Theatre: Faust: Second Part of the Tragedy

aka: Faust II
"Faust mounted on Chiron", by Franz Simm (1899)

The second part of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust duology, published 24 years after Faust I.

By letting him drink from the waters of Lethe, Mephistopheles makes Faust forget about Gretchen and thus regain his spirits. After some wacky hijinks at the court of the Emperor (where Mephistopheles solves the Empire's financial crisis by inventing paper money) they visit Faustís old study, where Doctor Wagner, formerly Faust's assistant, has finally succeeded in creating the Homunculus.

Hardly created, the Homunculus says goodbye to his maker and teams up with Faust and Mephistopheles to visit Ancient Greece, where they arrive just in time to attend Classical Walpurgis Night and change the outcome of The Trojan War so that Faust can marry Helen of Troy.

Tropes in Faust II:

  • Actionized Sequel: An early example.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Mephistopheles summons a troop of "lemurs" to dig Faust's grave. Now lemures are spirits of the dead from Roman mythology, but who could stave off the mental image of Satan commanding a horde of cattas?
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The waters of Lethe erase Faust's memories of Gretchen, but leave everything else intact.
  • Meaningful Name: In contrast to Faust I, almost every character in Faust II has a symbolical name.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: This one has the ability to fly around in his glass container.
  • Shout-Out: The spirit Ariel in Act I, scene 1 is directly taken from Shakespeare's The Tempest, which suggests that the beautiful land Faust finds himself may just be Prospero's island.

Alternative Title(s):

Faust II