Faust Questions and Answers
by Johann Goethe

Start Your Free Trial

In Goethe's Faust, how do both Faust and Gretchen each express an attempt to exceed the limits of social norms and expectations that surround them? Which of the two do you think is more successful in this attempt?

Expert Answers info

M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer, ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookM.A. from Chapman University

calendarEducator since 2008

write5,713 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

Let us base the answer to this question entirely on their relationship, specifically, the disparate nature of their origins, the goals that they both have in mind, and how everything ends.

In Daniel Wilson's introductory analysis of Faust (Yale University Press version of 2014), Part One of Faust is much more effective than Part Two, particularly for the social commentary that it elicits. This social commentary comes in the form of the challenging of social norms that is evident in the relationship that Faust wants to start with Margaret. Being that she comes from such a different social status than Faust, we can already sense that the relationship will not turn out so well.

In order to understand exactly how Faust attempts to push the social norms with Margaret, we must know where she comes from and who she is.

In Goethe's Faust Part I  Margaret, or Gretchen, is a very pious and innocent woman, and daughter. She is not perfect; she does enjoy the occasional attention of males, and she...

(The entire section contains 902 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial