Faust 1 was a real person, and although he lived from about
(1480-1540), he was probably almost as modern a person as we are today. He was known as a magician and black artist. He led
an extravagant, amoral life and spent his time as a professor, medical doctor, alchemist, astrologer and magician. You have
to understand, that in this time enlightenment was just making its hold, and born as the son of a poor farmer, Faust became
intrigued with the riches he, a poor boy, could obtain through the university. The university gave the poor a chance to aspire,
a chance to become wealthy and make a name. He was rumored also to be in league with the devil, and he never, ever, spoke
out against this claim. In fact...he ENCOURAGED this rumor. And there are other "weird" things about him...such as bringing
his cook various birds to prepare for eating, the likes of which no one had ever seen before. And his death is still an unknown
subject. He was a mystery even to those lived in his time.
There are other Faust stories besides Goethe's. The earliest
ones do not portray Faust as being a poor soul torn between goodness and temptation, but as simply being a completely greedy
man who forsakes God and ends up being torn apart with his brain matter splattered along the walls by the devil at the end
of the story. Goethe's Faust was much different, and reveals to us a different side of Faust, the side that had remorse and
guilt and compassion. Throughout Goethe's Faust we see Fausts inner struggle within his double sided nature: for example in
one part of the book he commands Mephistopheles (a servant of the devil) to GIVE him Gretchen(Margarete)...a young lady who
has caught his eye. In a later part, he stops to question himself...knowing it is wrong to meet with this young lady and knowing
it is wrong to seduce her. At the end of this story, all those that Faust brings to downfall (including himself) are in the
end forgiven by God.
Hence you see how he was a very modern man, as many of us today have this...dare I use the word..."Angst"
in our souls, and we strive and hunger for things, sometimes not even knowing what. And to get those things, be them money,
prestige, popularity, we tend to hurt or use everyone and thing around us if we are not careful. We are torn by what we should
do, and what we desire. Hence, Faust in all ways made a huge impact on the society of his time, and his legend is still alive
to us today in works that stem from him...such as our most esteemed Faust 8.