Dr. Faustus is the hero of a German folktale that was popular in the sixteenth century, the origin of many reinterpretations.
This story recounts the fate of a scholar, Faust, disappointed by the aporia, which condemns his art, contracting a pact with the Devil, Lucifer, who gives him as a servant one of his spirits, Mephistopheles, which, in turn, gives it a human servant, student Wagner, who became his famulus and offers him a second life, turned this time to sense pleasures for the price of his soul.
In the most popular versions of the fantastic story, Faust’s soul is damned after his death, following a long period (24 years indicate some texts) in which the Devil has heard most of his vows.
The myth is rooted in history. It seems based on the life of a Master or Doctor Faustus Georgius Sabellicus Junior. A friend of Luther, Faust studied supernatural magic at the University of Krakow, Poland. They accused him in studying black magic and writing the libels on the miracles of Jesus of Nazareth, where he says he can, if he wishes, to do the same. Hated by Philip Melanchthon and Martin Luther, who claimed that the devil haunted Faust, Faust had to leave the university to escape prosecution. After this there appeared a legend about him in Poland, which told about a magician named Pan Twardowski.
Another source indicates that he was a professor at the University of Erfurt. When he taught Homer, he probably showed his students projections from a magic lantern, the Trojan heros, and mythical monsters, including the Cyclops Polyphemus. Some of these shadowy figures were trying to devour before disappearing, some frightened students.
It is in Erfurt Faust reportedly said in the presence of Konrad Klinge, who was a Franciscan monk: “I went farther than you might think and I made a promise to the devil with my own blood, to be in his eternity, body and soul.” This work is similar to the book of Adelbert von Chamisso, The Curious Case of Peter Schlemilh.
Among the others, Faust became a character of the one of Goethe’s works.
Goethe’s Faust is a doctor, who from a young age, dreamt of owning universal knowledge, the dream of the mankind to discover the answers for the existential questions and the secrets of the universe. He strives to achieve his ambitions, but does not succeed. He is on the verge of suicide because he thinks he has wasted his time and his life when Mephistopheles offers him a deal: he will fulfill all his desires in exchange for his soul as soon as he is satisfied and happy. Dr. Faustus agrees.
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