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Faust Chapter Summary & Analysis - Prologue in Heaven Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Faust.
This section contains 524 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)

Prologue in Heaven Summary

The Prologue in Heaven takes place between the Lord, Heavenly Hosts, Mephistopheles, and the Three Archangels - Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael.

The Archangels, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael tell of a great battle between God and Mephisto during which the seas rage, Eden turns dark, and there is devastation. Yet the Lord prevails and all cherish the mild and glorious day.

Mephisto says that God likes to see him in such a way, and although God acts as if he is being friendly, he is clearly asserting his power over Mephisto. Mephisto believes that if God knew how to enjoy his pain he would do so.

"My pathos would be sure to make you laugh,

Were laughing not a habit you've unlearned,

Of suns and worlds I know nothing to say;

I only see how men live in dismay."

(Prologue in Heaven, p. 85)

There is an exchange between the Lord and Mephisto. The Lord sees only good, while Mephisto sees only the dark side of the world. The Lord wants to know if only wishes to complain. Is there anything on earth that pleases Mephisto? Mephisto says that there is nothing good to celebrate.

The Lord asks Mephisto if he knows Faust. Mephisto says he does know Faust, the doctor. Mephisto comments that Faust serves the Lord in a peculiar way. The Lord says Faust is on the wrong path, but He is convinced that Faust will come to Him in the end and be saved. Mephisto disagrees. The two entities make a bet as to whose path Faust will follow in the end.

If the Lord wins, then Faust will be released into His care and his soul will be saved. If Mephisto wins, Faust's soul will be whisked away to Hell and eternal sorrow.

Prologue in Heaven Analysis

It is important to know that in the Prologue in Heaven Mephisto is one of God's servants, not the antithesis of goodness. It is during the prologue that the separation between God and Mephisto occurs.

The Archangels tell of God's glory and rejoice in what has been created. Mephisto, on the other hand, can see no reason to rejoice. Mephisto sees only tragedy and dismay. The Lord and Mephisto have a conversation about Mephisto's inability to see the good in the Lord's work. The Lord laments that Mephisto can see nothing good in the world, that his servant sees only sorrow. Mephisto says he has no wish to add to man's plight.

The Lord and Mephisto discuss Faust. It is said that Faust serves the Lord in strange ways, but Faust's actions cannot be categorized as service. The Lord believes that Faust is on the wrong path. Mephisto and the Lord make a bet. The Lord believes that Faust will come to Him in the end with repentance and a desire to be saved. Mephisto disagrees. The Lord gives Mephisto the power to sway Faust to prove His point. The bet is arranged. If the Lord can cause Faust to repent, He gets Faust's soul. If Mephisto sways Faust toward the abyss, Mephisto may take Faust's soul to Hell.

This section contains 524 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
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Faust from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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