Faust - Study Guide The Second Part of the Tragedy Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Faust.
This section contains 1,166 words
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The Second Part of the Tragedy Summary

The Second Part of the Tragedy contains omitted acts and portions.

FIRST ACT: Charming Landscape

Faust is seen in a field of flowers. Faust is restless and tired, wanting nothing more than to sleep. A group of spirits gathers around and sing while Faust sleeps.

Ariel chants: "You who surround his head in airy beauty

Prepare to do the elfins' noblest duty:

Relieve the bitter conflict in his heart,

Remove the burning arrows of remorse,

And cleanse his mine of memories that smart."

(Act One, p. 423)

FIFTH ACT: Open Country

A wanderer approaches a small cottage on a hilltop. The wanderer is surprised at the beauty he sees where there was once nothing but water and swampy land. The wanderer recalls staying at the cottage many years ago when he was saved by an elderly couple. The wanderer decides to approach the house. The door is opened by an old woman named Baucis. Baucis confirms that she and her husband were the ones to save the wanderer. Philemon awakes and enters the room.

The trio adjourns to a table in the garden where Baucis talks about the renovation of the property.

Palace

Faust, now very old, paces around the garden. Faust is angered by the fact that the old couple lives on the land, the one small piece that he does not own. Faust wants to own the land, not for its value but because it eludes him.

Mephisto returns and hears Faust's lament. Mephisto says Faust should be satisfied with what he has and not let his life turn to bitterness. Faust orders that the people be removed from the land.

Deep Night

Lynceus, the Tower Warden, makes his rounds and talks about the small cottage that is on fire. Faust learns about the fire. Mephisto arrives to tell Faust that the old couple has been murdered, their cottage burned down. Faust says he told Mephisto to offer trade for the property; no one was supposed to die.

Midnight

Four women enter. They are Want, Need, Care and Guilt. The women enter Faust's chamber and speak to him. Faust talks about his life:

"Through all the world I only raced:

Whatever I might crave, I laid my hand on,

What would not do, I would abandon,

And what escaped I would let go.

I would only desire and attain,

And wish for more, and thus with might and main

I stormed through life, first powerful and great,

But now with calmer wisdom and sedate..."

(Midnight, p. 459)

Care speaks to Faust about never being satisfied with anything he has ever received.

Care breathes in Faust's face and the old man goes blind. Faust becomes enraged and orders the "wretched specters" to leave.

Large Outer Court of the Palace

Mephisto addresses the lemures and gives them orders. Faust begins to make plans to give back to the townspeople, opening his land for free and granting the folks what they need to live a good life. Faust begins to feel hope and wants to hold on the feeling forever. Faust dies. Mephisto is angry that the clock has stopped.

Entombment

The lemures have built a tomb for Faust. The Heavenly Host and a chorus of angels bearing harps arrive at Faust's tomb. Mephisto becomes angry.

"Discords I hear; a most revolting strumming

Come from above with the unwelcome dawn;

It is the boyish-girlish bungle-humming

On which the sanctimonious like to fawn."

(Entombment, page 477)

The Heavenly Host intends to take Faust's soul. Mephisto claims the soul for his own and orders his devils to protect it. The angels release a torrent of rose petals that burn the devils save for Mephisto. Mephisto rages at the scurrying devils.

The Heavenly Host takes Faust's soul up to Heaven.

The angels sing:

"Turn toward clarity,

Flames of love, speed!

Those damned by deed

Are healed by verity -

Joyous retrieval

From earthly evil -

They find impunity

In cosmic unity."

(Entombment, page 485)

Mountain Gorges, Forest, Rock and Desert

Holy Anchorites gather in groups between clefts up the side of a mountain. Pater Ecstaticus sings first while standing next to a fire. Pater Profundus pays homage to nature. Pater Seraphicus sings of infant souls entering Heaven. As the priests and choirs sing Faust's soul is lifted up to Heaven.

The angels sing:

"Saved is the spirit kingdom's flower

From evil and the grave;

'Who ever strives with all his power,

We are allowed to save.'"

(Mountain Gorges, Forest, Rock and Desert, page 493)

There are many angels and choirs that surround Faust's soul. The angels beg for Faust's salvation. Penitent women sing on Faust's behalf. Gretchen is one of the penitent women. The Virgin Mary and two other significant women of the Bible are present to testify on Faust's behalf. The Virgin Mary grants Faust's entry into Heaven.

The Second Part of the Tragedy Analysis

Faust has become an old man with great wealth. While surveying his estate he comes across the cottage and church located on a portion of land he does not own. Faust remembers the cottage and church from many years before when he was taken in by the old couple that own the cottage. Faust approaches the old couple and hears the tale of how they claimed the land from the ocean.

Faust returns to his palace, angry that he does not own the property. The property itself is not valuable; Faust is simply greedy and wants everything for himself. Faust tells Mephisto to offer the couple a sum of money or trade in exchange for the property. Mephisto disobeys Faust and murders the old couple, further angering Faust.

Faust is overwhelmed with guilt over what happened to the old couple that was once so kind toward him in an hour of need. Faust's visit with the four women - Care, Guilt, Need and Want ends with Faust being blinded by Care's breath upon his face.

Mephisto is angry that Faust has turned himself around and wants to give back to the people. This is not the Faust he has created. This is not the Faust that has shown nothing but greed and selfishness.

Faust dies suddenly. Mephisto is eager to guard Faust until he can take the man's soul as they had agreed. There is a confrontation between Mephisto and the Heavenly Host. Mephisto feels cheated and enraged but there is nothing he can do to stop the angels from taking Faust's soul.

Faust had promised his soul to the devil and therefore should not be allowed into Heaven. There are many that rally on Faust's behalf. One of the penitent women was once Gretchen, showing that the girl was able to be saved despite her sins.

The angels and penitent women go to the Virgin Mother to accept Faust into Heaven. Several biblical females support Faust and the Virgin Mother accepts Faust's soul. This can be seen as Goethe's homage to the Eternal Feminine.

This section contains 1,166 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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