Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy (German: Faust. Eine Tragödie. or Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil) is the first part of Goethe's Faust. It was first published in 1808.
The first part of Faust is not divided into acts, but is structured as a sequence of scenes in a variety of settings. After a dedicatory poem and a prelude in the theater, the actual plot begins with a prologue in Heaven, where the Lord challenges Mephistopheles, the Devil, that Mephistopheles cannot lead astray the Lord's favourite striving scholar, Dr. Faust. We then see Faust in his study, attempting and failing to gain knowledge of nature and the universe by magic means. The dejected Faust contemplates suicide, but is held back by the sounds of the beginning Easter celebrations. He joins his assistant Wagner for an Easter walk in the countryside, among the celebrating people, and is followed home by a poodle. Back in the study, the poodle transforms itself into Mephistopheles, who offers Faust a contract: he will do Faust's bidding on earth, and Faust will do the same for him in hell (if, as Faust adds in an important side clause, Mephisto can get him to be satisfied and to want a moment to last forever). Faust signs in blood, and Mephisto first takes him to Auerbach's tavern in Leipzig, where the devil plays tricks on some drunken revellers. Having then been transformed into a young man by a witch, Faust encounters Margaret (Gretchen) and she excites his desires. Through a scheme involving jewelry and Gretchen's neighbour Martha, Mephisto brings about Faust's and Gretchen's liaison. After a period of separation, Faust seduces Gretchen, who accidentally kills her mother with a sleeping potion Faust had given her. Gretchen is pregnant, and her torment is further increased when Faust and Mephisto kill her enraged brother in a sword fight. Mephisto seeks to distract Faust by taking him to the witches' sabbath of Walpurgis Night, but Faust insists on rescuing Gretchen from the death sentence she has been given after going insane and drowning her newborn child. In the dungeon, Faust in vain tries to persuade Gretchen to follow him to freedom. At the end of the drama, as Faust and Mephisto flee the dungeon, a voice from heaven announces Gretchen's salvation.
Faust. Eine Tragödie (auch Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil oder Faust I) von Johann Wolfgang Goethe gilt als das bedeutendste und meistzitierte Werk der deutschen Literatur.
Die 1808 veröffentlichte Tragödie greift die Geschichte des historischen Doktor Faustus auf und wird in Faust II zu einer Menschheits-Parabel ausgeweitet.