The two author’s Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and
Christopher Marlowe have overlapping versions of the famous Faust legend.

 All two of the main characters are men that seek to their human capabilities
in gaining access to more knowledge. There are key differences in each version,
which demonstrates the purpose of each version or, the impact each of them
would have on the target audience. Both of these stories are similar and
different in many ways. It can be seen within the characters in each story. Marlowe
and Goethe are authors that bring out two interesting perspectives in the
stories.
            The earliest one, Marlowe’s version
of Doctor Faustus has the most similarities to Goethe’s Faust, which
I have been focusing on. Marlowe’s version involves the good Angel and bad Angel
at crucial moments in the story. They are both available when Faust considers
the pursuit of magic. They appear when Faust gives over his life to the Devil,
and at the end of the play when Faustus is about to be taken to hell.

 With the Good Angels, there are much more chances in the play for Faust
to repent and choose God over evil. The purpose of Marlowe’s Dr.

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Faustus is straightforward and to the point- it serves as a lesson to
the target audience about the consequences of trying to overcome the limits of
human ability. 
            
Goethe’s Faust is more complex than Marlowe’s story. One
of the big differences in his play is the opening scene with the wager between God
and Mephistopheles.  Its for Faust to make his own choices when he is
tempted or influenced by Mephistopheles- he has no outside interference or
guidance that persuades him to make the right choice. Unlike Dr. Faustus in
Marlowe’s story who does magic and hurts many people under Mephistopheles,
Faust’s deals with Mephistopheles only hurts one other person, which is
Gretchen. Gretchen’s negative fall is caused by Faust’s pursuit of her love makes
it look like the negative impact his deal had just as well as Dr. Faustus doing
harmful things to many people in Marlowe’s story. What makes Goethe’s story of
the Faust legend so complicated is Gretchen’s action of drowning her child.

 This aspect of the play involves questioning her morality and engraves a
reaction within the audiences and readers.

Furthermore, Faustus, the protagonist,
has many interesting characteristics that are portrayed and seen throughout
this play/book. Christopher Marlowe really gets in depth with the character and
I feel like he tries getting many aspects out of Faustus without really
realizing. Faustus was born into a low class family in Wittenberg. There was
nothing special about his life in the beginning and I guess that was maybe one
of his reasons for doing what he does later on. Even though he was not wealthy,
Faustus was not an uneducated person; he was a very smart man and used that to
his advantage. When he reached a certain age he was trying to find his passion
and what he is great at doing. For example in Dr. Faustus, he tried to get into philosophy, medicine, theology,
or law, but it just was not working out. He thought those studies were useless
until he found his passion. Believe it or not, it was magic. And with Faustus
turning to magic, he becomes a person that can be seen in today’s world.

In addition to the difference
of the protagonist, Marlowe’s story is different from Goethe’s in a lot of
ways. Faustus does not enhance the devil because of moral reasons, as does
Faust, but only from a desire for power, and in his adventures afterward there
is a small effort made to explore the kinds of human experience and ways to
personal fulfillment that are seen in Goethe’s story. Both characters are
ruined by conflicts within their own selves, but Faustus is trying to believe
in God, while Faust seeks to believe in himself. Lastly, the moral and theology
of Marlowe’s play is that of Christianity. In Faust Goethe
tends to use a specific religion only as a source of imagery. He explains his
story in the context of an abstract religious system and a fluid moral code
that gives   motives and circumstances rather than deeds as
such.

In the story Faust by Johann Goethe, Gretchen’s character develops extreme
aspects of Virgin Mary and some of Eve. Mary acts as the symbol of the mother
of mankind. She has no evil in her. On the other hand, Eve is the archetypal
figure of the fallen woman, the cause of man’s suffering and damnation. She
symbolizes death and destruction. Eve is the antithesis of Mary; together the
two archetypes correspond to the two sides of Gretchen’s character.

Therefore, in some situations, Gretchen is
presented as a fallen woman who causes her own mistakes. Even though Gretchen
rejects Faust on the street, she is attracted to him, of the fact that he acts
very vulgar toward her. Gretchen disregards her religious upbringing and starts
an affair with Faust. Gretchen’s double personality allows the audience to see the
character of other heroes in the play more clearly. All and all, both these
stories enhanced similar and different perspectives. It has a theme that will
intrigue anyone and has two different sides. 

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