Faust’s Bargain with the Devil: Knowing It All, Losing It All
Faust, in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's famous play, is every university's worst nightmare. Frustrated that his multiple academic degrees have left him knowing nothing of value, the aging scholar goes rogue: he gives up standard research for magic, he flees his study with the devil to go out and party, he uses his status to help him impress and seduce a much younger woman, he heads off on a world tour without regard to those he encounters or has left behind, and he becomes a capricious and dangerous tyrant. How, then, did the Faust legend become the quintessential myth of modernity? What does Faust experience and learn by selling his soul? How is he changed, and how does he transform his world? Is his story a celebration or a condemnation of the modern age of discovery – research, teaching, learning and self-exploration?