Faust – Goethe and Harry Clarke
Mephistopheles makes a bet with God
author : Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
illustrator : Harry Clarke
first published in 1790 under the title “Faust, a Fragment”
Goethe completed a preliminary version of what is now known as Part one in 1806. Its publication in 1808 was followed by the revised 1828–29 edition, edited by Goethe himself. He finished writing Part two in 1831. It appeared only posthumously in 1832.
It is considered by many to be Goethe’s magnum opus and the greatest work of German literature.
Mephistopheles makes a bet with God; he says that he can lure God’s favourite human being (Faust), away from righteous pursuits.
Faust is in his study and being disappointed of science he contemplates suicide but is held back by the sounds of the beginning Easter celebrations. He joins his assistant Wagner for a walk and is followed home by a poodle. The dog transforms itself into Mephistopheles, who offers a wager, saying that he will show Faust things he has never seen. They sign a pact agreeing that if Mephistopheles can give Faust a moment in which he no longer wishes to strive, but begs for that moment to continue, can he win Faust’s soul.
The outcome of the wagers are only revealed in Part Two. The first part represents the “small world” and takes place in Faust’s own local, temporal milieu. In contrast, Part Two takes place in the “wide world” or macrocosm.