Michael Krams Vignettes & Theorems

Michael Krams
The seventh bullet – or the legal framework of heavenly redemption

Incompetence stinks – but of what: Heaven or Hell?

In romantic opera, incompetent marksmen forfeit their soul to the devil and then go off to cast magic bullets, to never miss their target again. In Der Freisch├╝tz (Carl Maria von Weber, premiered in Berlin 1821) Max gets seven shots. The price of firing the seventh bullet is his soul.

Goethe’s variation on the theme (1832) has the devil go out empty handed, when Faust is redeemed in the end (“Wer immer strebend sich bemueht, den koennen wir erloesen”), and in Der Freisch├╝tz it is Kaspar who dies, not the incompetent Max.

What is wrong with the legal framework of German Romanticism?

An alternative approach: The scene of Russian Roulette in “Deerhunter” (1978), where the bullet finds its target, after he finally finds his friend.

P.S.: There is an additional twist to the absurdity of this legal framework: a necessary condition for redemption is to be human (Giora pointed this out to me today). Redemption? Of course, but not for the poor devil, who loses out twice.

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