Old Doctor Faust, alone in his study, thinks about the futility of his life as a scientist, about his youth lost in study and wants to end his life. He is interrupted in his thoughts by a chorus of girls singing of nature and the beauty of life. Faust, with the help of magical formulas, invokes the devil. Mephistopheles appears and invites him, in exchange for his soul, to embrace a new youth. Seeing him hesitate, he shows him the image of a girl and so persuades him to sell his soul in exchange for youth and love. Under the miraculous power of Mephistopheles, Faust turns into a young knight and begins his quest, led by the devil, to conquer the world.
During a party, Valentin, a young soldier, thinks he is soon to go to war and wants to entrust his sister, Marguerite, to a young student, Siebel. Wagner, Faust’s disciple, starts singing a joyful song, but is interrupted by Mephistopheles, who captures the attention of all. Annoyed by his insolence, Valentin challenges him to a duel, but is defeated. Mephistopheles makes grim predictions: Wagner will die in battle, Siebel will no longer be able to touch a flower without it withering and Valentin will be killed by an acquaintance. The young people cast him away with the sign of the cross. Faust meets Marguerite and offers her his company. The girl refuses, but Mephistopheles assures Faust that soon, things will change.
In Marguerite’s garden, Siebel manages to save the flowers he picked for her, sprinkling them with holy water. After the departure of Siebel, Faust and Mephistopheles arrive, placing near the flowers a box of jewellery. Marguerite will discover them, letting herself conquered by their brilliance. Mephistopheles and Faust reappear, the former courting old Martha, Marguerite’s companion, and Faust confessing his love to Marguerite. Left alone in the night, Marguerite evokes the image of Faust. The young man, who listened from the shadows, enters the girl’s house.
In the church, Marguerite tries to pray for forgiveness of the sin of expecting a child to Faust. Mephistopheles, hid behind a column, threatens her with eternal punishment. Meanwhile, Valentin returns from war and finds Mephistopheles outside his home, singing a serenade. Upon learning that his sister was seduced, he challenges Faust to a duel and is killed. He dies cursing his sister.
Mephistopheles led Faust to his castle, which hosts a fantastic celebration (Walpurgis Night). But Faust does not feel any joy, he thinks only of the unfortunate Marguerite who, losing her senses, killed her child. In prison, Marguerite is awaiting her trial, but Faust appears, begging her to flee with him. In her delirium, Marguerite still has the strength to refuse. Conjuring heaven, she dies. A celestial music leads the girl’s soul to the heavens, while Faust, kneeling, is praying.