Unlike Marlowe's Faust, whose pride blinds him to God's mercy, love, and forgiveness so that, in the end, he misses redemption and falls into Satan's grip, in Goethe's work, Faust ascends to heaven amid a cloud of angels. There he experiences mercy, love, and joy.
In Goethe's Romantic retelling of this story, human effort is rewarded by God, as we learn at the end:
He who strives on and lives to strive
Can earn redemption still
This optimistic play shows that humans do not have to be damned by experience, even bad experiences, but can learn from them what is truly valuable. The devil doesn't damn Faust but unwittingly teaches him lessons about what is important in life.
Faust at first falls into the devil's hands, duped by his lies. For example, he falls into a lustful desire for the 14-year-old Margarete. Faust wants her and follows Mephistopheles's advice by urging Margarete to give her mother a sleeping potion that turns out to be poison. Faust causes the innocent Margarete to murder her...
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