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Don Giovanni and Enlightenment - Term Paper Example

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Don Giovanni and Enlightenment

The character of Don Giovanni gives voice to two contrasting attributes of enlightenment. On is the enlightenment notion of liberty. Don Giovanni in his acts shockingly refutes all the norms and values of society, state, decency and religion (Clive 30). In that sense, Don Giovanni stands to be an Enlightenment anti-hero who mocks at the norms set by the society and the church, to live a life of true liberty. Thus, no doubt, Don Giovanni may be said to be devilish in the sense that he brings the humanity to face the truths that hide deep down in the recesses of the dark side of human personality, and are ordinarily too difficult to be faced owing to the pressures and constraints put in place by the state, society and religion (Clive 30). Yet, at the same time while tending to be the true proponent of the idea of liberty that constituted the bedrock of Enlightenment, Don Giovanni is also a harbinger of disruption in all the spheres of life existing around him, be it moral, political or legal (Clive 44). While he aspires to live a liberated life, he puts to risk the liberty of others around him, which happened to be a side effect of Enlightenment. The sexual hunger of Don Giovanni makes him blatantly mock the vows of love and marriage, put at risk time honored bonds and relationships, and disturb the social distinctions that to some extent held the society together. No doubt, Don Giovanni qualifies to be a true Enlightenment hero who is committed to live a liberated life, thereby giving way to a creative disturbance that shakes the foundations of old norms, values and ethics on the altar of reason (Clive 45). One essential aspect of Don Giovanni’s personality that attracts the attention of audience is his commitment to live a socially and ethically liberated life while setting aside all fear, either human or heavenly (Steptoe 243). In the final part of Act 1, when the five characters those are Masetto, Zerlina, Elvira, Anna and Ottavio try to scare him to repentance by hinting at the heavenly vengeance, his carefree reply is “My courage shall not fail me, though the powers of hell assail me (Mozart: CD)”. Not to mention the end of Act II, when Don Giovanni vows to never to be scared to repentance, even if it amounted to burning in the everlasting fires of hell. The thing to be noted is that in the plot of this opera, Don Giovanni is not left at a dead end, but the destiny allows him a chance to repent and go to heaven instead of hell. Yet, in the true spirit of Enlightenment, Don Giovanni chooses to live a life on his own terms, rather than bowing before the constraints of the society. Hence, Don Giovanni turns out to be a true Enlightenment rebel hero. In this opera, the music by Mozart also highlights Don Giovanni as a happy and confident person who is free of all superficial constraints and superstitions. The music depicts Giovanni as a person who is totally unapologetic about his love for women and bodily exploits (Mozart: CD). The music attributed by Mozart to Don Giovanni is fast paced, celebratory and energetic (Mozart: CD). It goes without saying that the music also has a tinge of sadness, perhaps because it tends to convey to the audience the distance between Don Giovanni and society and its traditions and the inevitable fate of those who decide to live life on their own terms (Mozart: CD). There is no denying the fact that it is the opening bars of the finale that most suits the ...Show more


Name of the of the Concerned Professor Music 2 March 2012 Don Giovanni and Enlightenment Don Giovanni is a two act Opera with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Simply speaking, a comic opera portraying the excesses of a serial seducer seems to be the most unlikely creation to trace the essentials of the Age of Enlightenment…
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Don Giovanni and Enlightenment essay example
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