Literature and film constantly warn the public of various valuess and consquences. Oftentimes, these it is taught that greed is wrong. It is for that reason that Goethe, Tolstoy and Ramis created their works. Goethe’s Faustm Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need- and Ramis’ film “Bedazzled- all show us the unappealing effects of choosing evil over good.
Goethe’s Faust does not contain such a bargain with the Devil. Instead, it has two wagers. The Lord bets Mephistopheles that he won’t be able to make Faust deviate from “the appointed course,” and Faust bets Mephistopheles that he won’t be able to make any moment so pleasurable that Faust will cry out for time to stop. Thus, the bet between Faust and Mephistopheles concerns fulfillment. If Faust is ever tempted to stop reaching for something new, he will forfeit his soul. But he doesn’t lose it, because he is never satisfied, emotionally, spiritually, or intellectually.
In Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does A Man Need?,” he tells the story of a plain farmer who is done in by his own greed. In the short story, the Bashkir chief tells Pakhom that he can have all of the land he can walk upon if he can cover it in one day. The chief of the Bashkirs warns Pakhom that he must return before sundown, or he will involuntarily give up the land that he walked and the money he gave for the land. Pakhom’s mind ponders all the wealth he can accumulate just by walking. In this literary masterpiece, Tolstoy uses Pakhom’s quest to warn the reader that reaching for too much can result in loss of everything. Pakhom realizes, too late, though, that he should not have been so greedy. .
Tolstoy used symbolism in his stories to teach lessons and to convey messages. Tolstoy uses Pahom’s race against the sun to symbolize Pahom’s race against time and the race for his life. The lower the sun gets on the horizon; the symbolism that Tolstoy uses creates a sense of urgency and panic.