Theatre: Faust

Faust and Mephistopheles, by Harry Clarke (1925)

Faust is a dramatic duology by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and an adaptation of the 16th century folk legend about the eponymous sorcerer that supposedly sold his soul to the devil.

The first part is far better known than the second.

  • Faust: First Part of the Tragedy (1808): Faust makes a deal with the demon Mephistopheles and engages in a love-affair with the innocent Gretchen which has dire consequences for the latter.
  • Faust: Second Part of the Tragedy (1832): More incredible adventures of Faust and Mephistopheles, until Faust grows old and Mephisto makes ready to collect his prize.

Tropes present in both parts of Faust:

  • Deadpan Snarker: Mephistopheles, often at the expense of the humans that surround him. It doesn't come across very well in some translations, but when it does it renders him by far the most entertaining part of the play.
  • Deal with the Devil: Though Faust's contract with Mephistopheles here is a wager, not a trade.
  • Flaming Devil: Mephistopheles is not 101% heterosexual.
  • Remake: Goethe certainly knew Doctor Faustus and to a degree the duology is a remake of the Marlowe play.
  • Satan: While in previous embodiments of the Faust tale Mephistopheles was a devil, Goethe suggests that he may just be the Devil.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Goethe is the first author that has Faust go to Heaven.

Alternative Title(s):

Faust A Tragedy