Faust is based on a well known German legend. In this German legend, a well educated man becomes bored with all life has to offer him so far and makes a deal with the devil. In exchange for his immortal soul, Faust will experience all worldly knowledge and pleasures. In most legends, Faust dies in the end and is eternally damned. There is no happy ending, it is one giant tragedy.
Goethe’s Faust, written in two parts, was first published in 1808 and the second part published posthumously in 1832. The writing consumed some 60 years of Goethe’s life off and on. Part One is primarily focused on the deal with the devil for Faust’s soul. Part Two ventures into more social issues of philosophy, psychology, politics and also mysticism.