Faust and the Juxtaposition of Good and Evil

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In “Faust Part One”, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, uses different characters in his play, like God, Mephistopheles, and Gretchen to portray the juxtaposition of good and bad. We are introduced to Faust, who as a mere human makes mistakes throughout the play under some influence of the devil. Therefore it is difficult to write him off as a completely evil being. However, Destro’s argument is extremely useful in helping to interpret Faust’s character in a very levelheaded manner. Destro believes that Faust is a tragic hero for the purposes of the play, but as a person Faust is bad because of his actions and lack of enlightenment up until the near end of his life. Faust was a very selfish character who caused death and despair because of his carelessness; and for that he is bad. Although Faust does show feelings of remorse and guilt in the dungeon scene, for majority of the play, he is flawed and though Mephistopheles manipulated him, Faust had the power to maintain control over his own actions and urges therefore he is a bad or negative character.

Faust is a fairly troubled individual. That is a major part of the play. Faust is not like typical humans of his time; he is very curious, self-righteous and extreme and as Destro says, Faust has his own interpretation of morality that are not exactly typical (Page 60). Which helps the reader to understand Faust’s character can be seen as “highly problematic” from an “ordinary moral point of view” which is why Faust, regardless of his guilt will never fully change and the pursuit of trying to gain moral clarity and substance will lead to nowhere because he is already very flawed (Destro 60). Essentially, Destro means that Faust was doomed because of his personal views and his desire to ga...

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...ity in hell, unable to ever experience love again.

Works Cited

1. Andre, Alt, Peter. "Mephistopheles' Principles: On the Construction of Evil in Goethe's Faust I." Modern Language Review Vol. 6.1 (2011): 149-63. Print.

2. Destro, Alberto==. "The Guilty Hero, or the Tragic Salvation of Faust." A Companion to Goethe's Faust: Parts II and I. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2001. 56-75. Print.

3. Colavito, Carl N. Educating for Democracy: Lessons from Goethe's 'Faust' Colavito, Carl Nicholas. Diss. University of Florida, 2010. Miami: Dissertation Abstract, 2010. Print.

4. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von, and Peter Salm. Faust, First Part. New York: Bantam, 1962. Print.

5. Murray, Chris. "Review Essay: 'Give It Up in Despair': Coleridge and Goethe's Faust."Romanticism: The Journal of Romantic Culture and Criticism Vol 15.1 (2009): 1-15. Print.