Goethe use of vampire figure to criticize Christianity

Goetheuse of vampire figure to criticize Christianity

Inthe bride of the Corinth, Goethe talks about a young bride who waslaid to death on the coffin and would wake up at night. A youngAthenian, who was also a pagan, visited a Corinthian family toarrange for his marriage. However, unknown to him, the family hadconverted into Christianity following the influence of the mother.The daughter that the young man intended to marry had died as she wasbeing condemned to take the veil. When the young man arrives in thehome of his bride to be, he is shown his room where he would rest forthe night. The bride from the grave woke up at night and the manbreathes into the corpse while making love without knowing her fate(Goethe 26). Her mother was woken up by the sounds of lovemaking andwas surprised to realize her daughter had woken up from the grave.The mother told the young man that he must die too for engaginghimself with a dead person (Boyle 120). On the other hand, thedaughter threatened to drain all the lives of the young men unlessshe was removed from her grave, which was Christian, and taken to hergrave that was pagan. The bride also claimed that she wanted to beburied alongside the man she loved on the pyre (Krivak 67). Once thiswas done, the bride would sleep in peace and never wake up from hergrave.

Apparently,Goethe’s work seems to criticize Christianity in a great way. Hedid his work at the time when people were slowly converting intoChristianity. It is evident that he was not in favor of Christiansand that is why he came up with his work that criticized this newreligion. In his work, he claims that Christians way of life wastorturing even the death. This is evident when he said that the bridewoke up from her grave and was ready to do more harm if she was notgiven proper pagan burial. This depicted how weak and powerlessChristianity was if it could not let a person die in peace.

Accordingto the Bride of the Corinth, it seems that the Christian God was notpowerful as compared to the gods of pagan. This is well shown by thefact that the bride had powers to destroy everyone because she wasburied under Christian rituals. If Goethe was in favor ofChristianity, the pagan bride would have been powerless. Goethecritically shows people that pagan was a more preferred way of lifeas compared to Christianity.

Perhapsthe reason behind Goethe’s work was to criticize Christianity. Thebride never found any peace in her grave because she was buried by aChristian family. It would be until the mother of the girl agreed tobury her in pagan, would she rest in peace and no longer harm all theyoung men (Sharpe 42).This shows that Christianity was not acceptableand that it caused more harm in the society. The bride died becauseof her mother’s condemnation, and her man also followed suit forsleeping with a dead woman buried in Christian’s grave (Wachtel46).It would have turned out to be more disastrous if the girl wasallowed to remain in the Christian grave. A critical look at the workof Goethe in the ‘Bride of Corinth’ reveals that he was not infavor of the Christians’ ways of life. He is trying to tell hisaudiences indirectly that they should not adopt Christianity as a wayof life.


Boyle,Nicholas. Revolutionand Renunciation: 1790-1803.Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003. Print.

Goethe,Johann. TheBride of Corinth and Other Poems.Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Pub, 2004. Print.

Krivak,Kathleen M. JohnKeats`s Lamia and Goethe`s &quotthe Bride of Corinth&quot / by., 1988. Print.

Sharpe,Lesley. TheCambridge Companion to Goethe.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

Wachtel,Michael. RussianSymbolism and Literary Tradition: Goethe, Novalis, and the Poetics ofVyacheslav Ivanov.Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. Print.