The two-part poem Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by Bayard Taylor, tells the beautifully emotional story of a man who has seen and done it all. However, despite all of his learning and education, his life still feels empty and unaccomplished. He believes wholeheartedly that there is something else out there. Faust, having exhausted all other fields of study, turns to magic for fulfillment. He summons the devil and makes a pact - that if the devil can show him something rewarding and fulfilling, he will give the devil his soul.
Part one ends after Faust looks for love and tries to fulfill it through a woman named Gretchen. Sadly, Gretchen dies, and Faust is left feeling just as hollow as before. Later, in part two, Faust turns toward gaining more knowledge of the world around him by joining the imperial court, wins battles, and becomes famous for his efforts. He still feels that there is something greater in life, and he dies feeling dissatisfied.
Strangely, Faust is not sent to hell for his pact with the devil. Instead God explains why Faust lived an honorable life, and the listener gains an interesting and new perspective on the standard version of good versus evil.
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- Adam Price