4 March 2015
Apollonian vs. Dionysian Spirits
Narcissus and Goldmund
, the novel by Hermann Hesse contains a distinct cyclical structure that is contributed to through characters, themes, ideas, times, and places. One theme that contributes to the distinct cyclical structure in the novel is the theory of Apollonian vs Dionysian spirit. The Apollonian is based on reason and logical thinking, and by contrast, the Dionysian is based on chaos and appeals to the emotions and instincts. The main characters in the novel, Goldmund, an artist and a wanderer, and Narcissus, the structured and stable priestmonk, differ to some degree as
Goldmund is of endeavour while Narcissus is of Apollonian approach.
Goldmund, the artist and wanderer, once thought he wanted to be a scholar, and was really hungry for learning. His best friend Narcissus helped him discover his true cause of living, his destiny, which was not to become a monk. With Narcissus’s help,
Golmund sets off for the outside world to live a wanderer’s life. He let his mother guide him, and he had no destination nor cause for live. In his journey, Goldmund experiences a lot of things that he could not back at the cloister including making love to women, something he not long ago thought of as a sin. Goldmund did not regret a single day of his life after he left the cloister, not even when he was almost killed for sleeping with the mistress of the mayor. Goldmund’s life after the cloister was filled with chaos, such as
when murders, and stealing, and he also did not once think about what he was doing, all his actions were based on instincts such as when he discovered a beautiful carved
Madonna in a church and decides to find the artist and become like him. Goldmund did not think about his decision, but rather acted upon his first instinct. Goldmund’s life after his cloister life was all Dionysian based as oppose to the life of Narcissus.
Narcissus, the structured and and stable priestmonk, lived his life in a completely different approach…