Ich bin der Geist,
der stets verneint!
Und das mit Recht; denn alles, was entsteht,
Ist wert, daß es zugrunde geht;
Drum besser wär's, daß nichts entstünde.
So ist denn alles, was ihr Sünde,
Zerstörung, kurz, das Böse nennt,
Mein eigentliches Element.
I am the Spirit that denies!
And rightly too; for all that doth begin
Should rightly to destruction run;
'Twere better then that nothing were begun.
Thus everything that you call Sin,
Destruction - in a word, as Evil represent-
That is my own, real element.
It seems that these verses fascinate many people, because
this is the shortest expression of the absolute nihilism.
Everthing that exists is worth to run to destruction and
therefore it would be better, that nothing would exist.
In these and in the verses that follow, Mephistopheles
is less a clever, but malicious man (even realistic, if
you want, because his analysis are more often than not
very precise) is a representative of a principle.
Ich bin ein Teil des Teils,
der anfangs alles war
Ein Teil der Finsternis, die sich das Licht gebar
Das stolze Licht, das nun der Mutter Nacht
Den alten Rang, den Raum ihr streitig macht,
Und doch gelingt's ihm nicht, da es,
so viel es strebt,
Verhaftet an den Körpern klebt.
But I'm part of the Part which
at the first was all,
Part of the Darkness that gave birth to Light,
The haughty Light that now with Mother Night
Disputes her ancient rank and space withal,
And yet 'twill not succeed, since,
strive as strive it may,
Fettered to bodies will Light stay.
What does he want to say with this? He has a very special
way of interpretation of the genesis like it is described
in the Bible.
Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel
und Erde. Und die Erde war wüst und leer,
und es war finster auf der Tiefe; und der
Geist Gottes schwebte auf dem Wasser Und Gott
Es werde Licht! Und es ward Licht.
In the beginning
God created heaven and earth. And the earth
was without form and void; and darkness was
upon the face of the deep. And the spirit
of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said: Let there be light! And there
If we look a little bit closes, we'll see that in the
beginning there was darkness and light was born out of
darkness. In another way said, darkness is the mother
of light. Light fights agains the darkness and always
there is the risk that it gets lost in the darkness. The
light is always something created by God. Mephistopheles
sees himself as a representative of that, what reigned
before that. Light is dependent of bodies, it is born
of bodies and is created for them. In the beginning there
was nothing and to this nothing Mephistopheles wants to
reduce everything. This is his battle. We see once again
the complexity of the two characters. Faust and Mephistopheles
are both representatives of different principles, but
on the other hand also complex human beings.