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Faust Characters & Character Analysis

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 1,042 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)

Characters

Dr. Heinrich Faust

Dr. Heinrich Faust is Master of Arts as well as a doctor. Faust has spent ten years studying nearly every facet of the sciences, from medicine to law to philosophy and theology. Faust has also been called upon to teach his skills including his proficiency in the black arts. Faust rises up through his field and gains respect from some, fear from others. Still, nothing appeases Faust's need for a broader understanding of the world and all that is in it. Faust is willing to give up everything he has to gain this understanding and finds that the desire for it pervades everything he does. Faust becomes a hermit in his house, rarely talking to anyone or going out.

Faust is on a desperate quest to find answers; to discover where he belongs in the larger scheme of things. Faust has a messiah complex which only gets larger as the story goes on. Faust is unaware that he had become an entertainment for the Lord and Mephisto, that he is the subject of their bet. Faust can be easily swayed by Mephisto, who recognizes that Faust is already on a path leading away from God. Mephisto will use every tool available to him to take Faust to the other side. The task will not be difficult once Faust realizes what kind of power he can get in return for his soul.

Faust pledges himself to Mephisto and reaps the payment for his sacrifice. It is only on his deathbed that Faust realizes the gravity of what he has done.

Mephisto

Mephisto is another name for Mephistopheles, which is in turn another name for the Devil, Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, and many other incarnations.

In the beginning of the tale, Mephisto is a servant of the Lord. The Lord is saddened because Mephisto is unable to rejoice with the archangels. While the archangels celebrate the creation, the earth, the sea and the light, Mephisto can only see pain, sorrow, misery and the misdeeds men do to one another. No matter how hard the Lord and the archangels try to tell Mephisto of all the good things the Lord has created, Mephisto simply cannot see.

Mephisto is glad to take the bet with the Lord just as long as he has the ability to use his powers to sway Faust. The Lord grants this wish. If Mephisto should win, then he can take Faust's soul to hell. Mephisto has no desire to work with men's souls, he would rather have the living.

Mephisto tells Faust that will be granted anything he desires if only he will dedicate his soul to Mephisto instead of the Lord. Mephisto is a clever and tricky spirit and makes the offer to good to resist. Even when Faust begins to reconsider, he believes that his ties to Mephisto are eternal and no one, not even the Lord, can help him be freed of the bondage.

The Lord

The Lord is the Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. The basis of the story revolves around the Lord as Creator of the world. Everything that exists does so because it was created by the all mighty spirit. Mephisto accuses the Lord of turning a blind eye to parts of His creation while the Lord accuses Mephisto of not being able to see past the misery in men's hearts.

Gretchen aka Margaret

Gretchen, also referred to as Margaret, is Faust's lady love. Gretchen is from a poor troubled family and is seen as a peasant by the townspeople. Faust falls in love with Gretchen at first sight. At first Gretchen resists Faust's advances, but eventually falls in love with Faust and bears his child. Because Faust had fled after killing Valentine, Gretchen killed the baby and was convicted and sentenced to death. When Faust finds Gretchen, she has lost her mind and dies moments after being saved.

Virgin Mary aka Mater Gloriosa

The Virgin Mary is the supreme example of the Eternal Feminine. The Virgin is the mother of Jesus and therefore a powerful Biblical figure. The Virgin Mary is referred to by many different names, including the Virgin Mother, or the German equivalent of Mater Gloriosa. It is the Virgin Mary that intercedes on Faust's behalf and accepts his soul into Heaven.

The Trio at the Theatre

The trio at the theatre includes the Director, the Clown and the Dramatic Poet.

The Director appears in the Prelude to the Theatre. It is the Director who is responsible for producing a play that will please the audience. In this way the Director is also the producer. The Director is a strict man who cares most about money and less about art, which offends the Poet.

The Clown is a jester, who wants to ensure that there is ample comedy in the play, as none of the theater goers want to spend the evening watching a drama when it could be a comedy.

The Dramatic Poet works for the Director. While the Poet wants to have a hit play as much as the Director, he balks at producing something commercial, as it will insult his muse and undermine his talent.

The Three Archangels

The Three Archangels are Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. These are the angels most high, ones that serve the Lord directly and often intervene on the Lord's behalf.

Valentine

Valentine is Gretchen's brother. Valentine becomes enraged and distraught when he learns of Gretchen's affair with Faust. There is a battle and Valentine dies by Faust's hand.

Medusa

Medusa is the mythic woman with snakes for hair. If someone looks into Medusa's face he will turn into stone. Medusa almost succeeds in tricking Faust by appearing as Gretchen.

Choir of Angels

Throughout the play a choir of angels routinely appears to bring the word of the Lord. The angels usually appear to Faust and try to convince him to come back to God. The angels also appear at Faust's death and accompany the Heavenly Host as Faust's soul is taken away.

Wagner

Wagner is a colleague of Faust's and a fellow scholar. Wagner desires to learn everything from Faust yet is hesitant to follow precisely in Faust's footsteps because it would mean he would have to renounce God.

This section contains 1,042 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Copyrights
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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