Faust. First Part - Night and Outside the Town Wall Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Faust. First Part.
This section contains 517 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Night and Outside the Town Wall Summary

The play opens with Faust in his study reviewing his great knowledge but finding that his studies have all been fruitless. Since he has gained no fame or wealth from his knowledge Faust decides to turn to magic in order to determine the secrets of the world. He feels cramped by his study and the small world that his brain by itself can grasp and desires the freedom that witchcraft will bring. As Faust begins his studies into witchcraft and conjures his first spirit, he is interrupted by Wagner, a young man who studies under Faust. He has heard the cries and believes Faust is reading a play. Wagner wishes to share the experience with Faust. Wagner and Faust converse for awhile with Faust trying to steer Wagner away from a career in knowledge. Wagner finally leaves Faust alone with his thoughts. Faust is in deep despair wondering why he was not able to get though to Wagner. He also doubts his relationship with God. He feels that he is a worm rather than a creature made in God's image. Faust finally decides the call of dust, or death, is stronger than that of life. He is on the verge of drinking poison when he hears the songs of Easter morning. Although Faust fights against the influence of the hymns being sung, he finds his faith being renewed by the choruses.

At the opening of "Outside the Town Wall" a group of townspeople enjoy the Easter holiday and walk in the country. Faust and Wagner join this group of festive people. Faust marvels that in the same way the Lord was set free from death; the people are set free by the coming of spring. Wagner, however, marvels at the way the people react to Faust as they walk along together. In his feelings of unimportance, Faust feels as if he is being mocked by his admirers. At the close of this scene, Faust and Wagner are approached by a black poodle. The sight of this dog troubles Faust greatly because he believes it is a phantom or evil spirit.

Night and Outside the Town Wall Analysis

Faust's discouragement and depressed spirit make easy targets for the Mephistopheles' coming attacks. At one point he is so overcome by the hopelessness he feels that he it about to commit suicide. Note that it is the chorus of the Easter holidays and the renewed faith they bring to Faust that keeps him from killing himself. Although he does find the faith necessary to keep himself from death, however, Faust is still highly depressed during his walk with Wagner. Wagner's thirst for knowledge and reverence for Faust further irritate Faust and contribute to his melancholy mood. It is the point at which Faust is highly depressed and vulnerable to Mephistopheles' interference that this devil appears to him in the form of a black poodle. Note that Faust is first afraid of this dog and believes it is an evil spirit until Wagner convinces him differently.

This section contains 517 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Faust. First Part from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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