust on his first visit to a witch. The "Einmaleins" (literally "one-times-one") is a multiplication table taught to elementary school students. It is also a way of saying "the very basics," similar to "[something] 101" in English.
Du mußt verstehn!
Aus Eins mach' Zehn,
Und Zwey laß gehn,
Und Drey mach' gleich,
So bist du reich.
Verlier' die Vier!
Aus Fünf und Sechs,
So sagt die Hex',
Mach' Sieben und Acht,
So ist's vollbracht:
Und Neun ist Eins,
Und Zehn ist keins.
Das ist das Hexen-Einmal-Eins!
This you must ken (understand)
From one make ten,
And two let be,
make even three,
Then rich you'll be.
Skip o'er the four!
From five and six,
The Witch's tricks,
Make seven and eight,
'Tis finished straight;
And nine is one,
And ten is none,
That is the witch's one-times-one!
While inside the witch's barrier cut-out rings containing German text appear which can be assumed to be quotes from Faust, although they are currently unidentified.
Entrance to Gertrud's barrier
The texts on the abandoned building's entrance wall in episode two are quotes from Goethe's Faust. Here is a translation of the portion that is quoted.
Du hast sie zerstört,
Die schöne Welt,
Mit mächtiger Faust;
Sie stürzt, sie zerfällt!
Ein Halbgott hat sie zerschlagen!
Die Trümmern ins Nichts hinüber,
Über die verlorne Schöne.
Baue sie wieder,
In deinem Busen baue sie auf!
Mit hellem Sinne,
Und neue Lieder
Thou hast it destroyed,
The beautiful world,
With powerful fist:
In ruin ’tis hurled,
By the blow of a demigod shattered!
Fragments into the Void we carry,
The beauty perished beyond restoring.
For the children of men,
Build it again,
In thine own bosom build it anew!
Bid the new career
With clearer sense,
And the new songs of cheer
Be sung thereto!
Note that this passage is sung by an "invisible ghost choir". In the series Kyubey, the witches, their minions and barriers are all invisible to normal people. This may imply that Gertrud is singing the above paragraph, for some reason.
Inside the barrier
As in episode one, cut out rings containing Faust quotes in German can be seen within Gertrud's barrier. One of these is legible, referencing a passage where several things are cursed. Here is the full passage and translation:
|Verflucht voraus die hohe Meinung,
Womit der Geist sich selbst umfängt!
Verflucht das Blenden der Erscheinung,
Die sich an unsre Sinne drängt!
Verflucht was uns in Träumen heuchelt,
Des Ruhms, der Namensdauer Trug!
Verflucht was als Besitz uns schmeichelt,
Als Weib und Kind, als Knecht und Pflug!
|Cursed be, at once, the high ambition|
Wherewith the mind itself deludes!
Cursed be the glare of apparition
That on the finer sense intrudes!
Cursed be the lying dream's impression
of name, and fame, and laureled brow!
Cursed, all that flatters as possession,
As wife and child, as knave and plow!
The pinnacle of happiness
After making the promise to fight as friends with Madoka, Mami thinks "It's the first time I've been this happy while fighting." among other extravagant thoughts and actions that expressed her euphoria. Very shortly afterwards she dies. Messily.
As part of Faust's deal with Mephistopheles, should he ever reach the highest state of happiness possible for humanity he will immediately die and be consigned to hell.
- "The curse of happiness" is a theory that any magical girl who achieves this state of happiness will be consigned to death, final-destination style. See Episode 5 below for further evidence.
- Homura is quite likely to fall victim to this curse if her subtext with Madoka bears any fruit.
The Witch's Mask
Episode three saw the first airing of the ED for the anime. The last picture shown is that of a childlike Madoka sleeping in the eye socket of a witch's mask.
This mask has been likened to the cover of Mephisto.
A phrase which appears in runified German within Elly's barier is "I don't like fools." (Ich mag keine Narren)
In Faust, Mephistopheles refers to all of humankind as Narrenwelt: "Wenn sich der Mensch, die kleine Narrenwelt (Though folly's microcosm, man)."
- Narren, meaning fool, may refer to humans here, and could signify the witch's dislike for humans.
The song Kamijou plays is Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria (Video, the anime version is played one octave lower)
In Goethe's Faust (not the opera), The Holy Mother is invoked to save Faust when Mephistopheles tries to claim his soul.
The pinnacle of happiness 2
While listening to Kamijou play, Sayaka thinks "I'm the happiest I could possibly be right now!" The scene immediately switches to Kyouko, who confidently states that she could kill Sayaka in an instant.
At the end of episode five Sayaka would have died if Kyouko had struck her soulgem. This possibility is averted by Homura's intervention.
At the end of episode six Sayaka is almost killed by Madoka. Again her life is saved by Homura. Although the exact effects of separating a magical girl's soul from her body/husk are unknown, Homura's actions certainly expressed a great deal of urgency.
Please see Episode 3 above for the relevance of these events to Faust, and associated theories.
- Without a magical girl's controlling magic, her husk may cease all function and undergo the natural processes of death: cell death, rigor mortis and eventual bio degradation.
- Assuming that the "curse of happiness" is true:
- Homura may be able to interfere with the curse because of her status as an "anomaly". It is only a matter of time, however, before she fails to save Sayaka.
- Homura appears to be unaware of the curse. Although she states that Sayaka cannot be saved (in the scene immediately after Kyouko's deceleration), it is unlikely she knew that Sayaka had achieved happiness. She is also shocked at Madoka's rash action and goes to great lengths to save Sayaka's life.
Homura states that "A Walpurgis Night will come to this town two weeks from today." About which Kyouko comments "That'd be pretty hard to handle myself," Note that the original Japanese wording is ambiguous as to whether the "Walpurgisnacht" is an event or a single entity.
In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken and await the arrival of spring. Variations on these myths claim the witches "hold revels with their gods" or "fornicate with demons/the devil"
A scene in Goethe's Faust Part One is called "Walpurgisnacht", and one in Faust Part Two is called "Classical Walpurgisnacht".
In Part One, Mephisto takes Faust to a Walpurgis festival on Bald Mountain while Gretchen is sentenced to death back home.
- Walpurgisnacht may be a large gathering of witches, or a single powerful witch as seen in the prologue.
Parallels between Goethe's Faust and Madoka
In the opening of the drama, Faust, filled with regrets of his life, laments about his life ending before it has truly begun. He felt that he has little importance in a world that emphasizes not the wealth of knowledge in sages... whereas Madoka, filled with regrets of her short life, laments about her life coming to a point where she is of little importance in a world that requires one to be useful... yet, both Madoka and Faust are actually ambitious and hopeful. They both do not see hedonistic happiness as the most important thing.
Faust heads off brazenly, in the spirit of headstrong ignorance, that he shall seek all the ups and downs of humanity without ever stopping, and he shall fall should he wish time to standstill. Madoka has now seen sorrow and joy in its rawest form, and she now has the opportunity to make the same leap of faith... yet she of course is ignorant.
Madoka, as Faust has, will soon face the issue of her hotheaded ambition being doused time, time and time again. The ill omen strikes in this parallel where, by the second part of Faust, the man becomes resolved to do good via obtaining the means to do so. Although Mephistopheles misinterpreted Faust's intentions as Faust attempting to seize power unto himself, it was not so... which led, unfortunately, to the bloody price that Faust paid to achieve his own Utopia, that land made from sea reclamation; The blood of innocents would yet again trip the mind of the idealist.
Will we see this occur with Madoka, where good intention does not yield the ideal performance?
Faust lives on, with humility of understanding that he is no better than others and that he cannot play god, yet he must live on and continue this journey in the ugly yet beautiful world. Will Madoka come to understand this bitterness and yet still resolve to reach a form of satisfaction, albeit with humility? It remains to be seen. This realization has earned Faust of his salvation, yet would that point come with Madoka and would she in term, reach her salvation?
In relation to the Faustian issue in the price to be paid for a contract, I now think that Goethe's answer would be that once signed, the moment of lament is over. Moreover, make no assumption that one will gain such tangible benefit and that you are wiser than the other side of the consigning parties by dictating the terms of the agreement. After that, all parties must partake the journey together, as success and failure is now defined, and intertwined between all parties involved.
As Junko applies her makeup, Faust downs the Witche's one-times-one, Madoka must transform into a magical girl and face a world that she has consigned to involve herself in. Everything prior is just prologue. I hope Madoka would solve the Witchs' Epitaph and enter the Golden Land of her choosing.