Role of Sabeth

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Roleof Sabeth

HomoFaber is a Max Frisch’s novel first published in 1957. The Englishversion was published in 1959. Walter Faber the protagonist is anengineer who travels across Europe as well as America. The othercharacters within the novel include Sabeth, Hanna Piper, Ivy, HerbertHenke, and Joachim Henke. This paper will look to explore sabeth’scharacter and her role within the novel. This entails outlining allaspects Sabeth helps bring out within the novel. For instance, thethemes she helps bring out among other features of literature.However, before elaborating on the role of Sabeth, it is important tosummarize what the novel contains.


Inthe novel, Walter Faber meets with Hanna who is an art student in the1930s and the two become lovers. Faber proposes to marry Hanna afterimpregnating her, but she hesitates. Later Faber is offered a job inBaghdad which he accepts and moves out. Hanna would later abort underthe care of Joachim, Faber’s friend. In the year 1957, as Faber wasflying to Mexico, the plane makes an emergency landing and hecoincidentally meets Joachim’s brother Herbert. The two head toJoachim’s plantation only to find he had hanged himself. Faberwould then move to New York where he comes across Ivy his marriedmistress. Faber would initiate an unplanned flight to Europe to evadeIvy. As he was journeying, he meets Sabeth, a young beautiful womanand completely falls in love with her. He would later propose toSabeth but the she seemed to have a partner. The two would again meetin Paris and they began having sexual relationship. Faber asks thewhereabouts of Sabeth’s mother. He thought Hanna had aborted whichwas not the case. To make matters worse, Sabeth was their daughter.The story continues as Sabeth is bitten by a poisonous snake andlater dies in the hospital. Due to the enormous grief, Faber isstricken by stomach cancer. He would later find redemption in Hanna[ CITATION Max l 1033 ].


Elizabethor Sabeth is the daughter of Hanna who Walter thought she hadaborted. When Walter moved out to Baghdad, Hanna was left under thecare of Joachim. Sabeth then grows up knowing Joachim was her realfather. Hanna does not enlighten Sabeth on who her real father was.At the age of 20, she bumps into her father. They have a sexualrelationship without the knowledge they were related. Born inSwitzerland, she was fluent in English, French, and German [ CITATION Max l 1033 ].


Inaccordance to the novel, Sabeth seems to like fun. Having fun inships, visiting places among other things. For example, when Walterfirst meets her, she was in a boat in the company of another youngman. This aspect is further exemplified when Walter and Sebeth meetand she accepts to tour different cities in the company of Walter.She clearly likes having fun in different ways, mostly in the companyof able men [ CITATION Gra16 l 1033 ].

Sabethtends to like art. While they were touring different cities, shevisited almost all museums, monastery and monument. She liked andappreciated art much to the annoyance of Walter who disliked art.Additionally, Sebeth tends to tread with older persons for he r ownbenefit. At the age of 20, she had an intimate relationship withWalter who was much older. This facet does not depict Sebeth as anice or rather straight person in terms of relationship matters. Inaddition to that, nothing much is said about the young man who was inher company prior to meeting with Walter [ CITATION Gra16 l 1033 ].

Rolesof Sebeth in the novel

Amongthe various roles attributed to Sebeth, emanation of themes tend tobe the most vital ones. In other words, Sebeth helps in realizationof various themes within the novel. The themes include coincidenceversus fate, guilt and innocence, art, and death among others.

Coincidenceand fate are clearly elaborated by Sebeth and Walter. After Waltergets a job in Baghdad, he moves on thinking Hanna had aborted theirchild. Almost 20 years later the two coincidentally meet and relatelike lovers. Their meeting can be considered as fate. Probably theywere destined to meet even after so many years. Though Hanna thoughtshe would hide Sebeth away from Walter, fate has other ideas [ CITATION Gra16 l 1033 ].

Guiltand innocence are another theme that Sebeth helps bring out. Havingthought Joachim was his real father, Sebeth had no worries inrelating with Walter. The two were completely innocent since they didnot know each other. However, after Walter realized she was indeedhis daughter, he feels guilty. The guilt is built much further whenhe realizes his days are numbered. If only he had done thingsdifferently, probably Hanna and sabeth could be dwelling a happylife. Due to Sabeth’s role within the novel, this theme is clearlyillustrated [ CITATION Gra16 l 1033 ].

Artis an important feature in life. The various forms of art are quiteinfluential in people’s lives. In that regard, Sebeth seems to likeart so much. She finds solace in art. Walter’s inability to see thevalue of art is exemplified even in his life. Sebeth posed a relaxedfigure appreciating various things in life. However, Walter had nosense of direction, always moving from place with no certainidentity. After the death of Sebeth, Walter is able to see theessence of art. He now knows how to appreciate various aspects oflife that could be linked to art. He now has a sense of identity [ CITATION Gra16 l 1033 ].

Deathis paramount to every living being. Walter feared death and could notstay in hospital much to be treated. He had stomach problems andsometimes the doctors advised him to stay in the hospital to bemonitored effectively. However, his fear made him to decline theplea. The behavior changed after Sebeth death. In that respect,Sabeth’s death could be regarded as a changing point for Walter. Hewas more comfortable and accepted the fact that death is inevitable[ CITATION Gra16 l 1033 ].


Thenovel Homo Faber is mainly about Walter Faber’s adventures. Movingfrom place to place he lacks identity and direction. Due to thismovements he never had the opportunity of seeing his daughter Sebethgrow. As portrayed in the novel, Sebeth helps bring out severalthemes. Though her character is quite confusing i.e. in terms ofrelations with men, she clearly draws several vital themes. Theyinclude, fate versus coincidence, death, art and guilt and innocence.Her role is quite vital in drawing the stated themes. She also helpsrealize the need to relate well within families to avoid arisingissues. Parents ought to know their kids to avoid embarrassingmoments like having intimate relations. Her role in the novel,typifies the current life whereby children are born out of wedlockand most do not know their parents especially fathers. Suchhappenings can be detrimental to the values embodied in the society.


Frisch, M. (1959). Homo Faber.

GradeSaver. (2016). Homo Faber Themes. Retrieved from Homo Faber Themes: