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“War, trade, and piracy together are a trinity not to be severed”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is well known and at the same time surprising that Faust II contains many examples whereby the economy is explained and analysed. What is striking in this quote is how trading capital, the ‘trade’, is put into context with war and piracy. One cannot criticise this relationship more vehemently or better than Goethe did here.

But, something else is interesting: Goethe surreptitiously intertwines the three dimensions of war, trade and piracy into a trinity, which is especially persistent in Christianity as the Christian religion revolves around Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Mary, Jesus and Joseph, or the Three Wise Men. Hence, ‘all good things come in threes’. This is precisely what Goethe contradicts in his play. Perceptively vocalised by Mephistophele

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