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Goethes Faust #1

Faust, First Part

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Goethe’s masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world. Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience, or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever. Here, in Faust, Part I, the tremendous versatility of Goethe’s genius creates some of the most beautiful passages in literature. Here too we experience Goethe’s characteristic humor, the excitement and eroticism of the witches’ Walpurgis Night, and the moving emotion of Gretchen’s tragic fate.

This authoritative edition, which offers Peter Salm’s wonderfully readable translation as well as the original German on facing pages, brings us Faust in a vital, rhythmic American idiom that carefully preserves the grandeur, integrity, and poetic immediacy of Goethe’s words.

327 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1808

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About the author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

8,215 books5,719 followers
A master of poetry, drama, and the novel, German writer and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent 50 years on his two-part dramatic poem Faust , published in 1808 and 1832, also conducted scientific research in various fields, notably botany, and held several governmental positions.

George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." Works span the fields of literature, theology, and humanism.
People laud this magnum opus as one of the peaks of world literature. Other well-known literary works include his numerous poems, the Bildungsroman Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther .

With this key figure of German literature, the movement of Weimar classicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries coincided with Enlightenment, sentimentality (Empfindsamkeit), Sturm und Drang, and Romanticism. The author of the scientific text Theory of Colours , he influenced Darwin with his focus on plant morphology. He also long served as the privy councilor ("Geheimrat") of the duchy of Weimar.

Goethe took great interest in the literatures of England, France, Italy, classical Greece, Persia, and Arabia and originated the concept of Weltliteratur ("world literature"). Despite his major, virtually immeasurable influence on German philosophy especially on the generation of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, he expressly and decidedly refrained from practicing philosophy in the rarefied sense.

Influence spread across Europe, and for the next century, his works inspired much music, drama, poetry and philosophy. Many persons consider Goethe the most important writer in the German language and one of the most important thinkers in western culture as well. Early in his career, however, he wondered about painting, perhaps his true vocation; late in his life, he expressed the expectation that people ultimately would remember his work in optics.

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews48 followers
August 29, 2021
Faust: First Part (Goethe's Faust #1), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Peter Salm (Translator)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play in two parts usually known in English as Faust, Part One and Faust, Part Two.

Faust is considered by many to be Goethe's magnum opus and the greatest work of German literature.

The principal characters of Faust Part One include:

Heinrich Faust
Mephistopheles, the Devil
Gretchen, Faust's love (short for Margarete; Goethe uses both forms)
Marthe, Gretchen's neighbour
Valentin, Gretchen's brother
Wagner, Faust's attendant

Faust, Part One takes place in multiple settings, the first of which is Heaven. The demon Mephistopheles makes a bet with God: he says that he can lure God's favourite human being (Faust), who is striving to learn everything that can be known, away from righteous pursuits.

The next scene takes place in Faust's study where Faust, despairing at the vanity of scientific, humanitarian and religious learning, turns to magic for the showering of infinite knowledge.

He suspects, however, that his attempts are failing. Frustrated, he ponders suicide, but rejects it as he hears the echo of nearby Easter celebrations begin.

He goes for a walk with his assistant Wagner and is followed home by a stray poodle.

In Faust's study, the poodle transforms into Mephistopheles. Faust makes an arrangement with him: Mephistopheles will do everything that Faust wants while he is here on Earth, and in exchange Faust will serve the Devil in Hell.

Faust's arrangement is that if he is pleased enough with anything Mephistopheles gives him that he wants to stay in that moment forever, then he will die in that moment. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز یازدهم ماه می سال 1991میلادی

بخش نخست با مقدمه‌ ای در باب «بهشت» آغاز می‌شود؛ خداوند بنا به خواهش «شیطان» به او اجازه می‌دهد، تا درستی و راستی «فاوست»، خدمتگزار خدا را آزمایش کند؛ «مفیستوفلس»، با «فاوست» سالخورده معامله‌ ای می‌کند؛ اگر «فاوست» برای یک لحظه با این معامله موافقت کند، روح از تنش پرواز خواهد کرد؛ «فاوست» دوباره جوان می‌شود، و با «مفیستوفلس» به مسافرت می‌پردازد، تا از تمام لذایذ زمینی برخوردار گردد؛ در زمین عاشق دختر ساده‌ ای به نام «مارگارت» می‌شود، سپس به او خیانت می‌کند، و مسئول سقوط و مرگ او می‌شود؛ «مفیستوفلس» گمان می‌کند، که روح «مارگارت» را اسیر خواهد کرد، ولی صفای عشق او نسبت به «فاوست» و خودداری او از نجات یافتن از چنگال مرگ، سبب نجات او می‌شود؛ بخش نخست نمایش به پایان می‌رسد ولی «فاوست» هنوز در دنیای شهوات و هوس‌ها، ��ن لحظه پر شکوه هستی را که در آرزوی به چنگ آوردنش است، نیافته است...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 05/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
April 17, 2020
I reread Faust yesterday, and it left me wondering ... pondering ... again ... as so often!

Why don't we talk more about Gretchen? And I mean Gretchen as a subject, not as a toy to be used by Faust and Mephistopheles in their joint midlife crisis distractive game?

Why don't we talk more about the amazing achievements of the modern world, in which a brother like Valentin wouldn't get to call his sister a whore for having a lover? Why don't we talk more about the bliss of choice? Gretchen today could have her dark affair with a middle-aged charismatic narcissist and then raise a child on her own. She doesn't have to die (or marry to become Dorothy to Casauban or Effi to Innstetten either!). Let us celebrate the end of Gretchen's life as a social evil and the beginning of Gretchen as a sexual being without guilt, shame and doom? The world will never be free from Faustian egomaniacs, but they may face women who speak up and expect more than Gretchen ever could for herself. Gretchen lived too early, too much.

Just some thoughts on reading Faust yet again!

This is not a review. More a continued discussion with myself on a play that keeps challenging me since high school.

I cannot attempt to write a review of Goethe's Faust. It is a much too personal experience, growing with each time I reread it. Since high school, I have been thinking at least five times:

"This is the perfect Goethe moment, his work is written for ME, NOW, it can't get any better, deeper, or any more satisfying."

Well, apparently it can. After maybe three or four years, I picked up Faust again, and found that I had finally grown up enough to identify with his most famous quote, the one I had reverently learned by heart as a student.

Banging my head against the wall today while marking papers, trying to figure out how to explain the developments in the world to my own children and the adolescents I am in charge of, I looked up and literally felt Mephisto's presence in the room. Unable to get rid of the feeling, I looked at my shelf with my all time favourites, picked up my Faust, with its almost broken spine, and opened it to read ...

... my own life ...

...the struggle to find answers, the longing for knowledge and understanding, the futile hope that my teaching will make a difference, and the creepy, scary thought that it might all be meaningless, because the majority of our planet is sold, body and soul, to devilish shallowness and indifference.

... It almost sets my heart burning ...

"Now here I am, a fool for sure!
No wiser than I was before:
Master, Doctor’s what they call me,
And I’ve been ten years, already,
Crosswise, arcing, to and fro,
Leading my students by the nose,
And see that we can know - nothing!
It almost sets my heart burning."

"Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor!
Und bin so klug als wie zuvor;
Heiße Magister, heiße Doktor gar
Und ziehe schon an die zehen Jahr
Herauf, herab und quer und krumm
Meine Schüler an der Nase herum –
Und sehe, daß wir nichts wissen können!
Das will mir schier das Herz verbrennen."

As hopeless as the message and the rest of the Faust plot is, it gave me solace to share this moment, yet again, with the master of masters, Goethe.

Now here I am, a fool for sure!
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
January 6, 2012
First impression: Goethe could write his tuckus off. Rarely have I encountered prose that commingles in such bounty the trifecta of being, at once, gorgeous to the eye, imbued with passion and saturated with depth and meaning. Faust has all three and I was pulled into the seductive narrative from the momentous opening (wonderfully titled “Prologue from Heaven”) through the final dramatic climax.

I must briefly pause here to add a qualifier to my comments which relate to the version I experienced and not to my enjoyment of it.
Audible.com, usually a professional, high quality purveyor pulled a bit of a bamboozle on me in this case. I acquired the “unabridged” reading (by full cast) which came in at 4 hours in length. Now, that is just about right for Part 1 of Faust and so I thought I was in for a treat as I listened along with my own copy of the novel. Turns out, much to my chagrin, that the 4 hours was an “adaptation” of both Parts 1 and 2. Thus, as wonderful as the experience was, I did not get a chance to absorb all of the detail and nuances of the story.
I plan to read the complete Faust (Parts 1 and 2) in the future and will share my thoughts on the work as a whole at that time.
End sad story pause

So God, like a lonely parent maybe in need of a hug, allows Satan to throw a temptation Faust’s way to prove that the man is still “of the flock” in a scaled down, boil-free, version of the Book of Job. As my introductory quote illustrates, Faust is a brilliant scholar who has completed a study of all the world’s knowledge (and I thought I read a lot) and yet feels no wiser for the accomplishment. Feeling that there is more to existence than rote knowledge of the past (which echoes Goethe’s own belief in the primacy of emotion over reason) Faust longs for deeper meaning and understanding that is hidden from him. He becomes depressed and contemplating suicide (Goethe’s non-subtle hint that Faust’s faith is more than a tad shaky allow the Devil "access" to him).

Faust is visited by Mephistopheles and offered a life of hedonistic excess and earthly pleasures as a means of gaining greater understanding of the universe. Photobucket
Faust, who apparently had never watched any episodes of The Twilight Zone, foolishly agrees and bargains away his soul. Faust will die and the Devil will win if Faust can ever be made to be “content” with a moment in his life.
If ever I lie down in sloth and base inaction, / Then let that moment be my end! / If by your false cajolery / You lull me into self-sufficiency, / If any pleasure you can give / Deludes me, let me cease to live! / I offer you this wager!"
From here the two take flight (literary) on a world-wind tour of debauchery and more debauchery. “Let's plunge ourselves into the roar of time, the whirl of accident; may pain and pleasure, success and failure, shift as they will -- it's only action that can make a man.”

Soon after this, we are introduced to Gretchen, the other main player in this tragedy, whose relationship with Faust will explore key issues of faith and redemption. It was this relationship that I thought received the shortest shrift in the adaptation that I listened to so I will leave further thoughts on this until I have experienced the complete work.

The language is gorgeous and drips emotion on almost every line. Some might think this falls too far into the realm of melodrama, but I loved it and found it vigorous and passionate. The end is wonderful with the necessary questions answered but certain larger queries left for us to contemplate.

A wonderful experience (abridged though it may have been) and one that I strongly encourage everyone to read.


P.S. I didn’t have a place to slide this into my review, but I wanted to share one last quote from the story, this one from the devil. He and Faust have begun their tour of vice and come across a coven of witches who don’t recognize the Prince of Lies.
"Do you know me now? Skinny, cadaverous bitch, / do you know your lord and master? Why don't I / Smash you to pieces, tell me why, / You and your ape-familiars? Must I teach / You some respect for my red doublet? What / Is this cock's feather, eh? My face / have I been hiding it? You learn your place, / Old hag! Am I to name myself or not?"
Good, good stuff.
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
855 reviews453 followers
February 23, 2016
A summary:


Mephistopheles: Yeah,sure thing bro,but before you do that I want to take you to this weird pub,hook you up with a minor whom you'll knock up & make you attend a completely pointless annual witch ball.Sounds good?

Faust: You had me at "hook up with a minor",bro.
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,730 followers
August 8, 2017
I read Johann Goethe's Faust in English and partially in German during a college course many years ago. It had a huge impact on me as a person and me as a writer. Due to it being somewhat "out there," I held back a full 5 rating; however, I cannot stress how much this book makes you think. Beware, it's a little heavy on the literary side, but it's still worth a read, even if you just read the first portion. That said, 4 out of 5 stars...

Detailed Review(about 1/3 of a paper I wrote about it a few years ago)
When I first picked up Goethe’s famous masterpiece Faust, I was hesitant about reading it. I read Goethe’s work while lying on my bed a few hours before I went to sleep. My room was quiet because everyone else was already asleep. I was able to read and consciously take in the contents of the work. I generally don’t like to be told what literature to read; however, after reading through the Prologue in Heaven, I was intrigued by the plot of Faust. As I began reading the first part, I was a bit disturbed by the fact that it was not in prose, but that it was in poetical verse. I have never been a great fan of poetry as a genre of literature. Thus I had mixed feelings when it came to reading Goethe’s famous literary work Faust from the beginning.

I wanted to learn something from the story, as I do from all literature. Authors don’t just write for ‘no’ reason; they wish to accomplish something. I then strove to understand the reasons for the literary work’s existence. When I skimmed Faust for the first time, I tried to read it for pleasure, but it was a little too hard. I needed to stop and understand what as going on in each scene. However, I soon realized that I was able to place myself inside the text in several different ways. It was at this point that Faust actually appealed to me; I saw myself in the novel as the character of Faust, fighting against the devilish Mephistopheles. I have always struggled with wanting everything from material things to the admiration of others. As a man of flesh and blood, I naturally want great intelligence, power and love. I have always wanted to be number one - a perfectionist - just like Faust.

So, while I was reading Faust, I was truly reading a biography of my own life, albeit on a much larger scale. I too have lost some faith in my religion, and I wonder if I will be saved; however, unlike Faust, at the time I read it, I had yet to want someone as much as he wanted Margaret (Gretchen). Maybe if I were under the devil’s spells like Faust was, I would have fallen just as hard for the woman. I do have the addictive personality that would lead me in the same direction as Faust. With all of this in mind, I read through the novel as though I were Faust. I took on his persona, argued with Mephistopheles, and wished that I had never been born in the end of the work. It is not easy to live a life completely free from the clutches of evil. When you are hopeless and in despair, you need help. Often, humans are not strong enough to recognize from whom they are getting help. Faust enabled me to foresee what would happen to me if I were subject to the devil’s influence.

Faust is a man worthy of my admiration. All throughout the book, both Faust and the actions he sought fascinated me. Like I said before, I felt as though I was reading or watching a movie of my own life. It was as though a dream had come true where I was able to align myself with the devil. The fears that I have in reality weren’t present enough in my dreams to stop myself from associating with some Mephistophelean devil. I was able to see what would happen if I took on the persona of evil incarnate turned into man. Faust enabled me to have an out of body experience where I could see what would happen to me if I became what I have always been curious about becoming: A devil-influenced man.

Throughout the work of Faust by Goethe, I was able to live experiences vicariously. Faust enabled me to try things that I only dreamed about trying. I really felt as though I were reading a novel about myself. I think that this is why the Faustian theme has persisted throughout time; men (and women) everywhere have struggled within themselves fighting between good and evil to achieve their goals and desires. I am no different.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
509 reviews90 followers
October 11, 2020
علم، معرفت،شهرت،ثروت
بخاطر چه چیزهای کم‌ارزشی با شیطان معامله میکنید.
من اگر روزی با مفیستوفلس روبرو بشم، ازش میخوام آخرین روزی که باهم بودیم رو تا ابد زندگی کنم.
Profile Image for Agir(آگِر).
437 reviews511 followers
January 25, 2021
هر کسی که راه می‌رود می‌تواند گم بشود

زمانی فرا می‌رسد که بدجور به خودت می‌لرزی...نه برای آنچه بر سرت خواهد آمد...بلکه برای آنچه از کف داده‌ای...زندگی و عمری که خرج ایدئولوژی و آرمانی کردی که حالا بهش شک داری!!!...شاید بگویی باز وضع‌ات بهتر از آن داعشی‌ها و نظامیانی است که آدم‌ها را کشته و کودکان را سر بریده‌اند...اما نیست....تو هم زندگی‌ات را قربانی کرده‌ای!!!
چیزی که می‌توانست یه هدیه بزرگ باشد را برای هیچ و پوچ به هدر دادی!؟...تو هم یک فاوستی...و من نیز...فاوست تاریخ انسانی ماست که پی برده‌ایم بی‌ثمر در پی هیچ تمام شد...و حالا که بعد هزاره‌ها بیدار شده‌ایم، با جنونی همه‌گیر می‌خواهیم یک شبه رهِ هزارساله را برویم تا شاید آنچه از کف داده‌ایم را بدست آوریم...همین است که وارد عصری شده‌ایم که ماشین‌آلات سریع‌السیر از هر سو سَر برآورده‌اند...به راستی کە انسان جراتِ ایستادن و اندیشیدن را ندارد

شاید بجای گم شدن در این همه راه ایستاد و در خود گم شد...یا کامل غرق می‌شوی‌ یا...نمی‌دانم...گوته که می‌گوید: هر قصد بزرگی در آغاز غلط می‌نماید!!!
Profile Image for Oguz Akturk.
280 reviews495 followers
April 1, 2022
YouTube kitap kanalımda hayatımda yarım bıraktığım ilk kitap olan Faust hakkında konuştum: youtu.be/g0tV0SSIK2k

Goethe 14 yaşındayken buharlı makine icat edilmiş, 21 yaşındayken Hegel doğmuş, 40 yaşındayken Fransız İhtilali olmuş, 66 yaşındayken Waterloo Savaşı olmuş.
Ben 26 yaşındayken ise hayatımın en önemli gündemi koronavirüs işte.

Faust'u ben yazamazdım, hatta sadece ben değil, Goethe'den başka da kimse yazamazdı. Latince'de faustus mutlu olmaya yazgılı olmak demekti zaten. Şeytan onun ruhunu çalıp ona hüküm kurmak istese bile mutlu olmaya, Tanrı ile olmaya yazgılı bir insandı Faust. Sanayi Devrimi'nin insanları koşullandırdığı her şeyi bilme diktesinde olan bir çağda o da her şeyi bilmek isteyenlerden başka bir şey değildi. Bu konuda Goethe'nin bir fikri vardı.

26 yaşındayken bir toplantıda tanıştığı Weimar dükü, Goethe'ye, gel kardo burada takıl hem Faust'u bitirirsin hem de kitabın son şeklini burada alır dedi ama beklemediği bir şey oldu Goethe'nin, o da Weimar klasisizmi. Schiller'in de içinde bulunduğu Fırtına ve Coşku akımına nazaran Weimar klasisizmi, gestalt, gehalt ve inhalt adı verilen içerik, Yunan ilhamı ve estetik öncüllerinden oluşurdu. Yani Puşkin'in üç güvenilir kartı tutumluluk, ölçülülük ve çalışkanlık, Reich'in üç erdemi sevgi, çalışma ve bilgi, ilk mimarlık kuramcısı Vitruvius'un iyi bir mimari tasarım için belirlediği üç öncül fayda, kalıcılık ve güzellikti ya, işte Goethe'nin de kendisi için belirlediği muhteşem üçlü bunlardı.

Zaten Goethe'nin sanat ülküsü, “İnsan hayatını, dünyayı, öteki alemleri, hatta ahireti de büyük tabiatın cüzleri olarak ele almak ve ahenkli bir bütünlük içinde hepsinin yerini ve rolünü göstermek”ti. Sadece bu dünyanın varlığını değil, öte yaşamın varlığını da bir bütün içinde değerlendirerek, gestalt'a, yani parçaların barındığı bütüne ulaşabilmekti Goethe'nin amacı.

Albert Camus'nün Tersi ve Yüzü kitabında kendi felsefesini ve kendi madalyonunu dünya-insan ikiliğiyle kurması gibi Goethe de kendi madalyonunu üç taraflı kurmuştu: Tanrı-şeytan-insan. Yani Ivan Karamazov'un yaşadığı ve cebelleştiği üçlü.

Ama Nietzsche Goethe'ye o öldükten yıllar sonra "Alman dilinin baş mimarı Goethe’dir." demişti. Goethe de belki bunu hissetmiş olacak ki, Faust'u neredeyse Nietzsche'nin Dionysoscu içkin üstinsanı olarak tasarlamıştı. Dinamikti, kabına sığmıyordu, aktifti, her şeyi bilmek istiyordu Faust, mutlak mükemmeliyeti arıyordu fakat her insanın düştüğü yanılgı gibi ruhunu şeytana satmıştı. Faust'un şeytanı şeytan fakat belki de bizim de para, iktidar, ün, şehvet hırslarımız da kendi şeytanlarımız olabilir. Faust, Yunan mitolojisindeki Helena ile karşılaşsa bile bu ona yetmemişti, daha çok şeyi bilip o bildiklerini Kubrick'in 2001: Bir Uzay Destanı filmindeki monolite aktarmak istemişti belki.

Hatta ve hatta İncil'in başlangıcı olan Yuhanna "Başlangıçta söz vardı." şeklinde başlıyorsa, Dostoyevski'nin İncil'i "Başlangıçta acı vardı." Goethe'nin İncil'i ise "Başlangıçta eylem vardı." şeklinde olurdu. Çünkü Ruslar acıyla, Almanlar eylemle varoluşlarına ulaşırdı.

Faust kitabının cevap aradığı iki soru vardı en nihayetinde:
1- İnsan tam olarak nefsini şeytana teslim edip sapıklığa düştükten sonra, kendi kuvveti ile doğru yolu bulabilir mi bulamaz mı?
2- Ölümlü bir insan için durulacak ve geçilmeyecek anlar var mıdır?

Ben cevaplayayım...
1- Evet.
2- Evet.

Başta yazdığım filmi de izleyin bu arada kesin. Bir de Roman Polanski'den Rosemary'nin Bebeği izlerseniz üstüne çok iyi cila olur.
52 reviews2 followers
April 21, 2019
I had to read this for my German class - sure, this is not the ideal starting point for a book but is definitely not the reason why I hated it so much. I disliked the book because of how problematic it is.

Let's get something clear - I am 16 years old and definitely not the original target group for this book. I am queer and a feminist. I am educated and know my rights. So pretty much the opposite of a woman back in the 19th century, when the first part was written.
I still am able to appreciate Goethe as a poet and an important historical figure.

Sure, this book is very much quoteable - Goethe was a poet afterall. But a book is about more than just pretty quotes.
And yes, I do get that this book is a very important monument in literature bla bla bla I know
But this doesn't make a book good, you know?

Warning: the rest includes spoilers!

The figure of Faust disgusted me. He basically is an old but well educated white guy in his mid life crisis. And Fausts character was only aggravated after he met Mephisto.
And now let's take some time to look at Faust and to find out why I hate him so much.

My passionate hate for Faust was born early: when he tried to kill himself. (starting at line 690, even though I can only quote my German edition)
He basically tried to kill himself because he was bored and felt like crossing a border. Nice, I know. But let's give Goethe a pass on that because a play needs drama, right?

But it only gets worse! I almost screamed when Faust met Margarete, or as he calls her: Gretchen.
Gretchen? How old is she supposed to be? Like 6 years?
No, she actually is 14! As if this would make such a difference. And let's not forget that Faust was, even after his literal rejuvenation, around 50 years old! That makes him not only nasty but also pedophile!
He is 50 years old and makes a 14 year old fall in love with him and that only because he forces her to! This is in no way art and if you don't think there's anything wrong with that, what is wrong with you.
He literally breaks into her house too! He walks around smelling at her clothes and looking at her room - I'd call this a creep and a stalker, just saying.

During their so-called 'relationship' he makes her feel bad for being less educated than he is (starting line 3215). Quite disgusting if you ask me.
He also kills her mother and his brother. This relationship is absolute #goals.
But well, Gretchens brother was quite an idiot too. He likes to brag with his sister being a virgin (line 3630 following) and slut shames her when she's not a virgin anymore. (line 3736) #goals

There's also a brief mention of Faust being antisemitic (line 2841) but I'll give a concerned pass on that when you look at the time period Goethe was living in.

Okay, let's summarise this masterpiece piece of art.
Three different preludes for an unfinished almost autobiographical story about an old white guy experiencing a crisis? "No" (line 2668)
Profile Image for Esin.
11 reviews
December 28, 2021
school read. i wanna give you a zero, but that‘s not possible. so i give you… a one.
Profile Image for Anna.
582 reviews110 followers
September 26, 2017
"Θέλω να βυθιστώ στον ίλιγγο, στις απολαύσεις που χαρίζει η οδύνη, στο μίσος που αγαπά, στην πυρκαγιά που δροσιά δίνει"

Το magnus opus του Γκαίτε, σε μετάφραση του Σπύρου Ευαγγελάτου για την παράσταση που ανέβασε το 2000 και επιμελημένη ξανά το 2015 για την παράσταση της Κατερίνας Ευαγγελάτου, σε μια εκπληκτική έκδοση από τις εκδόσεις Καπα
Profile Image for Anastasia.
96 reviews37 followers
September 9, 2016
"Τι να ξεφύγω ποιος θα μου το μάθει;
Σκλάβος να γίνω εκείνης της ορμής;
Αχ! Οι πράξεις μας, όσο και τα πάθη,
μας φράζουνε το δρόμο της ζωής."

Θα μπορούσα να παραθέσω πολλά ακόμη κομμάτια που μου έκαναν εντύπωση αλλά θα ήταν ίσως περιττό. Πρόκειται για ένα αριστούργημα της παγκόσμιας λογοτεχνίας, ειδικά αν αναλογιστεί κανείς την εποχή που γράφτηκε και το πόσο σύγχρονο σε νοήματα παραμένει ακόμα και σήμερα. Θεωρώ πως δεν έχω κάτι να προσθέσω στις τόσες χιλιάδες κριτικών που έχουν γραφτεί γι' αυτό το βιβλίο, γι' αυτό θα περιοριστώ σε μερικές μόνο λέξεις: διεισδυτικό, μελωδικό, διαχρονικό, στοχαστικό , τραγικό και κωμικό, ποιητικά μοναδικό και όμορφο.
Profile Image for Aggeliki.
292 reviews
July 27, 2019
Ο Φάουστ είναι μια λυρική δίνη γεμάτη κομμάτια που μου έκαναν εντύπωση καθώς όσα περιγράφουν ισχύουν και στις ημέρες μας, γεγονός που το κάνει ένα έργο διαχρονικό δεδομένης της εποχής που γράφτηκε. Η ανθρώπινη υπόσταση με όλες της τις αδυναμίες συμπυκνώνεται σε μια ιστορία εγωισμού και του ανδρικού ανικανοποίητου που μου φέρνει στο μυαλό πολλές γνωστές φυσιογνωμίες.
Αν και γενικά η ποιητική δομή δεν μου ταιριάζει και πολύ στα βιβλία που διαβάζω, δεν μπορώ να μην αναγνωρίσω την τεράστια αξία του. Και παρά το γεγονός ότι δεν έχω διαβάσει άλλα έργα του Γκαίτε ώστε να μπορώ να κάνω οποιαδήποτε σύγκριση μεταξύ τους, ωστόσο μου φαίνεται ένας παράξενος συγγραφέας.
Profile Image for poncho.
80 reviews40 followers
October 1, 2015
Faust by Goethe was the very first book (apart from textbooks, of course) I ever put my hands on. It was assigned to me when I was in middle school for my Spanish class. I know it's a German play, but the teacher was encouraging us to read by asking the whole classroom to donate a book for the course, put it in a box with the others and then randomly pick up one of them each month — now that I think of it, the teacher should have payed more attention to the books we brought, since I don't think Faust was appropriate for a twelve-year-old. I chose, however, this play by Goethe, having no idea what it was about. And, well, I remained so for twelve years more, since I never read more than ten pages perhaps, until four days ago that I finally got a copy of it. Unlike many readers I know, I didn't acquire my taste for literature and reading from an early age; I didn't grew up reading stories and I didn't ever feel like I was immersed in a magic world of fantastic creatures and rainbows — what some people claim literature is about. Instead, I got interested in such delightful activities for two main reasons. One of them was that I was a Radiohead fan in high school and there's this song based on Orwell's 1984, but I was told that it was based on Animal Farm (false), so I thought it would be a good idea to read it. The other reason is that by this same time I took a philosophy course and I remember I was so amazed by Plato's allegory of the cave that I finally decided I wanted to know more about life, and I thought books had the answers of the many questions I asked myself and everything I wanted to know; that within their pages I was going to find the answer. Now that I've read a little bit more, I've come to realize that literature is such a passionate and sublime art indeed, but it hardly provides answers and it actually makes you question more and more — which is great, don't get me wrong, for it makes you try harder to think for yourself — but I'd say one answer makes two more questions. In this everlasting search for meaning I found myself in Dr. Heinrich Faust, the main character in this poetic play. Even though, unlike him, I haven't studied philosophy, medicine and theology with ardent zeal, I do feel like a wretched fool. I think Goethe's point was to make an emphasis in this lack of something in human understanding and that no matter how hard we try there'll be always something greater than us that we won't be able to understand with our minds designed for only three dimensions, like Ivan Karamazov said. It's important to take into consideration the fact that Goethe did believe in God, that for him, God was this higher being that begot mankind; but he was not in favor of the way the Church was organized; and both, believes and disbelieves are brought up to discussion throughout the whole play. He believed, for instance, that God made the Universe perfect and so did the Angels believed; but that's when Mephistopheles, the fallen angel, enters the scene, asking for permission to say a word. He says the Universe isn't perfect since Man still feels miserable. Then he makes a wager with God upon Faust's soul, with arguments based on the book of Job, that is, that if Faust's life is changed by blow after blow of tragedy, he would stop being God's faithful son, though unlike the Biblical character, who at the end realises about God's highness, in this play Faust seems to be more and more miserable. Also, there's the fact that in Job the fallen angel didn't exactly hang out with him, like Mephisto did with Faust. Thus, when the man's life comes to an end, he on whose side Faust is, will keep his soul. Therefore, there are many converging points in both books, but they differ from each other.

So Faust is a very learned man who has studied everything that ever existed, and yet he still feels he's missing something about existence, something that isn't written down in those books and that perhaps cannot be put to words. He even struggles while trying to translate the word logos in the Gospel of Luke: "In the beginning was the Word". He wonders whether it was the deed instead of the word, because he feels that words, literacy, do not lit his soul the way perhaps a passionate deed would. He then expresses the words that have become famous because of their depth and their importance in this work: 'Two souls, alas, dwell in my breast, each seeks to rule without the other.' Thus, he begins to look beyond theories and tries something new: magic and alchemy. I don't want to get into specific details about the plot,  but there's a point when he summons the Earth Spirit, something that according to some sources, was Goethe's own contribution to his supernatural play, being no former record of such a spirit either in Christianity or in pagan mythology — I think for Goethe, the Earth Spirit represented an instance of God, like when Moses saw the brush burned in fire. And it's the Spirit who lowers this learned man to his human condition, making him aware of his delimited understanding. Faust, however, persists and trying to prove his godliness, he tries to commit suicide, when suddenly the the church bells ring and an angelic choir from above is heard, announcing Christ's resurrection. Later in the play, Faust finds a lost poodle and takes it home, when suddenly the animal reshapes into Mephistopheles, who unlike the Earth Spirit, makes the doctor believe he can achieve anything if he stays with him and serves him when his soul leaves his body; to which Faust answers that little does he care for the afterlife when all he wants is to actually feel he's living this life. The agreement is settled with blood.

"Gray, my friend, is every theory,
and green alone life's golden tree."

Then at a witch's place, Faust sees a beautiful woman in the mirror and he asks Mephisto to grant him the wish of possessing so beautiful a woman and after some mumbo-jumbo by the witch, he takes a potion of sorts to achieve his passionate goals. Then he meets Gretchen, also known as Margaret, and that's what Faust's misery gets worse — and even worse for Gretchen, who before meeting Faust and his horrid companion was such a pure creature that at first Mephisto does not think he can get her. Eventually Gretchen is persuaded by Faust enchantments — of course, gotten by such a supernatural aid — but as her passion towards Faust increases, misfortune falls upon her family, until the final disgrace comes, before which Faust is ushered by Mephisto to the  Walpurus Night: an exotic event hosted by witches and having paganism as entertainment — I guess it's like the Super Bowl for witches. Later, we find out that during this exotic and frightful evening, Gretchen lost her mind after his brother, murder by Faust's evil companion, called her a whore in his last adieu, so she drowns her baby, is taken to prison and given a death sentence. Faust blames Mephistopheles for distracting him at the Walpurus Night instead of taking him to save Gretchen. This is when I realised Goethe used Mephisto to point out the flaws of our minds, sometimes in earnest, sometimes in jest, like people's tendency to blame external, sometimes supernatural causes for their mistakes. Gretchen's given the chance to scape prison helped by her lover and his friend, but instead of going evil ways, she chooses what would seem as tragedy and condemnation to some, like Mephistopheles, but under the gaze of the Heavenly, she's saved, leaving an open door for Faust to go the same way and make the right decision. I'm afraid Goethe wrote the second part until the last year of his life. The redirection of Margarete's path was perhaps inevitable once she entered Faust's toxic influence, but in the end she had the chance to choose either condemnation or salvation, and perhaps that's Goethe's main point: to remark virtue through iniquity. It works similarly, perhaps, as Milton did in his Paradise Lost. As a matter of fact, like the latter took the epic poems as notary influence, Shakespeare had the same kind of impact with the author of Faust — nonetheless, his gift and his technique stand on their own.

This is a must-read classic and it is one of those books I call a literary delight. But all the subjects I've tried (perhaps unsuccessfully) to expose in this review are precisely the reasons why I don't think Faust is a good choice for a twelve-year-old beginner. Not because of its difficulty, but I think as one grows older one has a better chance of appreciating Goethe's perfectly constructed verses, of having a different perspective upon all the sorrowful, theological, obscure and erotic points by him exposed. It's frightening yet beautiful; it's heavenly yet humane; it's a play and a poem. I'm not as learned as Doctor Faust, but I think I found in reading this book the kind of fervor he was looking for.

"I awake with horror in the morning,
and bitter tears well up in me
when I must face each day that in its course
cannot fulfill a single wish, not one!"

[Faust and the Earth Spirit. Illustrated by Goethe himself.]
Profile Image for Jonfaith.
1,891 reviews1,419 followers
February 25, 2016
Dear friend, all theory is gray, and green the golden tree of life.

What else to say? Towering as an archetype, akin to Hamlet, the Inferno and White Whale -- this tale of pact has been absorbed into a our cultural bones, like an isotope. It is more telling to consider that I listened to Tavener while reading this. I recently gave Pandora a spin but found that I owned more Schnittke than was afforded by my"station" but if I leave such, will I miss those Penn Station ads?

I will say that I should've read my Norton critical edition, well actually, my wife's copy -- the one I bought for her in Columbus, Ohio ten years ago. I went with a standard Penguin copy and I'm sure many of the historic references were lost for me.

No one should consider that I regard Faust as emblematic of power politics in the US or a possible Brexit across the water. I'm too feeble for such extrapolation.
Profile Image for Jimmy Cline.
150 reviews194 followers
December 4, 2013
There's something discomforting about the vague moral convictions of Goethe's Faust character. One would assume, that even a scholar living in Goethe's time would find the typical preoccupations of Christian morality somewhat boring, if not basically delusional and overzealous. After all, the cacophony of self-doubt racing through his mind is not initially brought on by anything that resembles religious guilt. He's a man plagued by the hermetic stuffiness of a lifestyle of perpetual deep thought. All of his forced questions about the complexity of the universe have not been adequately revealed to him in the immense amount of reading and study that he has undertaken throughout the course of his life. Something is missing. In the opening soliloquy he desperately gropes out loud in an attempt to locate the source of his emptiness. He intones ...

"What theatre! Oh, but nothing more.
Where can I grasp you, never-ending Nature?
Breasts, where? You founts of all of life,
That earth and heaven hang upon love
And where the parched soul craves to be,
You flow, you give to drink, but not to me."

Of course, much of this monologue does hint at the power that God might potentially have to grant this wish, but Goethe is ambiguous at best. In the beginning it's difficult to tell whether Faust harbors any faith in God. The question of God's abilities and/or existence is a concern of Faust's, but his frustrations and lamentations seem more bestial and secular in tone. Faust desires some sort of ineffable experience; he desires a base inflammation of the senses, most importantly of his own passion for life. It could be argued that Mephistopheles appears essentially because Faust desires to lose himself in sublime sinfulness. God might only show up to suggest that his mortal frustrations and complex questions can in fact be answered, but only by one book. More importantly, if it were for the grace of God's true presence in Faust's existence, his questions would abate under the reverent awe of his own faith. It's obviously not there.

It's at this point that Mephistopheles appears, offering what any average mortal would desire in the throes of their own suffering, brought on by an overwhelming abundance of probing, difficult questions; namely the earthly pleasures of amorous love. To be clear, Gretchen's character is offered to Faust to appease the longings of his heart more than that of his loins. Having the position and immortal power that Mephistopheles does, he understands that Faust will be more than willing to accept his wager. But, as most critics suggest, Mephistopheles also knows that a character such as Faust, despite not really being a man of faith, will ruin such an immediate route to happiness. Naturally, Gretchen detects the way in which this internal struggle of Faust's causes him to be so distant. Not only that, but she distrusts Mephistopheles, and is committed to God.

There is a clunky and somewhat fragmented quality to the way that Goethe presents many of the difficult concerns of Faust and his wager with Mephistopheles. Initially, he is so troubled, merely by the thought that all of his worldly academic efforts are made in vain. His frustration with the futility of his effort to enlighten himself and to better understand the beautiful complexity of the world, reaches a sort of peak, at which point he loses faith in virtually everything. At first amused by the idea of the very appearance of Mephistopheles, he's eventually perplexed by how effortlessly he can access the very happiness which he could hardly even give a name to. Is he, in this sense, troubled once again by the knowledge that he possesses, the knowledge of the disappointing outcome of his temporary pleasures? One could almost draw a parallel to Nietzsche's description of the existential frustration that cripples Shakespeare's Hamlet from acting on his anger due to the knowledge that he has of the awful situation occurring around him.

To an atheist, especially an academic one, virtually all of this might sound a little silly. The reality of the situation is that Mephistopheles is actually quite fun. As he says in response to Faust's question of who Mephistopheles is, "A part of the power who wills evil always but always works the good." He perplexes Faust by presenting himself as a merely a part of a duality that constitutes peoples paradoxical understanding of the wholeness of God. This might sound confusing to some, but what he's doing is mockingly suggesting to Faust that his attachment to traditional notions of sin and goodliness is ridiculous. Toward the end, Faust ignorantly insists that the wager is destined to end in despair and disappointment. Mephistopheles, already aware of how seemingly full of disappointment most mortal situations might appeal to human beings, basically has a little fun with Faust's misguided convictions of goodness. So then is this a tragedy? Toward the end of the first part of Goethe's morally confusing masterpiece, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that there is anything tragic about the fate of Faust.

Profile Image for Sahar.
186 reviews9 followers
November 11, 2020
اگه میتونستم مفیستوفلس رو ببینم چیکار میکردم
هزار بار از خدا چیزی خواستم و بهم نداده اگهمطمین بودم اون چیزی که میخوام رو بهم میده چیکار میکردم ؟
منم کاری که فاوست کرد رو میکردم
مهم نیست بعدش چی میشه ولی فکر کنم یه آرزو هایی ارزششو داره
(صوتیشو گوش دادم و الانم یه فیلم از ش دیدم که اصلاااا خوب نبودم و انگار یه فیلم صامت ازش هست که حالا میخوام اونو ببینم )
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,635 followers
February 27, 2017
Goethe's Faust, particularly the first part is one of the monuments of western literature. The characters of Mephisto, Faust and Margarite and unforgettable. It has, of course inspired operas from Berlioz to Busoni and books writers such as Thomas Mann. It was actually adapted from an earlier version by Christopher Marlowe but Goethe's version is even more sinister and lifelike. a Must!
Profile Image for Sophia.
25 reviews
October 12, 2007
Goethe’s Faust is a novel rich in metaphor, elaborate verse, imagery, depth, and meaning that not only employs symbolic characters and scenes, but also through such literary techniques weaves its main philosophy of striving and experience as mankind’s rightful path.

Ironically, Faust reveals his disapproval for books as a true source of knowledge in understanding the world; we must turn to life and living, and experience instead. I call this ironic because while he denounces books, Faust is a book. The text itself seems to imply that although it’s imbued with intense profundity, one must “live” it in order to truly understand it. That is to say, reading doesn’t do its inherent meaning justice.

This does not, however, mean that Goethe’s Faust is inaccessible and as useless as the moth and cobweb infested library of Faust’s room, instead, Goethe breaks this obstacle to grant the reader a qualitative experience of his philosophy that sidesteps the barriers of denotation. since Goethe presents us a Play as opposed to a documentation of thought on his philosophies, he doesn’t tell us about striving and experience, he shows us.
Profile Image for Canon.
691 reviews80 followers
May 16, 2022
"Just before dawn. A hundred feet below flows a pallid sheet of cloud, stretching west as far as they can see. Here are Slothrop and the apprentice witch Geli Tripping, standing up on top of the Brocken, the very plexus of German evil, twenty miles north by northwest of the Mittelwerke, waiting for the sun to rise... As the sunlight strikes their backs, coming in nearly flat on, it begins developing on the pearl cloudbank: two gigantic shadows... God-shadows... Never to look to a horizon and think that it might go on forever... only their deep images are left, haloed shells lying prone above the fogs men move in..." - Gravity's Rainbow 334-35

This scene from Gravity's Rainbow is not only a parody of Faust I's climatic Walpurgis Night celebration (night of April 30 through May 1), when, "according to legend, devils, witches, and other evil spirits congregate" on the Brocken peak of the Harz mountain range — it's also a profound commentary on Faust and the dream expressed in it of "total knowledge and power” combined with “a vision of transcendence." It is this cultural will to domination (not, interestingly, the witch's sabbath, which in Gravity's Rainbow is humorously depicted through the littered remains of a drunken orgy) that is the "plexus of German evil," a point underscored by the proximity of the Mittelwerke, where, with slave labor from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp, the V-2 rocket is being conjured for purposes of total power and death, the shadow of the Gods.

Faust craves the Sublime: "What we don't know is really what we need, / and what we know is of no use to us whatsoever," (1066-67). In a passage that happened to remind me of charismatic evangelicals of my acquaintance, Faust beholds an image of the macrocosm in a book and whips himself into an emotional frenzy — "Ha! A rush of bliss / flows suddenly through all my senses" (430-31) — believing that through this aesthetic image he has grasped the infinite Truth, which in turn elevates his own status and authority: "Am I a god? The light pervades me so!" (439). Yet the bliss of this masturbatory religious experience soon fades, and he must ruthlessly seek the next moment of transcendent fullness, bending others and the whole of reality to his will, with famously destructive consequences.

So: as these thoughts indicate, I enjoyed this immensely. Finally getting around to this "greatest work of German literature" etc., etc. — full of magnificent images from the sublime to the idyllic; occult mysteries and “other colorful abominations”; brilliant flashes of insight and erudition; tragic pathos, particularly with regards to Gretchen, and decidedly not with Faust; and unexpected humor and heated polemic — it didn’t disappoint. Mephistopheles’ cynical orations and retorts were perhaps the most interesting part for me.
Profile Image for Murray.
Author 151 books549 followers
February 3, 2023
Mephistopheles, that old devil, tempts Faust, who, in exchange for his soul, is granted the magic he believes will give him all the godlike power and love he craves.

This causes all sorts of destruction and heartbreak to those closest to him. Will he be damned and lose his soul? Only at the very end do we find out.

Years later Goethe added Act 2.

The story, originally written as a stage play, is firmly part of our mythology now. I suppose most cultures know something about it or have their own versions of it.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,599 reviews8,732 followers
January 4, 2013
Sitting on the shelf with the children of Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton and Coleridge, Goethe's Faust is amazing in its poetry and depth. There are parts of this play/poem which seem to capture the whole drama of Man's fall and redemption within a single rhyming couplet. David Constantine's translation modernizes this amazing piece of High German lit, but George Madison Priest's translation seems, at least to me, to have a more seductive flow and more tempting poetry.
Profile Image for Duffy Pratt.
485 reviews136 followers
February 22, 2012
Who knew that this book, one of the most famous in literature, was actually two separate works that seem only slightly related? I certainly didn't. The first part is a fairly ordinary play that gets dunked in profundity through the inclusion of Mephistopheles. There are only a few main characters here, and there wasn't much depth to any of them. I've heard that the German is tremendously good, but it's impossible for me to judge. I switched back and forth in this part between two different translations. I liked the free kindle version better than my Oxford edition, but I wasn't really taken in with the language of either, except in some small parts. On its own, I have to say that I enjoyed the first part.

The second part is unlike anything I've ever read. If I didn't know that it had been invented in my lifetime, I'd swear that Goethe got himself into some very, very fine LSD. It's very weird, jumps all over the place, and gives the impression that anything, no matter how fantastical, could be made to occur. It feels like it could never be produced as a play. There are way too many speakers -- I hesitate to call any of them characters. In this second part, a mood might start talking, or a mythological creature, or an inanimate object, or anything at all for that matter. And I have no idea how, if staged, anyone would know which "character" was speaking at any time. (Unless, like in a childrens play, Thales or Speed-Booty, wore a placard saying who he was.)

The stage directions can be just as dumbfounding. At one point, one direction says: "To the younger members of the audience who did not applaud." Now how exactly is one supposed to pull that direction off in a manner that is at all intelligible? What if the entire audience applauded? It is one of the stranger directions I've ever seen in a play, and it made me think that Goethe may have been over a hundred years ahead of his time. Or maybe he just realized that this was a "play" that would only ever be read, and he was just having some fun with the directions.

Ultimately, this work is a long piece of lyric poetry, and I'm willing to accept that in German it is remarkably great poetry. I suppose that people who don't speak English might have just as hard a time figuring out what's so great about Shakespeare, and that makes me sad. But, reading Proust made me decide to learn French. I never felt anything like that tug towards German while reading Faust.
Profile Image for Najla Hammad.
167 reviews560 followers
December 31, 2014
من أجمل ماقرأت من المسرحيات ! تعد هذه المسرحية من أعظم الأعمال في الأدب الألماني.
عن فاوست العالِم الذي يحب أن يتعلم كل شيء (وهو بالمناسبة شخصية حقيقية ذكرت في كثير من القصص الأوروبية القديمة)، يتعاقد مع الشيطان على شرط ثم تحصل بعدها أحداث كثيرة ممتعة بنكهة شيطانية
الشيطان مفستوفيليس هنا حكيم ومضحك في أحيان كثيرة
كتب جوته الجزء الأول من المسرحية ثم تبعها بالجزء الثاني بعد أكثر من 20 سنة! لم اقرأ الجزء الثاني بعد، وأرجو أن يكون في مستوى الجزء الأول أو أفضل منه.
قرأتها بترجمة عبدالرحمن بدوي
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