Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 197
Format : Literary Fiction, Play
Reason for Reading : Guardian 100 Greatest Books Challenge

The well-known story of Faust who meets and makes a deal with Mephistopheles (the devil) after he is sent down to tempt him. Faust is taken on a journey first to a pub where Mephistopheles makes different kinds of wine from the table for the drinkers before getting in a fight. From there they go to see a witch who gives Faust a potion. It is supposed to give him longer life, but in reality makes all women appear as beautiful as Helen of Troy.

Faust meets Margareta who is a poor young girl living with her mother who mistreats her. He falls in love with her after the effects of the potion and courts her. Nothing quite goes to plan and she ends up murdering her mother and the child they have together. As the story closes she is in jail awaiting the gallows and refuses to be saved by Faust and his fiendish friend.

Although it is written as a play, it reads very much more like poetry. I am really looking forward to reading part two and seeing how it all turns out for Faust. As part of the deal he agreed to help Mephistopheles after he is dead and I will be interested to see if Goethe says what that will be doing. It was much darker than I expected with the Margareta storyline and I await the next twists and turns.


Ana S. said...

I've always been curious about this, but also a bit reluctant. Especially because my only experience with Goethe (The Sorrow of Young Werther) was not a good one. Your review makes me want to pick it up, though.