It is often said that protagonists in great stories require an external, specific, visible goal in order to drive the story. Whether it is to stop the bad guy, win the contest, escape the dangerous situation, or acquire the object, specific outer motivations give the audience a finish line to visualize and anticipate. As Michael Hauge puts it: "The outer motivation is not a feeling (happiness), or an abstract concept (success), or some ongoing condition (health). It’s a specific goal that your audiences can envision as soon as they read or hear what it is. And that image is pretty much the same for everyone you’re addressing.” https://www.storymastery.com/character-development/what-does-your-hero-want-outer-motivation/ However, I can think of great stories that involve precisely the kind of outer motivation that Hauge seems to prohibit. In fact, most faustian stories seem to fit into this category. In these stories, a protagonist makes some kind of transaction, often involving a supernatural figure, to acquire such ongoing abstract conditions such as fame, wealth, power, beauty, youth, etc., and things almost always end up tragically for them. Rather then spending the length of the story striving to achieve a goal, they spend the length of the story struggling with the ramifications of the choice they made in the beginning, already having achieved the condition in question. One good example that comes to mind is Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray". Dorian Gray essentially "sells his soul" in order to retain his youth while his portrait ages in his place. It is a tragic story in which this decision leads him down a dark path to his own demise. So how does one square the timelessness of this story with the principle stated above?