In Faust, what happens to Mephistopheles and Faust in the end?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Goethe's Faust, at the beginning, to prove to Mephisopheles that all men are not evil, The Lord wagers with the other that Faust, The Lord's servant, can be saved. Mephistopheles has taken the wager and does all that he can to win Faust's soul, by tempting him in every way.

Faust uses Gretchen poorly, but when she dies, she is saved by The Lord in the end. There is a segment of the story where Faust becomes enchanted with Helen of Troy and tries to take her away, but Paris stops him and Mephisto takes Faust away. In the next segment of Part I, Faust and Mephisto travel to Walpurgis Night, the witches' Sabbath. Faust sees many amazing sights there, but leaves still wanting to find Helen. In Part II, Faust is successful in liberating Helen from the Underworld and winning her. They have a son, who dies. At this point Helen must return to the Underworld and leave Faust.

Helen then leaves Faust, expressing that happiness and beauty cannot be permanently combined.

By Act IV of Part II, Faustconsoles himself with a new plan. He has decided to take back land that the sea has overrun. Ready to wage war against nature, Faust finds himself in a war, helping the Emperor he had met earlier to be victorious. At the end, he is given his own ship.

As Faust tries to carry out his plan from the previous act, he attempts to buy land from an old couple, who refuse. Faust asks Mephisto to evict and relocate the peasants, but instead, they are killed and Faust is overcome with anger and remorse. Believing he is at fault, he commences to doing penance to try to make right the wrong that has been committed. He is told that he cannot be successful in his plan for the land, and even blinded, but he refuses to give up, wanting to achieve this last good for the people.

At the end of the summary, we discover Faust's fate: as The Lord has wagered...

Faust has a vision of people living on his reclaimed lands and proudly says the words from his agreement with Mephisto in Part I: 'Stay, Thou art so fair.' He immediately dies, but his soul is saved before Mephisto and his demons have a chance to claim it.

Faust goes to Heaven. There he finds Gretchen, his intercessor, waiting for him. In the company of the heavenly host, he will now endeavor to reach his "ultimate salvation."

Ironically, Mephistopheles is an integral part of the Lord’s design, as he tells Faust: 'A part of that power which always wills evil, but always does good.' While Mephisto represents negation, by tempting Faust toward surrender, he only succeeds in leading Faust toward his salvation.

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