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Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works.《浮士德》是一部长达一万二千一百一十一行的诗剧，第一部二十五场，不分幕。第二部分五幕，二十七场。全剧没有首尾连贯的情节，而是以浮士德思想的发展变化为线索。这部不朽的诗剧，以德国民间传说为题材，以文艺复兴以来的德国和欧洲社会为背景，写一个新兴资产阶级先进知识分子不满现实，竭力探索人生意义和社会理想的生活道路。是一部现实主义和浪漫主义结合得十分完好的诗剧。
The meaning of the word and name has been reinterpreted through the ages. Faust, and the adjective faustian, are often used to describe an arrangement in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success: the proverbial "deal with the devil".
The Faust of early books—as well as the ballads, dramas, movies and puppet-plays which grew out of them—is irrevocably damned because he prefers human to divine knowledge; "he laid the Holy Scriptures behind the door and under the bench, refused to be called doctor of Theology, but preferred to be styled doctor of Medicine".
Plays and comic puppet theatre loosely based on this legend were popular throughout Germany in the 16th century, often reducing Faust and Mephistopheles to figures of vulgar fun. The story was popularised in England by Christopher Marlowe, who gave it a classic treatment in his play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. In Goethe's reworking of the story 200 years later, Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for "more than earthly meat and drink".
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