Course Hero. "Steppenwolf Study Guide." Course Hero. 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 20 Aug. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Steppenwolf/>.
Course Hero. (2018, March 22). Steppenwolf Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 20, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Steppenwolf/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "Steppenwolf Study Guide." March 22, 2018. Accessed August 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Steppenwolf/.
Course Hero, "Steppenwolf Study Guide," March 22, 2018, accessed August 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Steppenwolf/.
Haller describes his own nature as intense and passionate. More than anything, he dislikes living a life of tame emotions such as contentment. He would rather experience extreme depression, for example, than mild happiness.
Haller thinks nostalgically of the happier times of his youth but is convinced he will never experience this kind of carefree happiness again.
The self, in this context, is the persona a person adopts to fit into the world around them. When they are true to their innermost nature, however, this persona can crumble, leaving them outside the bounds of society.
The writer of the "Treatise on the Steppenwolf" expresses Haller is far more than just man and wolf. Haller has an infinite number of selves he has never explored.
Goethe, an immortal, cautions Haller against taking too grim a view on life. Haller expects and finds misery wherever he turns, including in Goethe's writing, even though Goethe himself supported an optimistic view on life.
While Hermine sets a playful tone with Haller, she is utterly serious in her intent. She is about to challenge Haller to fall in love with her and then kill her, a gruesome task she says he must obey.
Hermine often encourages Haller to indulge in the pleasures of life he has long denied himself, either through a sense of propriety or judgment or through a feeling of low self-esteem. While Haller may protest that he is an old man, Hermine reminds him there is plenty of life left in him and he should live it fully.
And suddenly I heard this fathomless laughter around me. I heard the immortals laughing.
After a deep conversation with Hermine about the meaning of life, Haller has a moment of clarity about the immortals. They laugh with lighthearted joy because they have passed through the pains of life. This insight helps him better understand his own quest to become an immortal and achieve a state of divine consciousness.
TONIGHT AT THE MAGIC THEATER / FOR MADMEN ONLY / PRICE OF ADMITTANCE YOUR MIND.
Haller reads these words on his coat-check card. In order to enter the Magic Theater he must be willing to give up the fixed ideas of his mind and to examine parts of himself he has ignored or suppressed. This message hints Haller's old mindset will be shattered; his mind will not be the same again after admittance.
I was myself no longer. My personality was dissolved in the intoxication of the festivity.
Haller finally releases his worries and judgments and throws himself with relish into enjoying the music, dancing, and simply being alive. In doing so he achieves a transcendent state of bliss and of "being in the now" in which his perceived personality doesn't matter.
While these words may sound like a heavenly invitation, what Haller the Steppenwolf seeks is actually his own destruction and death. His experiences in the Magic Theater thus become a hell of danger, blood, and violence. Haller also seeks love, as seen in the room, "ALL GIRLS ARE YOURS."
You may yourself as an artist develop the game of your life and lend it animation.
The chess player explains to Haller how to order the various pieces of his life in order to play out countless scenarios. It is up to the player to determine how the game (life) will unfold.
This Magic Theater was clearly no paradise. All hell lay beneath its charming surface.
After seeing his two prominent personas (man and wolf) square off in a disturbing, bloody scenario, Haller realizes the Magic Theater encompasses all aspects of life, not just the pleasant ones.
Mozart mocks and reprimands Haller because he is so willing to commit suicide or be executed, yet he shrinks from the painful and confusing work of self-examination and personal change.
Haller has gained an understanding of how he is responsible for directing his own life through the power of his mind and the choices he makes. He sets his intention to improve at this game of life rather than to further contemplate escape via suicide.