Interpretations of the “Gretchen-figure” in the Works of Classical Composers

Faculty Sponsor

Josiah Simon


Arts and Sciences


Foreign Languages and Literatures (German)

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and his drama Faust have provided inspiration for various other works of art for over two centuries, including for musical productions. Alongside this success, Goethe’s Gretchen-figure has been a character of interest and source of inspiration herself, often portrayed as an image of innocence, naivety, and piety during her devilish relationship with the infamous Faust figure. This research project aims to compare and analyze Goethe’s Gretchen-figure in multiple operas, including Louis Spohr’s “Faust,” Charles Gounod’s “Faust,” Hector Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust,” and Ferruccio Busoni’s “Doktor Faust,” with a special focus on Franz Schubert’s compositions “König in Thule” and “Gretchen am Spinnrade”.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Sara Eveler is a senior German and Chemistry double-major and is pursuing a career in optometry. She studied abroad in Tübingen, Germany during the 2017-2018 school year to further her knowledge of the German language and culture. She has been tentatively accepted into the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN (pending completion of her degree), where she will continue her education starting in Fall 2019 to become a doctor of optometry.

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