Faust: a figure defined by the characters in which he interacts. In Johann Wolfgang von Goethes Faust first part, Faust is a famous character of self-inflicted tragedy. The characters such as Mephistopholes, Wagner, and Gretchen imply those feelings, impulses, needs, and wants that many may face during a lifetime. Goethes story of Faust illustrates an interesting path that one may follow at a universal point where we feel we do not know our purpose and feel pinned down by the sadness of the seemingly impossible satisfaction of life. The story appeals to all who read it. It shows that feelings of loneliness and unfulfilment are timeless and take many forms. Lust is personified by Gretchen, temptation by Mephisto, and the past by Wagner.
Each character slyly describes pieces to the Faust puzzle. All together the story seemingly resembles that of a very complicated fairy tale. Each character of Faust plays an intense role in Fausts life, however brief. Of the most intense is of course Mephistopholes, the devil. This devil is for the first time comical in literature and is quickly understood. Mephisto takes the opportunity to test Faust with Gods permission to find if he will betray him.
At this same time Faust is contemplating suicide and angry and curious at what he cannot learn. He has become a respected, learned, intimidating person. He feels all that he has learned has done nothing for him and wants desperately to learn unearthly things like those in the spirit world. He is severely unhappy with who he is and where he has come to be, like so many of this world today. He personifies the point at which people sit and wonder where to go next and what to believe or to even believe at all. Each human being wants to know the far-reaching points of the universe and looks upon God as an aggravating puzzle. Faust is this person. Mephisto is temptation towards evil things, thoughts, and discoveries. Mephisto is the chance people have to take the impatient, faithless way out of life. Many, like Goethes Faust, find this direction easier because they do not care. Faust loses the heart to hope, care, and believe and therefore is tempted easily by Mephisto.
Wagner, an understudy of Faust, shows what Faust was. Wagner can easily be seen as the type of person Faust most resembled before losing his direction. Wagner is content and even excited about what he has learned and fascinated by it. He is still eager to approach new thoughts, embrace old beliefs, and look forward to further study. Faust may have felt strongly about those same feelings at some point in time but now only echo from his past. This is paralleled by todays instances where people become fed up with what they are doing and want to understand something more than before. This can be a believer in faith who turns their back on it or even someone leaving their job in order to give something back. Many people many times face a turning point in their lives and continue with a large part of who they once were still a part of them. This is what Goethe is showing readers from the Faust-Wagner relationship. The bottom line is to show the readers a background of Faust.
Love, everyone has stumbled upon it no matter what the circumstances. Gretchen is the potential love that lay hidden upon every mans heart until awakened. Potential love because Faust does not know her when he yearns for her on the street, she personifies lust at first. Up until his lustful thoughts of her, Faust seems to have never come close to love. This relationship tells us nothing that comes by sin (bribery and lies) is worth it. Although Faust seems to fall in love with her, because things must be hidden from her and others doom it to never succeed. Such as life it screams at the reader that virtues such as patience and honesty may not always produce quick results, in the end all is better than before. Fausts relationship with Gretchen illustrates the impatience in life and how fast happiness without virtue will make you worse off than before. This is such a great lesson to learn in todays society most of all.
Gretchens brother Valentine is the image of consequence. He reveals to the reader what Faust knew in the back of his mind of their relationship. Faust was blinded by the immediacy of love from Gretchen that he did not consider the consequences. Although he did not see them at first, he is brought face to face with Valentine himself to realize them. Like so many others, people who do not face quick consequences will always in the end suffer in one way or another as Goethe points out by this relationship.
In the end of this story the reader is left thankful that Gretchen is forgiven (like those blinded by deception) but curious as to Fausts fate. Faust, Part One does describe a humans mortality and makes the reader think of similar instances in his own life. As each character slides into place to complete the Faust puzzle one realizes the similarities between him and us and the paths we choose. This slight fairy tale titled Faust imposes the importance of happiness and danger of temptation and appeals to all that discover it.