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     Literature Goethe: Faust IV.8 Auerbachs Keller in Leipzig (Auerbach's cellar in Leipsic)

Goethe: Faust

  IV.8 Auerbachs Keller in Leipzig (Auerbach's cellar in Leipsic)

In Auerbach's cellar (a tavern) "jolly companions" are described. The author doubts that this is actually the right word for this kind of people. It could be thought of a piece of irony of Goethe to call them that way. The author of this chapter worked as a cab driver to earn money during studies and has a lot of experience with those "jolly companions". Most part of the work as a cab driver was to bring drunk people home. The language of those people turns in something a linguist would call restricted and the general behaviour has something of an atavism.

If trying to establish a relation between this scene and the line of narration one could say that this scene is about the first, but still the most stupid try of Mephistopheles to win his bet. The explication he gives is quite weak.

Ich muß dich nun vor allen Dingen
In lustige Gesellschaft bringen,
Damit du siehst, wie leicht sich's leben läßt.
Dem Volke hier wird jeder Tag ein Fest.
Mit wenig Witz und viel Behagen
Dreht jeder sich im engen Zirkeltanz,
Wie junge Katzen mit dem Schwanz.
Wenn sie nicht über Kopfweh klagen,
So lang der Wirt nur weiter borgt,
Sind sie vergnügt und unbesorgt.
Before all else I now must let you view
The doings of a jovial crew,
That you may see how smoothly life can flow along.
To this crowd every day's a feast and song.
With little wit and much content,
Each, on his own small round intent,
Is like a kitten with its tail.
While no sick headache they bewail
And while their host will still more credit give,
Joyous and free from care they live.

Knowing the real intentions of Mephistopheles, to bring Faust to a point that he eats dust like the serpent, we know what means to put Faust in company of "jolly companions". But as we know Mephistopheles is not stupid, who does very well understands the psychology of Faust (even though the real, eternal search seems to him to be absolutely ridiculous) as well as the on of this evening society. It seems right to believe that Mephistopheles brought Faust to this place to have fun himself. Evidently he likes to make fun of drunks, who think that the magic they see is only due the wine.

Faust is just bored and wants to leave as soon as possible. These people only make him feel sick.