Faust, Parts 1 and 2 By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Summary and Analysis Part 1: A Summer-House

Summary

In a sheltered bower in the garden, possibly a few days later, Faust and Gretchen kiss and pledge their newly discovered love for each other. Mephistopheles and Martha interrupt them and say it is time for the men to leave. Gretchen does not allow Faust to escort her home because she fears her mother's disapproval, but she promises to meet him again. After he has gone, Gretchen wonders whether it can be true that a gentleman like Faust really loves a simple girl like herself.

Analysis

Some editions of Faust do not separate the last scene from the one preceding it, but it seems justified by the implications in the conversation that there has been a short lapse of time between them. This scene is the culmination of the first stage of Faust's romance. At this point he is unable to decide whether love or lust is dominating his actions, but it is no longer possible for Faust or Gretchen to turn back now, whatever his decision. Because of the submissive character of her love for Faust, Gretchen's future is entirely in his hands. This scene also establishes the conventionality of Gretchen's mother, a factor which will be a partial cause of unfortunate events later on in the story.

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At the beginning of Part Two, what solution does Mephistopheles, dressed as a jester, give for the kingdom's financial problems?




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