Faust. First Part - Gretchen's Room, Martha's Garden, and At The Well 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 486 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Gretchen's Room, Martha's Garden, and At The Well Summary

In the scene "Gretchen's Room" Gretchen broods on the sorrow she feels when Faust is not near her. She misses the sound of his voice, his smile and his kisses. In the following scene Gretchen walks again with Faust. As they talk, she discusses Faust's relationship with Mephistopheles' and the condition of Faust's soul. Gretchen believes Mephistopheles to be a bad influence on Faust. She admits she hates the man.

Before Gretchen goes home, Faust asks her if they can sleep together. Gretchen is afraid her mother will wake up and catch them. To keep the mother from waking Faust gives Gretchen a sleeping potion to give to her mother. He convinces Gretchen the potion is safe and will have no lasting effects on her mother. Gretchen agrees. After she leaves Mephistopheles enters and mocks the girl's concern over Faust's soul. He asks if tonight will be the night, claiming that he will get pleasure from the act as well as the couple.

In the scene by the well Gretchen and a friend discuss the fate of Barbara, another girl in their town. Lieschen scorns Gretchen for feeling sorry for Barbara and her condition. She believes Barbara has gotten what she deserves for spending her evenings with gentlemen while the other girls were at home working and being kept at home. Lieschen also notes that the father of Barbara's baby has run away, leaving Barbara alone in her ruin.

Gretchen's Room, Martha's Garden, and At The Well Analysis

In "Gretchen's Room" Gretchen soliloquizes about how she misses Faust. She misses not only his presence, but also their physical relationship. Note her reference to death at the end of the soliloquy. The term death is often used in literature to symbolize sexual orgasm. In the following scene Gretchen shows concern for Faust's soul and asks him to stay away from Mephistopheles. Gretchen tells Faust she feels Mephistopheles' evil nature every time she is in his presence. Mephistopheles' evil presence is so strong that Gretchen feels unable to love Faust, or even pray when she is near him. The reader draws from the following discussions between Gretchen and Faust, and Faust and Mephistopheles that it will be that night that Gretchen and Faust will experience sexual relations.

Although the scene at the well may seem unimportant, it gives important information about the way an unwed mother is treated during this time period. Not only must the girl give birth to and raise her baby, she is also publicly disgraced as a result of her sin. First, she is forced to do penance in the church. The girl also must take part in a public ceremony where her bridal wreath is taken from her. This ceremony represents the girl's lost virginity as well as her status as an undesirable woman.

This section contains 486 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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