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Would the real Faust please stand up?
on 10 July 2000
Having read Marlowe's Faustus, I already had a picture of the fabled Doctor's exploits in mind as I started reading. Goethe's Faust follows much the same fate - selling his soul to Mephisto, and then seeing the world in the way he wants it, before the inevitable ending.. however, there are a few more twists and turns in Goethe's. Most of the plot follows a tragic romantic liaison - not just tragic for Faust, but also for the lady involved. She loses everything, but stays loyal to God; Faust gains everything at the expense of God (until the final retribution). Strong Gothic imagery combines with smooth poetry in this translation, yet some meaning has been lost in the annals of time. The interlude play, a mimicry of mid-summer night's dream, went straight over my head; too many references to German folklore. Marlowe wins the day.