Faustus in English Literature: Myth or Symbol?

: pp. 20 - 24

Albota S. Faustus in English Literature: Myth or Symbol? // Website of TC STTS: Herald of L'viv Polynechnic National University "Problems of Ukrainian Terminology". – 2018. – # 890.

Lviv Polytechnic National University

The article deals with the correlation between the notions of symbol and myth. The main attention is paid to the interpretation of symbol and myth by various philisophers and linguists, which allows to reveal substantial features of these terms. The explications and implications of Faustus as a myth and symbol in the source text by Ch. Marlowe and in other works of English Faustiana have been revealed. The interrelation of the terms “symbol” and “myth” in the English literature works of the late 16th – early 21st centuries has been discovered.

In modern linguistic research there are discussions on the proper interpretation of the terms in Humanities. This issue affects the following linguistic terms like “symbol” and “myth”, which are not differentiated enough.

In the article, the problem of interrelation between the concepts of symbol and myth is discovered. It is discovered that the symbol and myth correlation is a key issue in the field of linguistic studies. Terminology variability of these concepts, as it is considered, provides an article novelty.

Turning to the primary concepts in the myth-poetic tradition (“archetype” - “myth” - “symbol”), a number of definitions of these terms in the humanities has been analyzed. The myth is regarded as the first principle of being, while the symbol (the same as an archetype) focuses on the depth of history, human consciousness. The symbol allows to structure myths, providing them with symbolism. The symbol is characterized by the mythological principle. Accordingly, the relationship between these concepts is established: the myth is symbolically embodied through the archetype, and the symbol is based on the myth.

The attention is drawn to the fact that in ancient epoch there was no “symbol” word, so all symbolism was marked through a myth. The attempts have been made to distinguish the symbol from the ancient myth, but later it was established that the symbol “grows” from the myth: a symbol is immersed in the depth of being, which is considered as a myth.

There are contrary points of view regarding the connection between the symbol and the myth. It is argued that the symbol is only one of the forms of expression of the myth.

Taking into account all the above-mentioned definitions and interpretations concerning the common nature of the myth and symbol, it is substantiated that the symbol is an actualization of the myth. The purpose of the linguist-interpreter is to attempt to interpret all possible meanings in the already formed symbol.

It has been discovered that the “myth” is a paramount concept of Faustus, which is a symbol of sin in the English literature of the late 16th and early 21st centuries.

English Faustiana is viewed as an array of literary works dating from the late 16th to early 21st century concerned with the main Faustus subject – man’s pact with the devil. The selected works are associated with the apprehension of sin as the main implication of the interpretative features: thirst for unlimited knowledge, aspiration for godly power, conjuration and the selling of one’s soul.

The human conception of sin over the course of almost six centuries has radically changed - from fear of punishment for sin to the benefit of sin. At the end of the 16th and 17th centuries, a man was afraid of committing a sin, for he knew that he was following the inevitable condemnation of other people and the punishment of God. The greatest sin of that time was considered to be a connection with magic, which was interpreted as the man took possession of the Devil. Accordingly, the influence of such a person on others was also condemned and immoral acts of people were regarded as an apostasy from God. In the 18th century, sin was treated with precaution, but people began to think how to avoid physical punishment for mortal sin, provoking another sin - a lifetime ministry to the Devil. In the 19th century, the fear of sin was lost, and people did not think about its consequences, but the call for the confession of guilt was formed. In the 20th century, sinfulness becomes an integral part of life; selfishness prevails. In the 21st century man is absorbed in sin, making him a hostage to his own desires.

The prospect of further research is a comparative analysis of linguistic means that embody the linguistic and cultural coding of the “Faustus” symbol in various world literature, in particular in German, and lingual and semiotic analysis of other literary and artistic symbols, as well as the translation analysis of the reproduction of the language coding of the symbol in the Ukrainian translations of English Faustiana.

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