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German events at Agnes Scott, German History, German Literature

More on “Faust in the Box”

Faust is the most famous play by the most famous German playwright (if you still go by a canon of classical literature). It is based on the age-old myth of a human selling his soul for earthly possessions and power. In this play, it is a scholar seeking true knowledge.

Faust (Part One) starts out with the devil Mephistopheles making a bet with God. Pointing to Heinrich Faust, a scholar pursuing everything that can be known, Mephistopheles claims he can take him off the righteous track. Sure enough, tempted by Mephistopheles in his study, Faust, who is frustrated with the state of academia, agrees to the famous Faustian bargain of accepting the devil’s services on earth as the exchange of serving the devil in hell. The fine print of this deal, however, also specifies that if Faust is enamored with a moment such that he wishes to stay in that moment, Faust will die right then and there.

On his travels with the devil, Faust meets Gretchen, one of the many tragic virgin figures in the bourgeois plays of the era. His romantic encounter with Gretchen leaves her mother and brother dead and Gretchen pregnant. In the famous prison cell scene where Gretchen finds herself after having drowned her child, Faust attempts to save her unsuccessfully, as she has gone mad. This is the end of the more famous, and often-played part One.

Part Two goes for another round of adventures which end with Faust going to heaven, as he loses only half of the bet, and is therefore redeemed for his search for knowledge.

Bridge Markland will deliver an updated performance of Goethe’s Faust, highlighting issues regarding identity, gender, etc. If you want to see Bridge in action, click here:

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About GG

Gundolf Graml is Associate Prof. and Dir. of German Studies at Agnes Scott College. He has a Ph.D. in German Studies from the University of Minnesota and has published articles on German and Austrian film and tourism. He is currently writing a book about tourism and Austrian national identity after 1945. Other research projects include critical whiteness studies and, most recently, investigations into the connection between memory and nature. At ASC, Gundolf Graml teaches courses on a broad range of topics, from German 101 to German and Austrian Cinema and Afro-German History and Culture.

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