Faust is the protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

 of a classic German legend
German folklore
German folklore shares many characteristics with Scandinavian folklore and English folklore due to their origins in a common Germanic mythology. It reflects a similar mix of influences: a pre-Christian pantheon and other beings equivalent to those of Norse mythology; magical characters associated...

; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil
Deal with the Devil
Deal With The Devil is the fifth studio album by the American heavy metal band Lizzy Borden released in 2000 .A return to form, featuring a cover by Todd McFarlane.2 covers were recorded...

, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works
Works based on Faust
Faust has inspired artistic and cultural works for over four centuries. The following lists cover various media to include items of historic interest, enduring works of high art, and recent representations in popular culture...


The meaning of the word and name has been reinterpreted through the ages. Faust, and the adjective faustian, are often used to describe an arrangement in which an ambitious person surrenders moral
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions...

 in order to achieve power and success: the proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

ial "deal with the devil
Deal with the Devil
Deal With The Devil is the fifth studio album by the American heavy metal band Lizzy Borden released in 2000 .A return to form, featuring a cover by Todd McFarlane.2 covers were recorded...


The Faust of early books—as well as the ballad
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many...

s, drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

s, movies and puppet-plays
Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance which involves the manipulation of puppets. It is very ancient, and is believed to have originated 30,000 years BC. Puppetry takes many forms but they all share the process of animating inanimate performing objects...

 which grew out of them—is irrevocably damned
Damned or The Damned may refer to:* Damnation, a concept of condemnation by God, and use of the term as a profanity- Music :* The Damned , a British punk rock group* "Damned"...

 because he prefers human to divine knowledge; "he laid the Holy Scriptures behind the door and under the bench, refused to be called doctor of Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, but preferred to be styled doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine is a doctoral degree for physicians. The degree is granted by medical schools...


Plays and comic puppet theatre loosely based on this legend were popular throughout Germany in the 16th century, often reducing Faust and Mephistopheles
Mephistopheles is a demon featured in German folklore...

 to figures of vulgar fun.

Habe nun, ach! Philosophie,Juristerei und Medizin,Und leider auch TheologieDurchaus studiert, mit heißem Bemühn.Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor!Und bin so klug als wie zuvor;

Well, that's Philosophy I've read,And Law and Medicine, and I fearTheology, too, from A to Z;Hard studies all, that have cost me dear.And so I sit, poor silly manNo wiser now than when I began.

Daß ich erkenne, was die WeltIm Innersten zusammenhält,Schau alle Wirkenskraft und Samen,Und tu nicht mehr in Worten kramen.

To grant me a vision of Nature's forcesThat bind the world, all its seeds and sourcesAnd innermost life—all this I shall see,And stop peddling in words that mean nothing to me.

Wenn ihr's nicht fühlt, ihr werdet's nicht erjagen,Wenn es nicht aus der Seele dringtUnd mit urkräftigem BehagenDie Herzen aller Hörer zwingt.

Give up pursuing eloquence, unlessYou can speak as you feel! One's very heartMust pour it out, with primal power addressOne's hearers and compel them with an art Deeper than words.

Erquickung hast du nicht gewonnen,Wenn sie dir nicht aus eigner Seele quillt.

Refreshment! it's your own soul that must pourIt through you, if it's to be anything.

Welch ein Gefühl mußt du, o großer Mann,Bei der Verehrung dieser Menge haben!

Ah, what a sense of your own greatness mustYou have as all these people honour you!

Das also war des Pudels Kern!Ein fahrender Skolast? Der Kasus macht mich lachen.

So that was the quintessence of the cur!A student-tramp! How very comical.

Ein Teil von jener Kraft,Die stets das Böse will und stets das Gute schafft.

Part of that power which wouldDo evil constantly and constantly does good.

Ich wußte nicht ihr beizukommenMit Wellen, Stürmen, Schütteln, Brand—Geruhig bleibt am Ende Meer und Land!

This solid lump cannot be shaken—Storms, earthquakes, fire and flood assail the landAnd sea, yet firmly as before they stand!

Und doch ist nie der Tod ein ganz willkommner Gast.

And yet death is never a wholly welcome guest.