Summary and Analysis Part 2: Act IV: Mountain Foothills



The Emperor and his officers are in their headquarters discussing their dangerous position. Just as the Emperor turns the command of the army over to a more competent aide, Faust enters the royal tent and offers his assistance. He promises to help win the battle with the aid of his friends. The offer is accepted, the battle is fought, and the Emperor's forces are victorious. Mephisto and his magic play an important part in winning the victory.


Faust's wise assignments during the battle of the Three Mighty Men, who represent Youth, Maturity, and Old Age, shows that all human talents are useful if well organized. The victory is won with the aid of Mephisto's magic, by virtue of which Nature is made to fight alongside the Emperor's army. This symbolizes Goethe's belief in the natural vitality of the Germanic peoples, and again asserts the beneficial uses to which destructive or neutral forces can be put by wise and systematic planning.