Faust

Faust

Heinrich Faust Character Analysis

The intelligent, learned, and nature-loving Faust begins the drama as a scholar bitterly dissatisfied with the limitations of human knowledge. He wants to be nothing less than a god, and he knows that his books cannot help him to this end. In his despair, he makes a deal with the devil Mephistopheles, who promises to serve him by means of black magic on one condition: if Faust ever yields himself to idle pleasures and sloth—if he ever spiritually stagnates—the devil wins the man’s immortal soul. Faust agrees, and with Mephistopheles at his disposal he undertakes a lifelong quest for meaning and transcendence. But Faust is essentially restless and never satisfied. His love affair with Margarete brings him only fleeting joy, and results in Margarete’s tragic downfall and death. His marriage to the Classical Greek ideal of beauty, Helen of Troy, likewise leads to tragedy in the death of Faust and Helen’s son, Euphorion. After these failures to attain to lofty ideals of love and beauty, Faust learns to accept his limitations and turns his efforts to the earth, becoming a generally just but also rather severe ruler of a seaside kingdom. He also grows increasingly resistant to Mephistopheles, and, in his final hours, resolves to renounce magic and create a Utopian kingdom with justice, prosperity, and love for all. Faust never does spiritually stagnate and so his soul is ultimately saved. In heaven, it follows Margarete’s soul into the higher spheres of divine love.

Heinrich Faust Quotes in Faust

The Faust quotes below are all either spoken by Heinrich Faust or refer to Heinrich Faust. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Princeton University Press edition of Faust published in 2014.
Part 1: Night (Faust’s Study 1) Quotes

I’ve studied now, to my regret,
Philosophy, Law, Medicine,
and—what is worst—Theology
from end to end with diligence.
Yet here I am, a wretched fool
and still no wiser than before.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker)
Page Number: 354-359
Explanation and Analysis:

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No dog would want to linger on like this!
That is why I’ve turned to magic,
in hope that with the help of spirit-power
I might solve many mysteries,
so that I need no longer toil and sweat
to speak of what I do not know,
can learn what, deep within it,
binds the universe together,
may contemplate all seminal forces—
and be done with peddling empty words.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker)
Page Number: 376-385
Explanation and Analysis:

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How all things interweave as one
and work and live each in the other!

How grand a show! But still, alas! mere show.
Infinite Nature, when can I lay hold of you
and of your breasts?

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker)
Related Symbols: Nature and the Earth Spirit
Page Number: 447-456
Explanation and Analysis:

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Is parchment then the sacred fount,
and does one drink from it forever to slake our thirst?
There’s nothing you can gain refreshment from
except what has its source in your own soul.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker), Wagner
Page Number: 566-569
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1: Outside the City Gate Quotes

Alas! it is so hard to find corporeal wings
that match those of the human mind.
Yet in all of us there is an innate urge
to rise aloft and soar along
when, lost in the blue space above us,
the lark pours forth its vibrant song,
when high above fir-covered crags
the eagle floats on outspread wing,
and when above the plains and lakes
the crane seeks out its native place.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker), Wagner
Related Symbols: Nature and the Earth Spirit
Page Number: 1090-1099
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1: Faust’s Study 2 Quotes

My spirit prompts me, now I see a solution
and boldly write: “In the beginning was the Act.”

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker)
Page Number: 1236-1237
Explanation and Analysis:

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[I am] a part of that force
which, always willing evil, always produces good.

Related Characters: Mephistopheles (speaker), Heinrich Faust
Page Number: 1335-1336
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1: Faust’s Study 3 Quotes

Take my word for it, anyone who thinks too much
is like an animal that in a barren heath
some evil spirit drives around in circles
while all about lie fine green pastures.

Related Characters: Mephistopheles (speaker), Heinrich Faust
Page Number: 1830-1833
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1: Auerbach’s Wine-Cellar in Leipzig Quotes

Simple folk never sense the devil’s presence,
not even when his hands are on their throats.

Related Characters: Mephistopheles (speaker), Heinrich Faust, Frosch, Brander, Siebel, Altmayer
Page Number: 2181-2182
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1: A Garden Quotes

Don’t be afraid! Look in my eyes,
let them and let these hands that now clasp yours
express what tongue can never say:
complete devotion and a sense of bliss
that must endure eternally!
Eternally!—Its end would be despair.
There must not be an end! Not ever!

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker), Margarete/A Penitent
Page Number: 3188-3194
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1: Gretchen’s Room Quotes

My heart is heavy,
all peace is gone,
I’ll never find it,
never, again.
My breast is yearning
to be with him;
could I but clasp
and hold him tight,
and kiss him
as my heart desires,
under his kisses
I’d swoon and die!

Related Characters: Margarete/A Penitent (speaker), Heinrich Faust
Page Number: 3402-3413
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2: Act 1: An Imperial Palace: A Dark Gallery Quotes

You are the father of all mystagogues
who ever cheated docile neophytes,
but you reverse their method—send me to a void
for higher wisdom and for greater powers.
You’re making me the cat whose task it is
to pull your chestnuts from the fire.
But do not stop! Let’s probe the matter fully,
since in your Nothingness I hope to find my All.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker), Mephistopheles
Page Number: 6249-6256
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2: Act 1: An Imperial Palace: Knight’s Hall Quotes

Does some more inward sense than sight perceive
the overflowing fountainhead of beauty?
My dread ordeal is gloriously rewarded.
How circumscribed and empty was my world before!
Now, with this priesthood, it at last becomes
desirable and has a lasting basis.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker), Helen of Troy
Page Number: 6487-6492
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2: Act 5: Faust’s Palace (Before the Palace) Quotes

The worst of torments we can suffer
is to feel want when we are rich.
The tinkling bell, the lindens’ scent,
make me feel buried in a crypt.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker), Baucis and Philemon
Page Number: 11,251-11,254
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2: Act 5: Faust’s Palace (The Large Outer Courtyard) Quotes

If only I might see that people’s teeming life,
share their autonomy on unencumbered soil;
then, to the moment, I could say:
tarry a while, you are so fair—
the traces of my days on earth
will survive into eternity!—
Envisioning those heights of happiness,
I now enjoy my highest moment.

Related Characters: Heinrich Faust (speaker)
Page Number: 11,579-11,586
Explanation and Analysis:

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Heinrich Faust Character Timeline in Faust

The timeline below shows where the character Heinrich Faust appears in Faust. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue in Heaven
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
...devil himself, is reluctant to antagonize them. The Lord asks if Mephistopheles is familiar with Faust, a doctor and the Lord’s faithful servant. Mephistopheles knows him to be a man who... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Mephistopheles proposes a bet: that the Lord will lose Faust to temptation and sin if He permits the devil to gently guide the man. The... (full context)
Part 1: Night (Faust’s Study 1)
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
The scholar Faust sits restlessly at his desk in his narrow, high-ceilinged Gothic study. He regrets having studied... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
As much as Faust wants to roam in the moonlight and rejuvenate himself by doing so, he is still... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Faust opens Nostradamus’ book to the sign of the Macrocosm: the whole universe in its harmonious... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Angrily Faust turns the pages of the book until he comes to the sign of the Earth... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
...moon hides, and the lamp’s flame vanishes. Mists arise and beams of red flash about. Faust feels a dreadful chill, and senses that the Spirit he was praying to has come.... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Faust turns away in fear. The Earth Spirit wonders whether the frightful worm now in his... (full context)
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
Politics Theme Icon
There is a knocking at the study door. Faust curses at being interrupted during his happiest moment of most plentiful visions. Faust opens the... (full context)
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
Faust disparages the pretty speeches that Wagner admires, and the two begin debating the values of... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
It is getting late, and Faust proposes that the two stop their debate for now. Wagner would have liked to stay... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
Alone, Faust thinks about how greedy for superficialities Wagner is, and resents him for knocking when he,... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
Faust despairs of ever being godlike, cramped as he is by countless useless things. He addresses... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Suddenly, Faust’s eye is caught by a vial in his possession that contains a poisonous extract. The... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
Right as Faust prepares to drink, however, he hears church bells and a choir of angels, women, and... (full context)
Part 1: Outside the City Gate
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Faust and Wagner enter the scene. Faust observes that the rivers and brooks are thawing as... (full context)
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
An old peasant comes upon Faust and Wagner. He tells Faust that it is good of him to be out and... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Faust and Wagner resume their walk. Wagner is impressed by how much the villagers respect Faust.... (full context)
Reason and Passion Theme Icon
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
Wagner wonders how Faust can be disturbed at all by his father’s actions, seeing as how he was only... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Faust retorts that Wagner only knows one desire, whereas he himself has two souls at once:... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Faust sees something that holds his interest: a black dog. Wagner says he saw the dog... (full context)
Part 1: Faust’s Study 2
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Faust enters his study with the poodle, feeling that his better soul has been awakened by... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Intellectualism and the Value of Words Theme Icon
Faust resolves to translate the New Testament, specifically the Gospel of John, out of its original... (full context)
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The poodle begins barking and Faust invites it out of the study, only for the animal to transform into a large... (full context)
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...kind of religious cleric. He had been hiding in the poodle all along. Mephistopheles congratulates Faust on his learnedness, for the scholar had made the devil sweat indeed. Faust asks the... (full context)
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Faust says he understands: since the devil can’t destroy everything at once, he must settle for... (full context)
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...drawn, and didn’t notice it as a poodle, but he is now imprisoned by it. Faust is pleased by this surprising triumph. When asked why he can’t just leave by another... (full context)
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Faust thinks a devil in hand, however, is well worth keeping, and Mephistopheles trapped himself, after... (full context)
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At last Mephistopheles dismisses the choir of spirits he has summoned, for Faust has fallen to sleep. This scholar is not yet the man, the devil says, to... (full context)
Part 1: Faust’s Study 3
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Faust is in his study when he hears a knock at the door: it is Mephistopheles... (full context)
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Mephistopheles asks Faust why he didn’t drink the poison on that Easter night then. Faust explains the effect... (full context)
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Mephistopheles starts talking business: he offers to become Faust’s companion and guide through life, his servant and his slave, at the man’s beck and... (full context)
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Faust suspects that Mephistopheles intends to deceive him, however, to give him food that cannot satisfy,... (full context)
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For insurance, Mephistopheles also requires that the agreement be sealed in writing. Faust scoffs at this pedantic formality, and thinks his word of honor should suffice, but at... (full context)
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Faust looks forward to giving up his search for knowledge and welcoming instead pain and suffering... (full context)
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Faust hears one of his students in the hallway, but he feels that he cannot face... (full context)
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The student enters the study. Mephistopheles, pretending to be Faust himself, welcomes him. The student says he is committed to learning, but doesn’t like being... (full context)
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Faust enters and asks where he and Mephistopheles will go first. Wherever you please, the devil... (full context)
Part 1: Auerbach’s Wine-Cellar in Leipzig
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Faust and Mephistopheles enter the wine-cellar. The devil intends to first introduce his master to partying... (full context)
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...notion, that is, until the devil offers to bring up some bottles from his and Faust’s private cellar, a plan all heartily approve of. Mephistopheles requests an auger, a drill-like tool,... (full context)
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Faust tells Mephistopheles that he wishes to go, but the devil says they must wait to... (full context)
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...really one another’s noses. Mephistopheles chants a counter-charm, removing the spell, then immediately disappears with Faust. (full context)
Part 1: Witch’s Kitchen
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Faust and Mephistopheles enter a vaporous, grotesque witch’s kitchen where a female ape tends to a... (full context)
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While Mephistopheles inquires about various utensils on the walls, Faust is gazing into a magic mirror in which he sees the beautiful form of a... (full context)
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...berates the ape for forgetting the kettle and scorching her mistress. Then the witch sees Faust and Mephistopheles and threatens to torment their bones with fire. In response, Mephistopheles joyfully shatters... (full context)
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...batch she has, for every year doubles its potency. She happily obliges, but warns that Faust must prepare himself before drinking it, or else he will die within the hour. With... (full context)
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Mephistopheles shoves Faust into the circle, and the witch bombastically reads several numerological paradoxes from her book—saying that... (full context)
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...that that’s enough, and to fill the goblet. She does so and gives it to Faust, who begins to drink until a slight flame rises from the cup. The devil urges... (full context)
Part 1: Street
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Later, in a street, Faust walks past a lovely young woman, Margarete. He takes her by the arm and offers... (full context)
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Mephistopheles enters, and Faust demands that the devil get him that girl. The devil says that she is returning... (full context)
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Mephistopheles tells Faust to be practical: it’ll take at least two weeks to coordinate the affair. Faust responds... (full context)
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Faust narrows his ambitions, and asks for a mere souvenir of the girl, a handkerchief from... (full context)
Part 1: Evening
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...the debonair, noble gentleman she met earlier in the day, who was none other than Faust. When she exits her room, Mephistopheles and Faust enter, the former snooping about. Faust, enraptured,... (full context)
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Mephistopheles warns that Margarete is returning, so he and Faust must leave. He presents his love-struck master with a little casket of treasures and tells... (full context)
Part 1: Promenade
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Faust walks back and forth, preoccupied, while Mephistopheles swears vehemently. Faust asks what’s ailing the devil,... (full context)
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Faust inquires about Margarete, here referred to as Gretchen. Mephistopheles says she is grieving about the... (full context)
Part 1: A Street
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Faust wants to know how things stand with Margarete. Mephistopheles applauds his passion and tells him... (full context)
Part 1: A Garden
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It is the same evening, and Faust and Mephistopheles are in Martha’s garden. Martha and Mephistopheles walk together, and Margarete is on... (full context)
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As they enjoy one another’s company, Margarete tells Faust about her and her fussy mother’s modest household. Because they don’t have a maid, Margarete... (full context)
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Faust and Margarete are deep in conversation. Faust asks if she really recognized him when he... (full context)
Part 1: A Summerhouse
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Faust and Margarete run from Martha’s garden to a summerhouse. Here, the girl warns her lover... (full context)
Part 1: Forest and Cave
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Faust enters the wilderness alone and addresses a sublime Spirit, presumably the Earth Spirit, the one... (full context)
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Mephistopheles enters. He urges Faust to enjoy this life of wild solitude but then to move onto something else afterward.... (full context)
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Mephistopheles denounces Faust as a hypocrite for being so modest. He goes on to tell Faust that Margarete... (full context)
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Mephistopheles warns Faust that Margarete thinks he has run away, and adds that for all intents and purposes... (full context)
Part 1: Gretchen’s Room
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...her never to be found, and how upset she is. All her thoughts fall to Faust: his poise, nobility, and fascinating words. Were he to kiss her now, she says, she’d... (full context)
Part 1: Martha’s Garden
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Margarete and Faust enter Martha’s garden together. Margarete wants to know her lover’s religion, but he hushes her.... (full context)
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There’s a hitch, however, for Margarete. Faust doesn’t hold to Christianity, and she’s distressed by the company he keeps. She finds Mephistopheles... (full context)
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Margarete announces that she must go. Faust asks when he will be able to stay and rest upon her heart and join... (full context)
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Mephistopheles enters. He has been watching the conversation and heard Faust lecturing about God and religion, and he hopes this will do Faust some good. Faust... (full context)
Part 1: Night
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Faust and Mephistopheles enter, and Valentine swears that if his sister’s lover is one of these... (full context)
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Valentine advances on Faust and Mephistopheles, cursing the devil’s song and breaking his guitar. He says it’s time to... (full context)
Part 1: Cathedral
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...for the first time), caused by the potion which she, Gretchen, gave to her at Faust’s urging. The Evil Spirit also implies that Gretchen is pregnant. (full context)
Part 1: Walpurgis Night
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...in the devil’s honor, held on Brocken’s summit in the Harz Mountains of central Germany. Faust and Mephistopheles are hiking in a labyrinth of valleys among welling and plunging waters, elements... (full context)
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As they hike, Faust and Mephistopheles see many wonders, like the glowing, mist-surrounded palace of Mammon, a devil of... (full context)
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...foot, proof of his identity as the devil, Mephistopheles serves as spokesman for the tongue-tied Faust. First the two approach a group of old gentlemen who complain about how one can... (full context)
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Faust hopes his mind remains intact, because he’s never seen such a lively carnival as this.... (full context)
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Faust leaves his dance, disturbed when a red mouse leaps from his partner’s mouth. He also... (full context)
Part 1: Walpurgis Night’s Dream
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Faust and Mephistopheles watch the amateurish play, staged in the mountains, which presents the wedding of... (full context)
Part 1: An Expanse of Open Country
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Faust and Mephistopheles enter an expanse of open country under an overcast sky. Faust has learned... (full context)
Part 1: Night: Open Fields
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Dashing along on a black horse, Faust and Mephistopheles see a group of figures by a stone block. Neither knows what these... (full context)
Part 1: Prison
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Faust, lamp in hand, stands in the prison before a small iron door, having stolen a... (full context)
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Faust enters the cell and Margarete cowers, afraid that her execution is about to take place,... (full context)
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When Faust calls her name, Margarete recognizes his voice. She feels free and embraces the man she... (full context)
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Margarete tells Faust to leave without her, to save his poor child, and she imagines her mother sitting... (full context)
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Mephistopheles enters and tells Faust and Margarete to come away, or else both of them will be lost. Margarete begs... (full context)
Part 2: Act 1: A Pleasant Landscape
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Several years have passed since the action of Part I. Faust is couched on the grass, amidst nature, trying to sleep as twilight fades to night.... (full context)
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The sun rises, and the Spirits hide from the loud heralds who accompany it. Faust wakes up and feels freshly alive, joyous, and resolved. He looks at the mountains and... (full context)
Part 2: Act 1: An Imperial Palace: The Great Hall
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...on his chariot’s throne. It is Plutus, the god of wealth, but actually it is Faust disguised as Plutus. He orders that a great chest of treasure be unloaded from the... (full context)
Part 2: Act 1: An Imperial Palace: A Garden
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...morning after the Masquerade. Soberly dressed and kneeling before the Emperor and his courtiers are Faust and Mephistopheles, the former begging forgiveness for disguising himself as Plutus and creating the fiery... (full context)
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...official follows and announces that the army is disciplined once more. The treasurer says that Faust and Mephistopheles are to thank for these happy turns of events. (full context)
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The Chancellor explains: Faust and Mephistopheles came up with the idea of having paper money printed on notes. The... (full context)
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Faust and Mephistopheles go on to explain that everyone accepts these new banknotes, and that they’re... (full context)
Part 2: Act 1: An Imperial Palace: A Dark Gallery
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Faust and Mephistopheles enter a dark gallery in the palace. The magician tells the devil that... (full context)
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Mephistopheles gives Faust a tiny key that begins to grow in his hand. It has special properties, the... (full context)
Part 2: Act 1: An Imperial Palace: Brightly Lit Rooms
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...to see Helen and Paris act out a phantom scene together. The devil responds that Faust is hard at work making this happen. (full context)
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To get rid of the crowd, Mephistopheles orders the Mothers to release Faust from their spell. Candles dim, and the Court starts to move and assemble in the... (full context)
Part 2: Act 1: An Imperial Palace: Knight’s Hall
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...Hall. They are arranged as if to watch a theatrical production. Mephistopheles enters, followed by Faust with a tripod containing a bowl of incense, announced by the astrologer. Grandiosely from the... (full context)
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...femininity, and his boorishness. Then Helen enters. She’s pretty but not his style, Mephistopheles says. Faust, however, is enraptured with the beauty he’s summoned. He says it makes his world desirable... (full context)
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The astrologer observes that Paris is boldly seizing Helen, perhaps even abducting her. Faust orders the ghost to stop but he does not. Faust vows to rescue Helen and... (full context)
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Mephistopheles hoists Faust onto his shoulders. That’s life, he says, and adds that to be encumbered with a... (full context)
Part 2: Act 2: A High-Vaulted, Narrow Gothic Room (Faust’s Study 4)
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Faust is in his former study, unchanged since his days as a professor. Mephistopheles enters from... (full context)
Part 2: Act 2: Laboratory
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...to begin working right now. Mephistopheles tells it to demonstrate its talents by interacting with Faust, who is still asleep in the other room. Homunculus hovers over to the magician and... (full context)
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Homunculus suggests that Faust be taken to Classical Walpurgis Night, which Mephistopheles has never heard of. Homunculus explains that... (full context)
Part 2: Act 2: Classical Walpurgis Night: The Pharsalian Fields
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From the sky, accompanied by light, enter Homunculus, still in his vial, Mephistopheles, and Faust, who wakes upon landing, refreshed just to be in Greece. The three decide to seek... (full context)
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Faust enters, newly vigorous because of the strength and grandeur of Greece and its inhabitants, even... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Faust approaches a River God who is surrounded by streams and nymphs. The nymphs invite Faust... (full context)
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The centaur Chiron enters, and he invites Faust to mount and ride him. Faust acknowledges Chiron to be a great educator and skilled... (full context)
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Chiron introduces Manto to the crazed Faust. Manto says she loves this man who wants what cannot be. Chiron gallops into the... (full context)
Part 2: Act 3: Before Menelaus’ Palace at Sparta
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In the Underworld, Faust and Manto were granted their request that Helen be released from her ghostly afterlife to... (full context)
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...to save themselves: in the hills north of Sparta a great, powerful, and magnanimous lord (Faust) has led a horde of Germanic barbarians in building an invincible fortress. The monster promises... (full context)
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...to bad, she gives the word, and the monster transports all of the women to Faust’s fortress. After mists spread and obscure their vision, Helen and the Trojan women find themselves... (full context)
Part 2: Act 3: Inner Courtyard of a Castle
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...courtyard faced with ornate, fantastic medieval buildings. Phorkyas-Mephistopheles has vanished. Preceded by pages and squires, Faust appears dressed as a medieval lord, with a man shackled at his side: a watchman... (full context)
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Faust announces that he also is overwhelmed by Helen’s beauty, so much so that he acknowledges... (full context)
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Phorkyas-Mephistopheles enters and announces that Menelaus with his legions is approaching Faust’s castle to attack. Faust hurls abuses at the devil and declares the danger to be... (full context)
Part 2: Act 3: A Shaded Grove
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Faust and Helen stand in a shaded grove surrounded by cliffs, obscured from view. Phorkyas-Mephistopheles tells... (full context)
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Faust, Helen, and Euphorion enter. Euphorion says that to see him dance makes his parents’ hearts... (full context)
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...wax wings melted in the sun. His body falls at the feet of Helen and Faust and disappears. All that remains of him onstage are his garments. The boy’s bereaved parents... (full context)
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The chorus laments the beautiful youth’s death. Helen tells her beloved Faust that beauty and happiness can form no lasting union. She embraces him one more time... (full context)
Part 2: Act 4: High Mountains
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Faust, riding his cloud, floats onto a rugged, serrated peak. The cloud separates from him and... (full context)
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Mephistopheles turns to the question of whether Faust has seen anything he’s desired in the world. The devil suspects not, but Faust contradicts... (full context)
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...drums and warlike music. Mephistopheles explains that the Emperor is at war. The false riches Faust created for him by printing paper money led the Emperor to attempt governing and leading... (full context)
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Faust and Mephistopheles cross to the next lower range of mountains and view the armies in... (full context)
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Faust orders Mephistopheles to win the battle for the Emperor, but the devil says the magician... (full context)
Part 2: Act 4: On a Foothill
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Just then, an armored Faust enters with his Three Mighty Men. He offers the Emperor the help and strength of... (full context)
Part 2: Act 4: The Anti-Emperor’s Tent
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Two of Faust’s Three Mighty Men enter the Anti-Emperor’s tent, which is piled up with wealth. They try... (full context)
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Finally, the Chancellor-Archbishop reminds the Emperor that he granted Faust the Empire’s coasts to rule as a feudal lord. The Archbishop demands for the Church... (full context)
Part 2: Act 5: A Broad Landscape
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At this point, apparently, Faust has given half a lifetime to his project of driving back the ocean. A traveler... (full context)
Part 2: Act 5: Faust’s Palace (Before the Palace)
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Faust, now a very old man, a hundred years old, paces in a large formal garden... (full context)
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Despite this success, Faust looks grave and somber. He desires what is not his—the cottage, the grove, and the... (full context)
Part 2: Act 5: Faust’s Palace (Faust on the Balcony)
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The keeper of the palace watchtower is looking out over Faust’s realm while night falls, singing all the while. Suddenly he sees, through a grove of... (full context)
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Faust appears upon the balcony, having heard the watchman’s sad song. His inmost being is offended... (full context)
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Faust is outraged and curses this senseless act of savagery. Mephistopheles and the Three Mighty Men... (full context)
Part 2: Act 5: Faust’s Palace (Within the Palace)
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At the last stroke of midnight, four gray women appear in the courtyard of Faust’s palace: Want, Debt, Distress, and Care. The first three cannot get in, for the palace’s... (full context)
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Within the palace, Faust murmurs to himself that he saw four gray women come but only three depart, and... (full context)
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...man all is darkness in his heart, and he ceases to rejoice in his treasures. Faust orders her to leave and asserts that he shall never acknowledge her power. Care breathes... (full context)
Part 2: Act 5: Faust’s Palace (The Large Outer Courtyard)
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The courtyard of Faust’s palace is now lit by torches. Mephistopheles enters, leading a group of Lemures, spirits of... (full context)
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Faust dreams of draining a contaminating marsh as his crowning last achievement, so that millions of... (full context)
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Faust falls back dead and is caught by the Lemures, who lay him on the ground.... (full context)
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The Lemures begin to bury the body of Faust. Mephistopheles says that if the dead man’s soul tries to rise, he’ll show his blood-signed... (full context)
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The angels rise, bearing off the immortal part of Faust from his gravesite. Mephistopheles begins to regain his composure. Even though he finds himself afflicted... (full context)
Part 2: Act 5: Mountain Gorges
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Angels hover in the upper sky, bearing with them the immortal part of Faust. They sing of how this worthy member of the spirit world was rescued from the... (full context)
The Human Desire for Meaning and Transcendence Theme Icon
Pleasure and Love Theme Icon
Parts, Wholes, and Limits Theme Icon
The penitent (Gretchen) clings to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking her to look down on Faust, the love of her, Gretchen’s, youth, who has now returned to grace. The penitent watches... (full context)