Event Title

More than a Devil and an Angel on the Shoulders: a Look at Internal Struggle Through Faust and Job

Session Title

History and Literature

Faculty Mentor

Scott Shinabargar, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of World Languages and Cultures

Location

West 214

Start Date

12-4-2019 3:30 PM

Description

Can literature teach us how to live in our digital society? How can it counsel us in our struggle between natural instincts and morality? While it may seem unrealistic to look for advice in literature, there are two great examples that can teach us the consequences of following our natural instincts or our moral compass. The first example is Faust, who was highly intelligent (practically omniscient) and sought to satisfy himself by giving his soul to Lucifer in order to gain more knowledge. This story exemplifies the dangers of greed, even if unrelated to money or other material posses­sions. This message is especially relevant because many of us digital natives, like Faust, have access to nearly infinite knowledge through our technology. Furthermore, many are faced with the dissatisfaction that technology is known to create. The second story I will discuss is that of Job, who faced severe trials by loss of possessions, his children dying, and physical ailments. However, Job, unlike Faust, found peace through trusting God. His story is relatable because we, like him, have faced different trials. In these trials, we can learn to find some sort of peace. In addition to examining these two stories’ significance in our societal context, my paper will analyze the internal struggles of both characters, in order to show that moral struggles are often more complex than choosing between an angel and demon on our shoulders.

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Apr 12th, 3:30 PM

More than a Devil and an Angel on the Shoulders: a Look at Internal Struggle Through Faust and Job

West 214

Can literature teach us how to live in our digital society? How can it counsel us in our struggle between natural instincts and morality? While it may seem unrealistic to look for advice in literature, there are two great examples that can teach us the consequences of following our natural instincts or our moral compass. The first example is Faust, who was highly intelligent (practically omniscient) and sought to satisfy himself by giving his soul to Lucifer in order to gain more knowledge. This story exemplifies the dangers of greed, even if unrelated to money or other material posses­sions. This message is especially relevant because many of us digital natives, like Faust, have access to nearly infinite knowledge through our technology. Furthermore, many are faced with the dissatisfaction that technology is known to create. The second story I will discuss is that of Job, who faced severe trials by loss of possessions, his children dying, and physical ailments. However, Job, unlike Faust, found peace through trusting God. His story is relatable because we, like him, have faced different trials. In these trials, we can learn to find some sort of peace. In addition to examining these two stories’ significance in our societal context, my paper will analyze the internal struggles of both characters, in order to show that moral struggles are often more complex than choosing between an angel and demon on our shoulders.