Goethe's hero changed with the author's riper experience and with his new conceptions of man's place and duties in the world, but the Gretchen tragedy was taken over into the finished poem, practically unaltered, from the earliest Faust of the Sturm and Drang.
But Egmont depends for its interest almost solely on two characters, Egmont himself and Klarchen, Gretchen's counterpart; regarded as a drama, it demonstrates the futility of that defiance of convention and rules with which the Sturm and Drang set out.
With the aid of the vast body of Faust literature which has sprung up in recent years, and the many new documents bearing on its history above all, the so-called Urfaust, to which reference has already been made - we are able now to ascribe to their various periods the component parts of the work; it is possible to discriminate between the Sturm and Drang hero of the opening scenes and of the Gretchen tragedy - the contemporary of Gotz and Clavigo and the superimposed Faust of calmer moral and intellectual ideals - a Faust who corresponds to Hermann and Wilhelm Meister.
The lover of Gretchen had, as far as poetic continuity is concerned, disappeared with the close of the first part.
The object of this passion was a certain Gretchen, who seems to have taken advantage of the boy's interest in her to further the dishonest ends of one of her friends.