The tragedy is opened with three introductory texts. The first is a lyrical dedication to friends of youth – those with whom the author was associated in the beginning of work on “Faust” and who has already died or is in the distance. “I again remember everyone who lived that radiant at noon”.
Then follows “Theatrical introduction”. In a conversation with the Director of the Theater, the Poet and the Comic Actor, the problems of artistic creativity are discussed. Should art serve an idle crowd or be faithful to its high and eternal destiny? How to combine true poetry and success? Here, as well as in Initiation, the motif of transience of time and the irretrievably lost youth, which feeds creative inspiration, sounds.
The problematic of “heaven, earth and hell”, designated in one line, develops in the “Prologue in Heaven” – where the Lord, Archangels and Mephistopheles are already acting, Archangels singing glory to the deeds of God, cease at the appearance of Mephistopheles, which from the very first remark – “To you I got, God, to the reception… “- as if bewitching his skeptical charm. In the conversation, for the first time, the name of Faust sounds, which God cites as an example of his faithful and naive slave. Mephistopheles agrees that “this Aesculapius” “and is eager to fight, and likes to take obstacles, and sees a goal that beckons in the distance, and demands from the sky stars in reward and the best pleasures of the earth,” – noting the contradictory dual nature of the scientist. God permits Mephistopheles to expose Faust to any temptation, to bring him down into any abyss, that the flair will lead Faust out of the impasse.
… The one about whom this dispute is concluded, spends the night without sleep in a tight Gothic room with a vaulted ceiling. In this working cell for many long years of hard work Faust comprehended all the earthly wisdom. Then he dared to encroach on the mysteries of supernatural phenomena, turned to magic and alchemy. However, instead of satisfying himself in the declining years, he feels only a spiritual emptiness and pain from the vanity of his deed. “I learned theology with a theology, I poured over philosophy, I studied jurisprudence and studied medicine, but at the same time I was and always was a fool” – he begins his first monologue. The mind of Faust, unusual in strength and depth, is marked with fearlessness before the truth. He is not deluded by illusions, and therefore he mercilessly sees how limited the possibilities of knowledge are, how the riddles of the universe and nature are incommensurable with the fruits of scientific experience. He laughed at the praise of Wagner’s assistant. This pedant is willing to diligently gnaw the granite of science and puff over the parchment, without thinking about the cornerstone problems tormenting Faust. “The charm of this boring, unbearable, limited schoolboy will scatter the whole charm!” – the heart speaks about Wagner scientist. When Wagner says in his arrogant stupidity that a man has grown to know the answer to all his riddles, the irritated Faust stops the conversation. Left alone, the scientist again plunges into a state of gloomy despair. The bitterness of knowing that life has passed in the dust of empty occupations, among the bookshelves, bottles and retort, leads Faust to a terrible decision – he is preparing to drink poison to finish the earth’s share and merge with the universe. But the moment he brings a poisoned glass to his lips, there is a bell ringing and choral singing. The night of Holy Easter is on, the Blagovest saves Faust from suicide. “I am returned to the earth, thank you for this, holy canticles!”
The next morning together with Wagner they pour into the crowd of the festive people. All the surrounding inhabitants revere Faust: both he himself and his father tirelessly treated people, saving them from serious illnesses. The doctor did not frighten neither the plague nor the plague, he did not flinch, he went into the infected barrack. Now simple townspeople and peasants bow to him and give way. But this sincere confession does not please the hero. He does not overestimate his own merits. On a walk to them a black poodle is beaten, which Faust then leads to his home. Seeking to overcome the lack of will and the decline of the spirit that possessed him, the hero accepts the translation of the New Testament. Rejecting several variants of the initial line, he dwells on the interpretation of the Greek “logos” as a “matter”, not a “word”, making sure: “In the beginning it was a matter,” the verse states. However, the dog distracts him from classes. Finally, she turns into Mephistopheles, who for the first time appears to Faust in the clothes of a traveling student.
On the guarded question of the owner about the name, the guest replies that he is “part of the strength of that which does good without a number, wishing evil to all.” The new interlocutor, unlike the dull Wagner, is equal to Faust in the mind and strength of insight. The guest condescendingly and sarcastically chuckles at the weaknesses of human nature, over the human lot, as if penetrating into the very heart of the torment of Faust. Intrigued by the scientist and taking advantage of his slumber, Mephistopheles disappears. The next time he appears smartly dressed and immediately invites Faust to dispel anguish. He persuades the old hermit to put on a bright dress and in this “clothing, typical of the races, to find out after a long fast, which means life is full.” If the pleasure offered captures Faust so much that he asks to stop the moment, he will become the prey of Mephistopheles, his slave.
So, the scenery of this tragedy is the earth, heaven and hell, its directors are God and the devil, and their assistants are numerous spirits and angels, witches and demons, representatives of light and darkness in their endless interaction and confrontation. How tempting in his mocking omnipotence is the chief tempter – in a golden camisole, in a hat with a cock feather, with a draped hoof on his leg, which makes him slightly limp! But his companion, Faust, is a match for him – now he is young, handsome, full of strength and desires. He tasted the potions, cooked by a witch, after which his blood boiled. He does not know more hesitations in his determination to comprehend all the secrets of life and the pursuit of higher happiness.
What temptations did his lame companion prepare for the fearless experimenter? Here is the first temptation. She is called Margaret, or Gretchen, she is fifteen, and she is as innocent and pure as a child. She grew up in a miserly town, where at the well gossips gossip about everyone and everything. He and his mother buried his father. My brother serves in the army, and the younger sister, whom Gretchen nursed, recently died. There is no maid in the house, so all household and garden matters are on her shoulders. “But how sweet is the eaten piece, how expensive is rest and how deep the dream is!” This here unsophisticated soul was destined to confuse the wise Faust. When she met the girl on the street, he flushed to her with an insane passion. The devil divider immediately offered his services – and now Marguerite meets Faust with equally fervent love. Mephistopheles encourages Faust to bring the matter to an end, and he can not resist it. He meets Margarita in the garden. One can only guess what kind of whirlwind rages in her chest, how immensely her feeling, if she – before that righteousness, meekness and obedience – is not just given to Faust, but also lulls a strict mother on his advice so that she does not interfere with the dates.
Why does Faust attract this particular commoner, naive, young and inexperienced? Perhaps, with it, does he acquire a sense of earthly beauty, good and truth, which he had previously sought? For all her inexperience, Margarita is endowed with spiritual vigilance and an impeccable sense of truth. She immediately discerns a messenger of evil in Mephistopheles and languishes in his company. “Oh, sensitivity of angelic conjectures!” – Faustus drops.
Love gives them blinding bliss, but it also causes a chain of misfortunes. Accidentally brother Margarita Valentine, passing by her window, ran into a couple of “boyfriends” and immediately rushed to fight with them. Mephistopheles did not back down and drew his sword. On the sign of the devil Faust also got involved in this fight and stabbed his brother beloved. Dying, Valentine cursed his sister-reveler, betraying her to universal shame. Faust did not immediately find out about her further troubles. He fled from the payment for the murder, hurrying out of the city after his counselor. And what about Margarita? It turns out that she involuntarily killed her mother, because she once did not wake up after a sleepy potion. Later, she gave birth to a daughter – and drowned her in the river, fleeing from worldly wrath. Kara did not pass her – an abandoned lover, branded as a harlot and a murderer, she is imprisoned and awaits execution in pads.
Her favorite is far away. No, not in her arms, he asked for a moment to wait. Now, along with the inevitable Mephistopheles, he rushes not to somewhere, but to Brocken himself – on this mountain in the Walpurgis night begins the coven of witches. Around the hero reigns a true bacchanalia – past the witches, echoes of demons, kikimors and devils echo, everything is embroiled in revelry, teasing the elements of vice and fornication. Faust does not fear the swarming all around with evil spirits, which manifests itself in all the many-voiced revelation of shamelessness. This is the breathtaking Satan ball. And now Faust chooses here the beauty of a younger woman, with whom she starts dancing. He leaves it only when a pink mouse suddenly jumps out of her mouth. “Thank you, that the mouse is not gray, and do not grieve about it so deeply,” Mephistopheles condescendingly comments on his complaint.
However, Faust does not listen to him. In one of the shadows, he guessed Margarita. He sees her imprisoned in a dungeon, with a terrible bloody scar on her neck, and becomes cold. Rushing to the devil, he demands to save the girl. He objects: did not Faust himself appear as her seducer and executioner? The hero does not want to hesitate. Mephistopheles promises to finally put him to sleep and enter the prison. Jumping on their horses, two conspirators rush back to the city. They are accompanied by witches, who sense a speedy death on the scaffold.
The last meeting between Faust and Margarita is one of the most tragic and penetrating pages of world poetry.
Having drunk all the boundless humiliation of public shame and suffering from her committed sins, Margarita lost her reason. She is barefoot, barefoot, she sings childish songs in prison and shudders from every rustle. When Faust appears, she does not recognize him and cringes on the mat. He listens desperately to her insane speeches. She babbles something about the ruined baby, begs not to lead her under the ax. Faust rushes before the girl on her knees, calls her by name, breaks her chains. Finally she realizes that before her friend. “Do not you dare believe my ears, where is he?” Hurry to his neck, quickly, quickly to his chest, through the darkness of the dungeon, inconsolable, through the flames of infernal darkness, pitch-black, and hooting and howling… “
She does not believe her happiness, the one that is saved. Faust is feverishly urging her to leave the prison and flee. But Margarita hesitates, plaintively asks to caress her, reproaches him for not being used to it, “forgot how to kiss” … Faust again pulls her and conjures to hurry. Then the girl suddenly starts to remember her mortal sins – and the simple simplicity of her words makes Faust cold with a terrible foreboding. “I put my mother to death, her daughter drowned in a pond, God thought it our luck to give, but gave it to him.” Interrupting the objections of Faust, Margarita passes to the last covenant. He, his coveted, must stay alive to dig up three pits on the slope of the day: for the mother, for the brother, and the third for me. My digging aside, close to me and put the child close to my chest. ” Margarita again begins to pursue the images of the victims through her fault – she imagines a trembling baby she drowned, a sleepy mother on a hill… She tells Faust that there is no worse fate than “wobbling with the conscience of the sick,” and refuses to leave the dungeon. Faust rushes to stay with her, but the girl chases him. Appeared in the doorway Mephistopheles urges Faust. They leave the prison, leaving Margarita alone. Before leaving Mephistopheles throws, that Margarita is condemned to torment as a sinner. However, a voice from above corrects him: “Saved.” Having preferred martyrdom, God’s judgment and sincere repentance to escape, the girl saved her soul. She refused the services of the devil. God’s judgment and sincere repentance escape, the girl saved her soul. She refused the services of the devil. God’s judgment and sincere repentance escape, the girl saved her soul. She refused the services of the devil.
At the beginning of the second part, we find Faust, forgotten on a green meadow in an uneasy sleep. Flying forest spirits give peace and oblivion to his soul, torn with remorse. After a while he wakes up healed, watching the sunrise. His first words are addressed to a dazzling light. Now Faust understands that the disproportionate purpose of a person’s capabilities can destroy, like the sun, if you look at him point-blank. He is pleased with the image of the rainbow, “which plays a seven-color variation in permanence.” Having gained new strength in unity with the beautiful nature, the hero continues climbing along a steep spiral of experience.
This time, Mephistopheles brings Faust to the Imperial Court. In the state where they got, there is discord due to the impoverishment of the treasury. Nobody knows how to fix it, except Mephistopheles, who pretended to be a jester. The tempter is developing a plan for replenishing the money reserves, which soon brilliantly realizes. He issues securities, the pledge of which proclaims the content of the earth’s interior. The devil assures us that there is a lot of gold in the earth, which sooner or later will be found, and this will cover the cost of securities. The duped population willingly buys shares, “and money flowed from the purse to the vintner, to the butcher’s shop.” Half of the world was washed down, and the tailor’s other half sews the renovation. ” It is clear that the bitter fruits of the scam sooner or later will affect, but while the court reigns euphoria, a ball is arranged, and Faust as one of the sorcerers enjoys unprecedented honor.
Mephistopheles hands him a magic key, giving the opportunity to penetrate into the world of pagan gods and heroes. Faust leads the ball to the emperor Paris and Elena, personifying the male and female beauty. When Elena appears in the hall, some of the present ladies make criticisms of her. “Slim, large, and the head is small… The foot is disproportionately heavy…” However, Faust feels with all his being that he is in front of him a cherished spiritual and aesthetic ideal. Blinding beauty of Helen, he compares with the gushing stream of radiance. “As the world is dear to me, as for the first time full, attracted, refined, indefinite!” However, his desire to keep Elena out does not work. The image fades and disappears, an explosion is heard, Faust falls to the ground.
Now the hero is obsessed with the idea of finding the beautiful Elena. It is waited a long way through the series of eras. This path runs through his former work shop, where he will transfer it to oblivion Mephistopheles. We again meet with the earnest Wagner, waiting for the return of the teacher. This time the learned pedant is busy creating an artificial man in the flask, firmly believing that “the former children are an attachment – for us the absurdity put in the archive.” In the eyes of the grinning Mephistopheles, a Homunculus is born from the flask, suffering from the duality of its own nature.
When at last the stubborn Faust finds the beautiful Helen and unites with her and they have a child marked by genius-Goethe put in his image the features of Byron-the contrast between this beautiful fruit of living love and the unhappy Homunculus will manifest itself with special force. However, the beautiful Euphorion, the son of Faust and Elena, will not long live on earth. He is attracted by the struggle and challenge to the elements. “I’m not an outsider, but a participant in earthly battles,” he tells his parents. He is carried away and disappears, leaving a glowing trace in the air. Elena embraces Faustus at parting and remarks: “On me old words come true, that happiness with beauty does not get along…” In the hands of Faust, only her clothes remain – the corporeal disappears, as if signifying the transient nature of absolute beauty.
Mephistopheles in seven-mile boots returns the hero from the harmonious pagan antiquity to his native Middle Ages. He offers Faust various options for how to achieve fame and recognition, but he rejects them and talks about his own plan. From the air, he noticed a large piece of land, which annually floods the tide, depriving the land of fertility, Faustus owns the idea to build a dam, “at any cost in the abyss a piece of land to win.” Mephistopheles, however, objected that while it was necessary to help their familiar emperor, who after deception with securities, having lived a little bit, was faced with the threat of losing the throne. Faust and Mephistopheles lead a military operation against the enemies of the emperor and gain a brilliant victory.
Now Faust yearns to begin to realize his cherished plan, but he is hampered by a trifle. At the site of the future dam is the hut of the old poor – Philemon and Baucis. Stubborn old men do not want to change their homes, although Faust offered them another shelter. In angry impatience he asks the devil to help him deal with the stubborn. As a result, the unfortunate couple – and with them and the guest-wanderer who has glanced at them – is comprehended by ruthless reprisals. Mephistopheles with guards kill the guest, the old people die of shock, and the hut is engaged in a flame from an accidental spark. Experiencing once again the bitterness from the irreparability of what happened, Faustus exclaims: “I offered me a change, not violence, not robbery.” For deafness to my words, damn you, curse you! “
He is tired. He is old again and feels that life is coming to an end again. All his aspirations are now concentrated in achieving the dream of a dam. Another blow awaits him – Faust is blind. It is full of night darkness. However, he discerns the sound of shovels, movement, voices. He is possessed by a frantic joy and energy – he understands that the cherished goal is already shining. The hero begins to give feverish commands: “Get up to work in a friendly crowd! Disband the chain, where I point.” Picks, shovels, wheelbarrows to diggers! Align the shaft according to the drawing! “
To the visually impaired, Faust was unaware that Mephistopheles had played a tricky thing with him. Around Faust, not builders are swarming in the earth, but lemurs, evil spirits. On the orders of the devil, they dig Faust’s grave. The hero, meanwhile, is full of happiness. In a spiritual impulse, he utters his last monologue, where he concentrates the experience gained on the tragic path of knowledge. Now he understands that it is not power, not wealth, not glory, not even the possession of the most beautiful woman on earth, that gives a truly supreme moment of existence. Only a common act, equally necessary to all and realized by everyone, can give life a higher completeness. So the semantic bridge extends to the discovery made by Faust even before Mephistopheles: “In the beginning it was a matter.” He understands, “only he who has been battled for life by life, has earned his life and freedom”. Faust utters secret words about how, that he is experiencing his highest moment and that “the people free on earth free” seems to him such a grandiose picture that he could stop this moment. Immediately his life stops. He falls backward. Mephistopheles looks forward to the moment when by right will take possession of his soul. But at the last minute angels take the soul of Faust right in front of the devil’s nose. For the first time Mephistopheles’s self-control changes, he raves and curses himself.
The soul of Faust is saved, which means that his life is finally justified. Beyond the boundary of earthly existence, his soul meets the soul of Gretchen, who becomes his guide in another world.
… Goethe finished “Faust” just before his death. “Forming as a cloud,” according to the writer, this plan accompanied him all his life.