Faust. First Part - Study Guide Evening, A Promenade, and The Neighbor's House Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 25 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Faust. First Part.
This section contains 775 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Evening, A Promenade, and The Neighbor's House Summary

The scene "Evening" opens as Gretchen prepares to leave her room. She wonders to herself about Faust's identity and admits she was attracted to him. Gretchen leaves her room as Faust and Mephistopheles enter. Faust begs Mephistopheles to leave him alone in Gretchen's room. Faust explores the room, visualizing Gretchen growing up in these surroundings. After some time Mephistopheles returns to make Faust leave before Gretchen comes back. While he is there, Mephistopheles leaves a box of jewelry in Gretchen's cabinet. They leave the room just as Gretchen enters.

Gretchen notices the room is warm and opens a window. She also suddenly feels uneasy and hopes her mother will be home soon. As she undresses for bed she finds the box of jewelry in her cupboard. She is awed by the jewels and wonders how they got there. Gretchen wants to keep the jewelry believing it makes her more beautiful. She admits to herself that she believes people only tell her she is pretty out of pity for her lack of wealth.

In the following scene Mephistopheles fumes over the fate of his jewels. It appears Gretchen showed the jewelry to her mother who made the girl give them to their priest. Mephistopheles explains to Faust that Gretchen's mother has a keen nose for sniffing out nonspiritual things. The mother senses from the start the jewels came from evil means so she calls the priest to take them away. The mother is happy with the priest's promise of heavenly riches while Gretchen is confused by the circumstances. She believes they were sent by a kind person, yet her mother believes this person to be evil. Faust convinces Mephistopheles to arrange for another case of jewels to be left in Gretchen's room.

Gretchen's neighbor Martha talks to herself about her abusive husband. She believes him to be dead but has no certificate to prove this suspicion. As she talks, Gretchen enters Martha's house with a second box of jewelry. Martha looks at the jewelry and advises Gretchen not to show these to her mother. Martha suggests that Gretchen might try wearing them occasionally and introducing them slowly so as not to arouse suspicion. Even Martha admits, however, there is something funny about the jewelry.

Martha and Gretchen's conversation is interrupted by a knock at the door. Mephistopheles comes in the guise of bringing Martha information that her husband is indeed dead. Martha asks the location of his grave and if Mephistopheles has brought her any token from her husband. As Gretchen tries to comfort Martha Mephistopheles tries to convince Gretchen she should be married soon. When Gretchen replies she is too young to marry, he suggests she take on a lover, an act Gretchen says is not acceptable.

Mephistopheles and Martha continue to discuss Martha's dead husband. In one sentence Mephistopheles gives Martha hope that her husband did indeed love her and in the next he indicates the husband ran away because he did not love his wife. Mephistopheles says her husband earned a fortune, but blew this fortune on a lady who gave him a sexually transmitted disease. Mephistopheles suggests Martha grieve her husband the required amount of time, and then find another man. Mephistopheles promises to return again with proof of Martha's husband's death. He also says he will bring Faust with him to meet Gretchen.

Evening, A Promenade, and The Neighbor's House Analysis

Note in the "Evening" scene that the presence of Mephistopheles in Gretchen's room for only a little while has made the room seem very warm. Gretchen is very sensitive at this point to the presence of the devil as she feels uncomfortable in the room. As soon as Gretchen's mother has seen the first set of jewelry, she believes they have been left by some evil being. Martha believes there is something funny about the second set of jewelry. Notice the way the characters respond to the aura of evil around this jewelry. Gretchen's mother senses it quickly and gives the jewels away. Martha notices something odd about the jewels, but doesn't recognize what this oddity is. Gretchen is simply bewildered by the appearance of the riches. She does not seem to equate them with evil. Although the priest tells Gretchen and her mother he believes the jewelry was indeed placed in Gretchen's room for evil purposes, he has no qualms about claiming the jewelry for the Church. He claims this is because the Church can make use of the evil jewels without it being a black mark against the Church. If an individual were to benefit from the jewels, however, it would be considered a sin.

This section contains 775 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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