Faust by Johann Wolfang von Goethe is Germany’s most renowned work and simultaneously the most hated one by students. I’ve reached the point of my educational career where I was forced to step up my game and read it for class. Here are my first thoughts!
To be quite honest, unlike all my friends, I’ve been excited to start this classic and face the challenge everyone has been cursing Goethe for. Every student I have ever known to read this said that it was the hardest, most stupid and difficult play to ever exist – and I was simply curious to know how I feel about it. Of course, some fear also existed because: what if I feel the same and will fail all of the exams because you simply can’t understand the true meaning of the text?
Thankfully, it has been pretty understandable and therefore not quite the challenge I expected. More now:
Let’s start of with the first pages: three prologues, really? I mean, who do you think you are that your play needs THREE introductions? At first, I was super annoyed and not at all looking forward to enduring 135 pages of endless metaphorical senses, but it turned out to be quite okay. After I had managed to read the intro, it’s actually been really fun!
Faust deals with really deep matters such as religious believe and knowledge. It was first drafted in 1808 (Goethe worked almost his whole life on this, therefore there are two versions!) and so we find ourselves in a period of very religious society, but also amongst the age of Enlightenment which the professor Faust has to struggle with. He questions God and the ability to be both almighty and merciful and struggles with the fact that one can’t know everything. He’s wanted to kill himself as he can’t seem to enjoy life when Mephisto (the devil) appears and proposes a deal to help him find the joy in life in return of his soul (a bet he made with God).
To conlude: I really love the deep matters Goethe deals with as it makes you question numerous given facts and in general, makes you overthink certain situations.
Furthermore, I really like Mephisto, the devil. He is whitty, not at all too evil and just causes many funny scenes throughout the play. He’s smart, calls God the “old guy” and is just overall the best character!
A little annoying, of course, is the very very old language. On top of everything written in verse and a lot of metaphorical writing (sometimes I don’t even get what they’re trying to bring across…), there are so so many old words which are super difficult to understand… I am reading the version where words are explained, but for some odd reason, they only seem to explain the most common words I already understand and completely leave out all the difficult ones?!
So, all in all, being 82 pages in and having 55 left – I am beyond curious to get to the ending. I hope reviewing this in school for many many hours won’t ruin the book for me. For some reason, talking and interpreting books in school ruins every single book for me I enjoyed even though reviewing and talking about books is my hobby? Life can be weird. Anyways…