Faust as a Tragic Hero Essay

This essay has a total of 786 words and 4 pages.

Faust as a Tragic Hero

Faust as a Tragic Hero
In the story of Faust, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust is whirled into an
adventure of sin and deceit. The further Faust follows the devil the closer he comes to
his own demise, taking down with him the innocent Gretchen. As Faust goes on he embodies
the characteristics of a tragic hero in a sense that he is borderline good and evil,
constantly battling his conscience. The one major flaw that initiates his self-destruction
is the fact that he feels he is extremely intelligent and can not be out witted.

Faust is a man of privilege, his father having been a doctor and himself a respected
scholar; but he is essentially a desperate character, continuously yearning for more than
this world has to offer. He is an extremely well educated man as well as wise in the ways
of the world. As a result of his exceeding knowledge he becomes grossly cynical in his old
age. His quest for greater knowledge and power leads him into the realm of sorcery and
witch craft.

Faust's dealings with darkness eventually lead him to deal with the ruler of all that is
wicked and deceitful, the devil himself. Naturally Faust, longing for more than earthly
pleasures, is compelled to accept Mephistopheles' promises of complete contentment and
satisfaction. Faust's ego is such that he feels he can not be out witted even by the most
skillful and cunning deceiver to ever walk the face of the earth. Soon Faust is on a
journey leading to more misery and torment than he could ever imagine.

Mephisto, as he is nick named by Faust, first tries to tempt Faust with the guilty
pleasures of the drink and make-merry lifestyle. However, Faust is far too knowledgeable
and wise to be seduced by petty enjoyments of song and drink. Mephisto realizes he will
have to raise the stakes if he is to win the jackpot within Faust. Faust is not tempted by
worldly attractions in his current old, feeble state, so Mephisto decides to get Faust a
potion to make him thirty years younger. Now that Faust is young and vibrant Mephisto has
created a home court advantage, after all that is the nature of his game.

Soon Faust is tempted by the pure, lovely Gretchen and decides that he absolutely must
have her at all cost; further propelling him to his tragic end. After Faust finally gets
what he wants out of Gretchen he soon realizes he has lead Gretchen to her doom. Faust's
dealings with Gretchen lead to the death of both her mother and her brother, leaving
Gretchen alone to deal with the even larger problem that is growing inside her. Faust soon
acknowledges the error of his ways and knows he is unable to fix the trouble he has cause,
this further adds to the tragic aspect of Faust's character. Faust falls short of being a
complete tragedy in that he turns back from following Mephisto straight to the depths of

Perhaps the greatest tragic quality of Faust is that the reader pities him as the story
goes on. At first Faust might be viewed as an arrogant and conceited character, and he
probably is. The further he goes on his journey the more evil he seems to become as he
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