Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust: Der Tragödie erster Teil [Faust: The Tragedy's First Part]

(2763 words)
  • Jane K. Brown (University of Washington)

Goethe's Faust, Part I is a drama in 4600 lines of (mostly) rhymed verse and one short scene in prose, divided not into the usual five acts but into twenty-five scenes titled according to their setting and three prologues. Its length and scope often tempt readers to call it an epic rather than a drama, especially since Goethe himself never staged the play in the 30 years he directed the Weimar theater and since the text describes the action, as if to compensate for the absence of staging. Nevertheless, Faust's sweep “from Heaven through the earth to Hell” (line 242) remained familiar to late eighteenth-century audiences; court masque, municipally sponsored morality play, Jesuit school drama and opera had dominated …

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Brown, Jane K.. "Faust: Der Tragödie erster Teil". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 December 2004
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]