The two author’s Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and ChristopherMarlowe have overlapping versions of the famous Faust legend. All two ofthe main characters are men that seek to their human capabilities in gainingaccess to more knowledge. There are key differences in each version, whichdemonstrates the purpose of each version or, the impact each of them would haveon the target audience.
Both of these stories are similar and different inmany ways. It can be seen within the characters in each story. Marlowe andGoethe are authors that bring out two interesting perspectives in the stories. The earliest one, Marlowe’s versionof Doctor Faustus has the most similarities to Goethe’s Faust, whichI have been focusing on. Marlowe’s version involves the good Angel and bad Angelat crucial moments in the story.
They are both available when Faust considersthe pursuit of magic. They appear when Faust gives over his life to the Devil,and at the end of the play when Faustus is about to be taken to hell. With the Good Angels, there are much more chances in the play for Faustto repent and choose God over evil. The purpose of Marlowe’s Dr.Faustus is straightforward and to the point- it serves as a lesson tothe target audience about the consequences of trying to overcome the limits ofhuman ability. Goethe’s Faust is morecomplex than Marlowe’s story.
One of the big differences in his play is theopening scene with the wager between God and Mephistopheles. Its forFaust to make his own choices when he is tempted or influenced byMephistopheles- he has no outside interference or guidance that persuades himto make the right choice. Unlike Dr. Faustus in Marlowe’s story who does magicand hurts many people under Mephistopheles, Faust’s deals with Mephistophelesonly hurts one other person, which is Gretchen. Gretchen’s negative fall iscaused by Faust’s pursuit of her love makes it look like the negative impacthis deal had just as well as Dr. Faustus doing harmful things to many people inMarlowe’s story.
What makes Goethe’s story of the Faust legend so complicated isGretchen’s action of drowning her child. This aspect of the play involvesquestioning her morality and engraves a reaction within the audiences andreaders. Furthermore, Faustus, the protagonist,has many interesting characteristics that are portrayed and seen throughoutthis play/book. Christopher Marlowe really gets in depth with the character andI feel like he tries getting many aspects out of Faustus without reallyrealizing. Faustus was born into a low class family in Wittenberg. There wasnothing special about his life in the beginning and I guess that was maybe oneof his reasons for doing what he does later on. Even though he was not wealthy,Faustus was not an uneducated person; he was a very smart man and used that tohis advantage.
When he reached a certain age he was trying to find his passionand what he is great at doing. For example in Dr. Faustus, he tried to get into philosophy, medicine, theology,or law, but it just was not working out. He thought those studies were uselessuntil he found his passion. Believe it or not, it was magic. And with Faustusturning to magic, he becomes a person that can be seen in today’s world.