Faust Questions and Answers
by Johann Goethe

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What is the importance of Margaret (Gretchen) in Faust, and what does she symbolize?

At first, Margaret might represent two main stereotypes about women in Faust. They're either saintly and chaste or corrupt and sexually active. However, as we learn more about Margaret, we realize that she's a caring person who raised her little sister. She also immediately senses the evil nature of Mephistopheles. A favorable, feminist reading might talk about how Margaret transcends stereotypes. After all she suffered, she's still going to heaven.

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In Johann Goethe's Faust, we think it’s safe to say that Margaret is a complex character that both symbolizes and transcends many stereotypes and sexist tropes about women.

When Faust first sees Margaret in the street, what does he say again? He says, "Fair lady, let it not offend you, / That arm and escort I would lend you!"

Margaret replies, "I'm neither lady, neither fair, / And home I can go without your care."

Here, we have two different depictions of Margaret. Faust sees her as a virtuous,...

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