Faust, Hamlet et le suicide

voici le monologue de Hamlet, si connu :

http://www.inlibroveritas.net/lire/oeuvre2066-chapitre3069.html

« Etre, ou ne pas être, c’est là la question. Y a-t-il plus de noblesse d’âme à subir la fronde et les flèches de la fortune outrageante, ou bien à s’armer contre une mer de douleurs et à l’arrêter par une révolte ?. Mourir… dormir, rien de plus ;… et dire que par ce sommeil nous mettons fin aux maux du coeur et aux mille tortures naturelles qui sont le legs de la chair : c’est là un dénouement qu’on doit souhaiter avec ferveur. Mourir… dormir, dormir ! peut-être rêver ! Oui, là est l’embarras. Car quels rêves peut-il nous venir dans ce sommeil de la mort, quand nous sommes débarrassés de l’étreinte de cette vie ?. Voilà qui doit nous arrêter. C’est cette réflexion-là qui nous vaut la calamité d’une si longue existence. Qui, en effet, voudrait supporter les flagellations, et les dédains du monde, l’injure de l’oppresseur, l’humiliation de la pauvreté, les angoisses de l’amour méprisé, les lenteurs de la loi, l’insolence du pouvoir, et les rebuffades que le mérite résigné reçoit d’hommes indignes, s’il pouvait en être quitte avec un simple poinçon ?. Qui voudrait porter ces fardeaux, grogner et suer sous une vie accablante, si la crainte de quelque chose après la mort, de cette région inexplorée, d’où nul voyageur ne revient, ne troublait la volonté, et ne nous faisait supporter les maux que nous avons par peur de nous lancer dans ceux que nous ne connaissons pas ?. Ainsi la conscience fait de nous tous des lâches ; ainsi les couleurs natives de la résolution blêmissent sous les pâles reflets de la pensée ; ainsi les entreprises les plus énergiques et les plus importantes se détournent de leur cours, à cette idée, et perdent le nom d’action…  »

et voici celi de Faust au moment où il se prépare à se suicider en buvant la fiole (c’est dans le Premier Faust) :

http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Faust_-_La_Nuit

« Moi, l’image de Dieu, qui me croyais déjà parvenu au miroir de l’éternelle vérité ; qui, dépouillé, isolé des enfants de la terre, aspirais à toute la clarté du ciel ; moi qui croyais, supérieur aux chérubins, pouvoir nager librement dans les veines de la nature, et, créateur aussi, jouir de la vie d’un Dieu, ai-je pu mesurer mes pressentiments à une telle élévation !… Et combien je dois expier tant d’audace ! Une parole foudroyante vient de me rejeter bien loin !

N’ai-je pas prétendu t’égaler ?… Mais, si j’ai possédé assez de force pour t’attirer à moi, il ne m’en est plus resté pour t’y retenir. Dans cet heureux moment, je me sentais tout à la fois si petit et si grand ! tu m’as cruellement repoussé dans l’incertitude de l’humanité. Qui m’instruira désormais, et que dois-je éviter ? Faut-il obéir à cette impulsion ? Ah ! nos actions mêmes, aussi bien que nos souffrances, arrêtent le cours de notre vie.

Une matière de plus en plus étrangère à nous s’oppose à tout ce que l’esprit conçoit de sublime ; quand nous atteignons aux biens de ce monde, nous traitons de mensonge et de chimère tout ce qui vaut mieux qu’eux. Les nobles sentiments qui nous donnent la vie languissent étouffés sous les sensations de la terre.

L’imagination, qui, déployant la hardiesse de son vol, a voulu, pleine d’espérance, s’étendre dans l’éternité, se contente alors d’un petit espace, dès qu’elle voit tout ce qu’elle rêvait de bonheur s’évanouir dans l’abîme du temps. Au fond de notre cœur, l’inquiétude vient s’établir, elle y produit de secrètes douleurs, elle s’y agite sans cesse, en y détruisant joie et repos ; elle se pare toujours de masques nouveaux : c’est tantôt une maison, une cour ; tantôt une femme, un enfant ; c’est encore du feu, de l’eau, un poignard, du poison !… Nous tremblons devant tout ce qui ne nous atteindra pas, et nous pleurons sans cesse ce que nous n’avons point perdu !

Je n’égale pas Dieu ! Je le sens trop profondément ; je ne ressemble qu’au ver, habitant de la poussière, au ver, que le pied du voyageur écrase et ensevelit pendant qu’il y cherche une nourriture.

N’est-ce donc point la poussière même, tout ce que cette haute muraille me conserve sur cent tablettes, toute cette friperie dont les bagatelles m’enchaînent à ce monde de vers ?… Dois-je trouver ici ce qui me manque ? Il me faudra peut-être lire dans ces milliers de volumes, pour y voir que les hommes se sont tourmentés sur tout, et que çà et là un heureux s’est montré sur la terre ! — Ô toi, pauvre crâne vide, pourquoi sembles-tu m’adresser ton ricanement ? Est-ce pour me dire qu’il a été un temps où ton cerveau fut, comme le mien, rempli d’idées confuses ? qu’il chercha le grand jour, et qu’au milieu d’un triste crépuscule, il erra misérablement dans la recherche de la vérité ? Instruments que je vois ici, vous semblez me narguer avec toutes vos roues, vos dents, vos anses et vos cylindres ! J’étais à la porte, et vous deviez me servir de clef. Vous êtes, il est vrai, plus hérissés qu’une clef ; mais vous ne levez pas les verrous. Mystérieuse au grand jour, la nature ne se laisse point dévoiler, et il n’est ni levier ni machine qui puisse la contraindre à faire voir à mon esprit ce qu’elle a résolu de lui cacher. Si tout ce vieil attirail, qui jamais ne me fut utile, se trouve ici, c’est que mon père l’y rassembla. Poulie antique, la sombre lampe de mon pupitre t’a longtemps noircie ! Ah ! j’aurais bien mieux fait de dissiper le peu qui m’est resté, que d’en embarrasser mes veilles ! — Ce que tu as hérité de ton père, acquiers-le pour le posséder. Ce qui ne sert point est un pesant fardeau, mais ce que l’esprit peut créer en un instant, voilà ce qui est utile !

Pourquoi donc mon regard s’élève-t-il toujours vers ce lieu ? Ce petit flacon a-t-il pour les yeux un attrait magnétique ? pourquoi tout à coup me semble-t-il que mon esprit jouit de plus de lumière, comme une forêt sombre où la lune jette un rayon de sa clarté ?

Je te salue, fiole solitaire que je saisis avec un pieux respect ! en toi, j’honore l’esprit de l’homme et son industrie. Remplie d’un extrait des sucs les plus doux, favorables au sommeil, tu contiens aussi toutes les forces qui donnent la mort ; accorde tes faveurs à celui qui te possède ! Je te vois, et ma douleur s’apaise ; je te saisis, et mon agitation diminue, et la tempête de mon esprit se calme peu à peu ! Je me sens entraîné dans le vaste Océan, le miroir des eaux marines se déroule silencieusement à mes pieds, un nouveau jour se lève au loin sur les plages inconnues.

Un char de feu plane dans l’air, et ses ailes rapides s’abattent près de moi ; je me sens prêt à tenter des chemins nouveaux dans la plaine des cieux, au travers de l’activité des sphères nouvelles. Mais cette existence sublime, ces ravissements divins, comment, ver chétif, peux-tu les mériter ?… C’est en cessant d’exposer ton corps au doux soleil de la terre, en te hasardant à enfoncer ces portes devant lesquelles chacun frémit. Voici le temps de prouver par des actions que la dignité de l’homme ne le cède point à la grandeur d’un Dieu ! Il ne faut pas trembler devant ce gouffre obscur, où l’imagination semble se condamner à ses propres tourments ; devant cette étroite avenue où tout l’enfer étincelle ! Ose d’un pas hardi aborder ce passage : au risque même d’y rencontrer le néant !

Sors maintenant, coupe d’un pur cristal, sors de ton vieil étui, où je t’oubliai pendant de si longues années. Tu brillais jadis aux festins de mes pères, tu déridais les plus sérieux convives, qui te passaient de mains en mains : chacun se faisait un devoir, lorsque venait son tour, de célébrer en vers la beauté des ciselures qui t’environnent, et de te vider d’un seul trait. Tu me rappelles les nuits de ma jeunesse ; je ne t’offrirai plus à aucun voisin, je ne célébrerai plus tes ornements précieux. Voici une liqueur que je dois boire pieusement, elle te remplit de ses flots noirâtres ; je l’ai préparée, je l’ai choisie, elle sera ma boisson dernière, et je la consacre avec toute mon âme, comme libation solennelle, à l’aurore d’un jour plus beau. »

il y a indiscutablement une parenté entre les deux personnages, notamment dans leur déception amère devant la connaissance (science, philosophie, ..) de leur temps, parenté, ou analogie, ou ressemblance, qui a été comprise par Rudolf Steiner , qui les met en correspondance avec Hector (Hamlet) et Empédocle (Faust) au cours I sur l’Evangile de Marc :

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA139/English/AP1986/GosMrk_index.html

« However all this may be, it certainly does demonstrate the unique individuality of Homer. Consider one of his characters, Hector. If you have any time available, you ought to study the figure of Hector in the Iliad — how plastically he is described so that he stands as a complete personality before us; how we see his affection for his paternal city, Troy, his wife Andromache, his relationship to Achilles, and to his armies; and how he commanded them. Try to call up this man before your minds, this man who possessed all the tenderness of a husband, and who clung in the ancient way to his home city of Troy, and who suffered such disillusions as only really great men can. Remember his relation with Achilles. Hector, as presented by Homer, is a towering figure from very ancient times, a man of great all-embracing humanity, for of course what Homer is describing belongs to a period well before his own, in the darkness of the past. Hector stands out above all the others, all those figures who seem mythical enough in the eyes of modern men.

Now take this one figure. Skeptics and all kinds of philologists may indeed doubt that there ever was a Hector at all, in the same way as they doubt the existence of Homer. But anyone who takes into consideration what may be understood from a purely human viewpoint will be convinced that Homer describes only facts that actually occurred. Hector was a living person who strode through Troy, and Achilles and the other figures were equally real. They still stand before us as personages of real earthly life. We look back to them as people of a different kind from ourselves, who are difficult to understand but whom the poet is able to bring before our souls in every detail. Now let us place before our souls a figure such as Hector, one of the chief Trojan commanders, who is defeated by Achilles. In such a personage we have something that belongs to the old pre-Christian age, something by which we can measure what men were before the time when Christ lived on earth.

I will now draw your attention to another figure, a remarkable figure of the fifth century B.C.: the great philosopher Empedocles Note 5 ], who spent a large part of his life in Sicily. It was he who was the first to speak of the four elements, fire, water, air, and earth, and who said that everything that happens in the material realm caused by the mingling and disintegration of these four elements results from the principles of love and hate ruling in them. It was he also who by his activity influenced Sicily by calling into being important political institutions, and he went about trying to lead the people into a life of spirituality. When we look back to Empedocles we find that he lived an adventurous as well as a deeply spiritual life. Perhaps the truth of what I am about to say will be doubted by some, but spiritual science knows that Empedocles went about in Sicily not only as a statesman, but as a magician and initiate, just as Hector, as depicted by Homer, walked in Troy. In order to characterize the remarkable attitude of Empedocles toward the world the fact confronts us — and it is true and no invention — that in order, as it were, to unite himself with all existence around him, he ended by throwing himself into Mount Etna and was consumed by its fire. In this way a second figure of the pre-Christian age is presented to our souls.

Now let us consider such figures as these in accordance with the methods of spiritual science. First of all we know that these individualities will appear again; we know that such souls will return to life. We shall not pay any attention to their intermediate incarnations but look for them in the post-Christian era. We then see something of the change brought about by time, something that can help us to understand how the Mystery of Golgotha intervened in human evolution. If we say that such figures as Hector and Empedocles appeared again, we must ask how they walked among men in the post-Christian era. For we shall then see how the intervention of the Mystery of Golgotha, the fulfillment and beginning of a new age, worked on their souls. As serious anthroposophists assembled here together we need not shrink from the communications of true spiritual science, which can be confirmed by external facts.

I should now like to turn your attention to something that took place in the post-Christian era, and perhaps again it may be said that the person concerned was a poetical personage. But this poetical personage can be traced back to a real individuality who was once alive. I direct your attention to the character created by Shakespeare in his Hamlet. Anyone who knows the development of Shakespeare, insofar as it can be known externally, and especially someone who is acquainted with it through spiritual science, will know that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is none other than the transformed real prince of Denmark, who also lived at one time. I cannot go into everything underlying the historical prototype of the poetical figure of Hamlet, but through the research of spiritual science, I can offer you a striking example of how a man, a spirit of ancient times, reappears in the post-Christian era. The real figure underlying Hamlet, as presented by Shakespeare, is Hector. The same soul that lived in Hamlet lived in Hector. It is just by such a characteristic example as this, and the striking way the two different souls manifest themselves, that we can interpret what happened in the intervening time. A personality such as that of Hector stands before us in the pre-Christian age. Then comes the intervention of the Mystery of Golgotha in human evolution, and the spark it kindled in Hector’s soul causes a figure, a prototype of Hamlet, to arise, of whom Goethe said, “This is a soul that is unable to deal with any situation and is not equal to its position, who is assigned tasks but is unable to fulfill them.” We may ask why Shakespeare expressed it in this way. He did not know. But anyone who can investigate the connections through spiritual science knows that behind these things forces were at work. The poet creates in the unconscious; before him stands, so to speak, first the figure which he creates, and then, as in a tableau of which he himself knows nothing, the whole individuality with which the figure is connected. Why does Shakespeare choose particular qualities in Hamlet and sharply emphasize them, qualities that perhaps Hamlet’s own contemporaries would not have noticed? Because he observes them against the background of the era. He feels how different a soul has become in its transition from the old life to the new. Hamlet, the doubter, the skeptic, who has lost the ability to cope with the situations with which he meets in life, the procrastinator and waverer, this is what Hector, once so sure of himself, has become.

Let me direct your attention to another figure of modern times, who was also first presented to mankind in a poetic picture, in a poem whose protagonist will certainly live on in humanity for a long time to come when for posterity the poet, like Homer or Shakespeare, no longer is in existence. About Homer we know nothing at all, and about Shakespeare we know very little indeed. What the various compilers of notes and biographers of Goethe have written will long since have been forgotten. In spite of the printing press and other modern inventions, what interests people in Goethe at the present time will likewise have been long forgotten. But large as life, and modelled from life, there will stand the figure of Faust which Goethe has created. Just as men today know nothing of Homer, so will they some day know but little of Goethe (which will be a good thing); but they will know much about Faust. Faust again is a figure who, as he is presented to us in a literary form by Goethe, can be recognized as one brought to a certain conclusion by Goethe. The poetical picture refers back to a real sixteenth century figure who lived then as a real person, though he was not as Goethe described him in his Faust. Why then did Goethe describe him in this way? Goethe himself did not know. But when he directed his attention to the traditional Faust that had been handed down to him, a Faust with whom he was already acquainted through the marionettes of his boyhood, then the forces that stood behind Faust, the forces of his previous incarnation, the forces of Empedocles, the old Greek philosopher, worked within him! All these radiated into the figure of Faust. So we might say, since Empedocles threw himself into Etna and united himself with the fire-element of the earth, what a wonderful spiritualization of pre-Christian nature mysticism was accomplished in fact in the final tableau of Goethe’s Faust, when Faust ascends into the fire- element of heaven through Pater Seraphicus and the rest. Slowly and gradually a totally new spiritual tendency entered into the deeper strivings of men. Already some time ago it began to become evident to the more profound spirits of mankind that, without their knowing anything about reincarnation or karma, when they were considering a great comprehensive soul whom they wished to describe from the depths of their inner life, they found themselves describing what radiated over from earlier incarnations. Although Shakespeare did not know that Hamlet was Hector, he nevertheless described him as such, without being aware that the same soul had lived in both of them. So too Goethe portrays his Faust as though Empedocles with all his peculiarities were standing behind him, because in his Faust there lived the soul of Empedocles. It is characteristic that the progress of the human soul should proceed in this way.

I have mentioned two characteristic figures, in both of whom we can perceive that when great men of earlier times reappear in a modern post-Christian age, they are shaken to the very depths of their souls and can only with difficulty adjust themselves to life. Everything that was within them in the past is still within them. For example, when we allow Hamlet to work upon us, we feel that the whole force of Hector is in him. But we feel that this force cannot come forth in the post-Christian era, that it then meets with obstacles, that something now works upon the soul that is the beginning of something new, whereas in the figures of antiquity something was coming to an end. So do these figures stand plastically delineated before us; both Hector and Empedocles represent a conclusion. But what is working on further in mankind must find new paths into new incarnations. This is revealed with Hector in Hamlet and also with Empedocles in Faust, who had within him all the abysmal urges toward the depths of nature. Because he had within him the whole nature of Empedocles, he could say, “I will lay aside the Bible for a time and study nature and medicine. I will no longer be a theologian.” He felt the need to have dealings with demonic beings who made him roam through the world leaving him marveling but uncomprehending. Here the Empedocles element had an after-effect but was not able to adjust itself to what a man must be after the new age had begun.

I wanted to show you through these explanations how in well-known souls, about whom anyone can find information, a powerful transformation shows itself, and how the more deeply we study them the more perceptible this becomes. If we inquire what happened between the two incarnations of such individualities, the answer always is the Mystery of Golgotha, which was announced by the Baptist when he said, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdoms of the spirit, or the kingdoms of heaven, are passing over into the kingdom of man.” Yes, the kingdoms of heaven did indeed powerfully seize the human kingdom, but those who take this in an external sense are unable to understand it. They seized it so powerfully that the great men of antiquity, who had been in themselves so solid and compact, had to make a new beginning in human evolution on earth. This new beginning showed itself precisely with them, and lasted until the end of the old epoch, with the Mystery of Golgotha. At that time something that had been fulfilled ebbed away, something which had presented men in such a way that they appeared as rounded personalities in themselves. Then came something that made it necessary for these souls to make a new beginning. Everything had to be transformed and altered so that great souls appeared small. They had to be transformed into the stage of childhood, for something quite new was beginning. We must inscribe this in our souls if we wish to understand what is meant at the beginning of the Gospel of St. Mark by the words “a beginning.” Yes, truly a beginning, a beginning that shakes the inmost soul to its foundations and brings a totally new impulse into human evolution, a “beginning of the Gospel.” »

 

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