It is a familiar name. Even non-readers are familiar with Faust and the idea of the Faustian deal. But Faust extends well beyond this concept into a full-blown philosophical tour de force.
Goethe took a strong stance against organized religion while also seeking to tackle moral issues of his time. All of this he reveals throughout Faust, using heavy symbolism, particularly in Part Two, to make his case. Readers and fans of Shakespeare ought take note: this is a book length Shakespearean work, full of the hidden meanings and references as their eponymous predecessor.
This is not to say that Goethe is comparable to the writing of Shakespeare. But Goethe has a light of his own to present some truly wondrous writing. Particularly in Part One, Goethe deftly brings Faust forward as not some beastly man, quick to evil, but rather human and flawed, filled with love for a woman. Part Two is certainly more contentious as it has a seemingly complete shift in attitude and tale. Give it time and the story comes together beautifully near the end.
All in all, a great read well worthy of its vaunted place in classical Literature. I give it a 9.0.
A few favorite quotes to close:
“How closely linked are Luck and Merit, Doth never to these fools occur: Had they the Philosophers’ Stone, I swear it, The Stone would lack the Philosopher!”
“The imp in the bosom Is snugly concealed; But lice in the fur coat Are sooner revealed.”
“Near the bright form we behold Even the sun is place and cold; Near the riches of her face All things empty, shorn of grace.”