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571 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust

“Faust” is a tragic play that explores the pursuit of knowledge, the human condition, and the struggle between good and evil.



"Faust" is a masterpiece by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, divided into two parts. It tells the story of Faust, a scholar who makes a pact with the devil, Mephistopheles, in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The play delves into the human desire for knowledge, power, and fulfillment, and the moral dilemmas faced by Faust throughout his life. Faust experiences both the heights of achievement and the depths of despair as he grapples with the consequences of his choices. Through the character of Faust, Goethe explores themes of ambition, love, redemption, and the complexities of human nature. The play is a profound examination of the human condition, posing philosophical and ethical questions that continue to resonate with readers today.


  1. Title: Faust 
  2. Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 
  3. Publishing Year: 1808 
  4. Publisher: Cotta 
  5. Length in Hours: 3 hrs and 58 mins


5 main ideas

  1. The Quest for Knowledge: "Faust" portrays the human desire for knowledge and the pursuit of intellectual enlightenment, as Faust sells his soul in his quest for unlimited knowledge and understanding.
  2. The Human Condition: The play explores the complexities and contradictions of human nature, with Faust representing the universal struggle between the noble and base aspects of humanity.
  3. Redemption and Salvation: Faust seeks redemption and spiritual salvation, grappling with his past choices and seeking meaning and purpose in his life.
  4. The Temptation of Worldly Pleasures: Mephistopheles tempts Faust with worldly pleasures and experiences, leading him down a path of hedonism and moral compromise.
  5. The Power of Love: Love emerges as a transformative force in the play, offering Faust glimpses of happiness and redemption through his relationship with Gretchen.

5 funny quotes

  1. "The treasure that you've laid up in your youth will give you the greatest pleasure in your old age."
  2. "What you possess in the present, that is the richest gift of all."
  3. "The point is, to make a difference with what you've got."
  4. "Let each man cultivate his own garden, and see that his joys have a satisfying duration."
  5. "When we can't have what we like, we must like what we have."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast, and each will wrestle for the mastery there."
  2. "What is thy name? I know not; yet thy heart is warm, and that alone allows me to commend thee."
  3. "Gladly would I go to hell, that I might return a better man."
  4. "Whoever strives, with all his might, we can redeem from the powers of night."
  5. "The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden."

5 dilemmas

  1. The Dilemma of Knowledge vs. Morality: Faust is torn between his insatiable thirst for knowledge and his moral compass. He must grapple with the consequences of his actions and the ethical implications of pursuing his desires without considering the well-being of others.
  2. The Dilemma of Individualism vs. Conformity: Faust struggles with the tension between his desire for individual freedom and the pressures to conform to societal norms. He must decide whether to pursue his own path, even if it means going against the expectations and conventions of society.
  3. The Dilemma of Good vs. Evil: Mephistopheles presents Faust with the dilemma of choosing between good and evil. Faust is tempted by the promises of power, pleasure, and worldly success, but he must confront the moral consequences of his decisions.
  4. The Dilemma of Love and Responsibility: Faust's love for Gretchen raises the dilemma of personal desires versus responsibilities. He must grapple with the consequences of his actions on Gretchen's life and the conflict between his own desires and the well-being of those he loves.
  5. The Dilemma of Redemption and Forgiveness: Faust seeks redemption and the possibility of salvation. He must confront the dilemma of whether true redemption is possible and whether he can be forgiven for his past actions.

5 examples

  1. Faust: The central character of the play, Faust, is a scholar who enters into a pact with the devil, Mephistopheles, in his quest for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.
  2. Mephistopheles: Mephistopheles is a key character in the play, representing the devil or a demonic figure who tempts Faust and guides him through his journey.
  3. Gretchen: Gretchen, also known as Margarete, is a young woman who becomes the object of Faust's love. Her tragic story highlights the consequences of Faust's actions and the clash between idealized love and social conventions.
  4. The Emperor: The Emperor represents the political and social power that Faust encounters during his journey. Faust assists the Emperor with his ambitious projects, reflecting the struggle for power and influence.
  5. Wagner: Wagner is Faust's loyal and obedient assistant, representing the contrast between Faust's restless pursuit of knowledge and Wagner's more conventional approach to learning.

Referenced books

  1. "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri
  2. "Paradise Lost" by John Milton
  3. "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe
  4. "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare
  5. "Prometheus Bound" by Aeschylus

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"What you possess in the present, that is the richest gift of all."

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