In the beginning of Goethe’s Faust, a bet is made between God and Mephistopheles, a character that some consider to be the Devil. Mephistopheles says that Faust, the doctor, will fall and God says in lines 15-16, “If today he’s still confused, a soul astray, my light shall lead him into a true way.” Soon Mephistopheles has to do anything for Faust if Faust, in return, gives Mephisto his soul. Although Faust, throughout the play, is irritated with Mephistopheles, he feels like it is also necessary to have around because he needs him to have a fulfilling life. Faust discovers in the end that he doesn’t want to be a bad guy and therefore triumphs over Mephistopheles and God wins the bet.
When the pact is first on, Faust doesn’t seem to care about his soul or his life. He is Mephisto’s sidekick for lack of anything better to do. In lines 1676-1678, Faust says, “If you pull this world down over my ears…who cares?” Faust sees himself as better than God, so therefore not worried about his welfare. In the scene, “Night”, Faust even tried to kill himself. As the twosome begin hanging out together, Faust seems bored with all that Mephistopheles shows him. In lines 2377-2383 Faust says, “Are you telling me that I’ll learn to be a new man stumbling around in this lunatic confusion?…If you can do no better, the outlook is black for me, the hopes I nursed are already dead.”
Faust suddenly starts taking interest when he lays eyes on Gretchen, a beautiful, poor, good, and modest young woman. Although Mephistopheles doesn’t approve of pursuing the girl, he must do what Faust orders him to or he’ll lose Faust’s soul. So, Mephisto does what Faust says, although reluctantly. “Aren’t you fed up with it by now, this mooning about? How can it still amuse you? You do it for a while, all right; but enough’s enough, on to the new!” Mephisto says in lines 3310-3313. Throughout the rest of the play, Mephisto tries to talk Faust out of some ideas, but he always gives into him, so Faust doesn’t call off the pact, and Mephistopheles doesn’t lose his bet with God.
In “An Overcast Day, A Field” Faust finds out that he got Gretchen pregnant, and that she’s in jail.
The Ultimate Sin Exposed in Geothe’s Faust
Geothe’s Faust is similar in many ways to both Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost. The obvious similarity is how each work relates to evil or Hell. Other similarities include how the villains of two of these epics are the most likable characters, and the use of classical and Christian mythology in each poem. Faust deals with evil when he makes a deal with Mephistopheles, or Satan. This deal is that Mephistopheles will give Faust whatever he wants in return for his (Faust’s) soul. Inferno is a journey through Hell. Dante is being lead by his guide, Virgil, through the icy parts of Hell, to the center of the earth, while he climbs up Satan’s legs into Heaven. Paradise Lost is about how Satan is newly cast out of Heaven and just getting used to his surroundings, which is a more traditional furnace-like Hell unlike the one in Inferno.
Mephistopheles, who is supposedly Satan, in Faust, and the Satan portrayed in Paradise Lost are the most likable characters in these plays. Faust seems like more of a villain than Mephistopheles, which is very ironic. Satan is made out to be an evil, manipulating demon, but Mephistopheles is not really like that. He does manipulate Faust in some ways, like with the contract of Faust selling his soul, but Mephistopheles has little more power than a regular person. Also, in the beginning of the play, when he talks to The Lord, he doesn’t act serious at all. He actually tells The Lord that he likes Sunday’s because of the “peace and quiet”. In Paradise Lost, Satan makes God look more evil than (Satan) himself. Satan implies that God is some kind of slave driver, and that it would be “better to reign in Hell then serve in Heaven”. They are considered the more likable characters becau…
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…your willingness to ask for forgiveness) and deeds you have done. He also uses symbolism through characters in the work to express the nature of man. He implies that man has the power to know the difference and choose between good and evil but because man is imperfect he is bound to makes mistakes. He implies that since the ultimate sin is placing yourself on a level equal to God, pious persons who judge other people, thinking that they are higher than them are placing themselves dangerously close to being equal with God in their assumption they have the power to judge people. This shows hypocrisy because these people believe that they are following God exactly but in effect they are taking it too far and committing one of the worst sins you can commit. Geothe seems to imply all of these things and more based on your personal interpretation of the work.