Hermann Hesse’s novel Der Steppenwolf (1927) tells the story of Harry Haller, a misanthropic “wolf of the steppes” who sees himself as possessing both the souls of a human and a wolf. One night, as Haller is prowling the streets of the town, he sees a door on an old stone wall with the inscription:
Eintritt nicht für jedermann
- Nicht für jedermann
The Magische Theater acts as a vehicle for Harry Haller’s dynamics of self-discovery, resulting in the reconstruction of his identity and helps him come to terms with his inner turmoil through the Nietzschean concept of Dionysian self-excess.
In contrast to this, we also have the Jungian view of a more concentric play of archetypal reflections of the Self. The Magische Theater reproduces certain structures of Jung’s model of the psyche.
Haller enters the theatre at the centre of his psyche (Self), passes through its doors (archetypes), which lead to complexes within him, thereby enabling him to experience unconscious facets of his personality and undergo the process of individuation on a trajectory of eccentric self-excess.