Summary and Analysis Part 2: Act V: Midnight



Immediately afterwards, while alone in his room, Faust is accosted by four grey hags who have risen from the smoke of the burning cottage. They are Want, Debt, Distress, and Care. The first three cannot reach him, but he is unable to resist Care, who warns him of the coming of her brother Death. In his conversation with Care, Faust tells her that he cannot become free until he releases himself from his dependence on Mephisto's magic power. He also says that he has learned that man should be concerned only with what is legitimately attainable in human life and should not seek after impossible things. Care tells Faust that man is unable to find peace in life, but she is unable to frighten him. In a final effort to weaken his resolution she breathes on him and makes him blind, but Faust remains determined to complete his great project in the short time left before his death.


Faust has been rapidly coming to a state of moral regeneration as a result of meditations on his experiences caused by the needless deaths of Philemon and Baucis. Care's visit was an unsuccessful effort to deflect him from such thoughts. Faust's loss of sight does not alter his resolution to complete his task because he is now concerned only with spiritual and not material or physical things. He has at last rejected his constant obsession about his own destiny, and by so doing has begun to find himself through service to others and active leadership in humanity's struggle to build a better world.