“…but until then I want to lead my own life, and even if you had a thousand tongues, you would not talk me out of my plan. I want to give my whole self to the man who loves me and whom I love. Don’t make faces! I wish to submit to this passion as if it should last eternally.” (Wolfgang von Goethe, pg 18)
In this scene, young Mariane embodies youth, whether it be modern or ancient, while talking to her old servant Barbara. Mariane clearly shares the ideals of all young girls, maybe even boys, in that she wants to marry or to give herself over completely to someone that she loves, or thinks she loves. Both modern and ancient youth share this hope in literature, movies, plays, you name it! Relationships between men and women haven’t changed much when looking at youth; they are all reckless and still believe in true love and happily ever afters. Relationships when looked at by older people seem to be logical or beneficial in some way or other, which is why Barbara tries to talk Mariane out of her sudden whim to be with a merchant’s son instead of rich Norberg. But Mariane, being young and in love, cannot and will not be talked out of her decision.
In the quote above Mariane acknowledges that Barbara will talk her out of her decision, and I think this shows that Mariane knows that what she is about to do is foolish in some deeper, more logical part of her mind, but she is just so overcome with love. Being young she really doesn’t know any better, or what consequences she could have in going through with this form of adultery. Back in the day most relationship were arranged, beneficial to both parties, but always the girls seemed to suffer because of the lack of true love, having not chosen this path. In ancient and modern relationships there were always rebels, such as Mariane, that could not let themselves be forced into these relationships. In literature, movies and plays everything seemed to work out just fine for these girls, but in real life these girls probably had a very tough life.
When Wilhelm greeted his mother next morning she told him that his father was very annoyed and would very soon forbid him to pay daily visits to the theatre. ‘Even though I occasionally like to go to the theater myself,’ she continued, ‘I am all the same often inclined to curse it, since my domestic quiet is disturbed by your excessive passion for this form of entertainment. Father always asks what use it can be and how can people waste their time with it.’
‘I’ve already had to listen to him as well,’ replied Wilhelm, ‘And perhaps I answered him too hastily; but for heaven’s sake, Mother, is everything useless which does not immediately put money in our pockets and which does not procure us possessions near at hand?’
Wilhelm’s conversation with his mother provides us with an example of youthful rebellion. His parents disapprove of his passion for theater, believing that it is useless, but he refuses to submit to this viewpoint and stop enjoying it.
I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday weekend. Attached to this email are two very brief readings that will get us started in our first class. Both are packed with lots of detailed information, but don’t worry about that. Just take note of the main terms and ideas. (They shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to read through.)
I look forward to meeting you all on Wednesday. We meet at 11:00am in KCB (Kenmore Classroom Building) Room 201. I will distribute the syllabus and talk about major assignments in the course then. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
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