Summary and Analysis Part 1: A Street



Later, on the street of a typical German town, Faust sees Margareta (usually called Gretchen, her nickname in German), recognizes the maiden of his vision, and develops a great passion for her. He tries to strike up a conversation, but Gretchen refuses to respond to his advances and walks away.

When Mephistopheles joins him, Faust excitedly describes Gretchen's youthful beauty and asks the devil to get her for him. Mephisto replies that he has no power over Gretchen because of her innocence and piety. Undaunted, Faust boasts that he will seduce her without help and asks Mephistopheles to cooperate by getting him jewelry and other expensive gifts for the girl.


In this scene Faust's sordid lust is contrasted with Gretchen's chastity and feminine warmth. As their romance progresses in the remaining episodes of Part One, Gretchen will develop into a character of genuine tragic stature.