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This article is about the German legendary character. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for “more than earthly meat and drink” in his life. Faust is bored and depressed with his life as a scholar. After an attempt to take his own life, he calls on the Devil for further knowledge and magic powers with which to indulge all the pleasure and knowledge of the world.
He makes a bargain with Faust: Mephistopheles will serve Faust with his magic powers for a set number of years, but at the end of the term, the Devil will claim Faust’s soul, and Faust will be eternally enslaved. During the term of the bargain, Faust makes use of Mephistopheles in various ways. In many versions of the story, particularly Goethe’s drama, Mephistopheles helps Faust seduce a beautiful and innocent girl, usually named Gretchen, whose life is ultimately destroyed when she gives birth to Faust’s bastard son. Realizing this unholy act, she drowns the child, and is held for murder. The Polish folklore legend bears many similarities to the story of Faust.
Hans Jonas writes, “surely few admirers of Marlowe’s and Goethe’s plays have an inkling that their hero is the descendant of a gnostic sectary and that the beautiful Helen called up by his art was once the fallen Thought of God through whose raising mankind was to be saved. The origin of Faust’s name and persona remains unclear. Fust is one of the multiple origins to the Faust story. The Polish story seems to have originated at roughly the same time as its German counterpart, yet It is unclear whether the two tales have a common origin or influenced each other. The book was re-edited and borrowed from throughout the 16th century. The 1725 Faust chapbook was widely circulated and also read by the young Goethe.
1565, 25 years after Faust’s presumed death. These chronicles are generally considered reliable, and in the 16th century there were still family ties between the lords of Staufen and the counts of Zimmern in nearby Donaueschingen. Wittenburg where Faust studied was also written as Wertenberge. This has led to a measure of speculation as to where precisely his story is set.
Wittenberg is the historical capital of Württemberg, what is now the city of Stuttgart. The first part, which is the one more closely connected to the earlier legend, was published in 1808, the second posthumously in 1832. The final version, published after his death, is recognized as a great work of German literature. Faust is incredibly reluctant towards, as he believes this happy zenith will never come. Faust is not the one who suggests the wager.
In the first part, Mephistopheles leads Faust through experiences that culminate in a lustful relationship with Gretchen, an innocent young woman. Gretchen and her family are destroyed by Mephistopheles’ deceptions and Faust’s desires. Part one of the story ends in tragedy for Faust, as Gretchen is saved but Faust is left to grieve in shame. Finally, having succeeded in taming the very forces of war and nature, Faust experiences a singular moment of happiness. Mephistopheles tries to seize Faust’s soul when he dies after this moment of happiness, but is frustrated and enraged when angels intervene due to God’s grace.
Though this grace is truly ‘gratuitous’ and does not condone Faust’s frequent errors perpetrated with Mephistopheles, the angels state that this grace can only occur because of Faust’s unending striving and due to the intercession of the forgiving Gretchen. The Goddess is thus victorious over Mephistopheles, who had insisted at Faust’s death that he would be consigned to “The Eternal Empty. The story of Faust is woven into Dr. Margarita being modeled on Gretchen and the Master on Faust. Faust legend to a 20th-century context, documenting the life of fictional composer Adrian Leverkühn as analog and embodiment of the early 20th-century history of Germany and of Europe.
The talented Leverkühn, after contracting venereal disease from a brothel visit, forms a pact with a Mephistophelean character to grant him 24 years of brilliance and success as a composer. He produces works of increasing beauty to universal acclaim, even while physical illness begins to corrupt his body. Germany, and Leverkühn’s fate is shown as that of the soul of Germany. Murnau’s film featured special effects that were remarkable for the time. Many of these shots are impressive today. In one, Mephisto towers over a town, dark wings spread wide, as a fog rolls in bringing the plague.
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