Individualism In The Enlightenment Age

1112 Words5 Pages
The Enlightenment was an attempt to submerge the Jews into the German culture. It was created with the intent of allowing Jews to become socially and stereotypically accepted into society. As a form of pity many author of the Enlightenment era similar to Lessing, argued that the Jews could become proper members of society. By describing the language, physical appearance, religion, and living styles of the Jewish race, Wagner found a way to destroy the progress and hope formed by the Enlightenment.
With respect to the Enlightenment, a Jew can be seen as a human before being judged as a product of religion or race. The Jew is allowed to benefit from an integrated society, if they try to assimilate into the culture and language, but after the enlightenment a new belief arose. This was the idea that the Jew’s essence cannot be masked by the humanistic views of the Germans. It was Wagner’s main concern that the Jew was going to multiply and begin to overpower the superior race. “In such a situation have we seen the Jews give birth to Thinkers: the Thinker is the backward-looking poet: but the true Poet is the foretelling Prophet.” (Judaism in Music page 88) By instilling the fear of losing superiority, Wagner is trying to gain support from those who want to want to keep the Jews from gaining more success. Lessing’s ‘Nathan the Wise’ showed the possibilities of a Jew who became successful by removing himself from others of the Jewish religion. He wanted the reader to see that one man could become a successful and respected member of society if he kept he didn’t practice his religion bluntly. “His people have called him ‘the wise’ and also ‘the rich’…Its true he’s the kind of Jew you don’t see very often. He’s reasonable. He knows how to live.” (Nathan the Wise pages. 50-51). Although there are still many negative qualities associated with Nathan, he has gained the loyalty and respect of the other religious rulers in this area. For Nathan knew the many aspects of how to present his identity to the public. In the text, he was never with other Jews, but they knew who he was; and he also did not practice the rules of his religion. While Nathan did argue for the Jews, he also argued that all of the religions were the
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