Hanns Eisler comments on his opera ‘Johann Faustus’
He who rejects and betrays his people, the movement of his people and the revolution, by making a pact with the rulers, is the Devil’s prize. He is rightly destroyed … Faustus collapses on being praised by those who slaughtered the peasants, and when embraced by Luther. In his ‘Confessio’ he becomes human: in self-recognition is his humanity. Thus, this negative figure gains a positive side … In an opera, I felt that one could show a small, dark Faust, who holds his own example up in shame. I thought that the great Goethe wouldn’t have had anything against it, after everything that has happened. [approx. 1952]
HEGW, III/ii. 284 and 2.