Something that is faustian
refers to a wider interpretation of the events of Faust
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
. In part one of Goethe's Faust
, the central character's pact with the devil allows him to have energy, life and youth unless he becomes so entranced by the passing moment that he wishes that things will never change. When Faust stumbles unthinkingly into that wish, his world and his life are forfeit to Mephistopheles
Faustian may be:
- A work of fiction, or a fictional character, may be cited as being "Faustian" if it involves a literal or proverbial "deal with the devil", such as that portrayed in the story of Faust. Such dealings are often referred to as "Faustian deals", and as such there is usually short term gain (e.g. fame, fortune, knowledge) for long term pain (i.e. the person's soul).
- In history, since Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West the Faustian society is synonymous with the western world. The word is chosen since Spengler believed the entire western society follows a trajectory similar to that of Faust.
- In sociology, in the writings of Marshall Berman, Faustian refers to the short-time perspective of society in modernity. It also refers to Faust's desire in the second part of Goethe's Faust, especially act V, to defeat the forces of nature and create a mechanical heaven on earth by draining the seabed and using it for farming.
- In the role-playing game Demon: The Fallen, the Faustians are a faction of fallen angels. See Demon: The Fallen.
- It is also mentioned that Victor Frankenstein in the novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, is considered a Faustian character with his "deal with the devil" to gain strength and energy to pursue and kill his creation.