Relationship between Dr. Faustus and Mephastopheles - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
Mephistophilis or "Mephistophiles" or "Mephistopheles" is neither a mythical nor a biblical character, it is derived by Christopher Marlow from German Folklore. Everything you ever wanted to know about Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus, written by masters of this stuff just for you. Lucifer's servant and collector of souls. Mephistopheles by Mark Antokolsky available through Creative Commons For all the power that he appears to exert in.
However, he rejects these fields, seeking something more. Faustus turns his back on religion, too, purposefully misinterpreting Christian doctrine to suit his feelings. He notes that the reward of sin is death: Why then, belike, we must sin, And so consequently die. Ay, we must die, an everlasting death. What doctrine call you this? He conveniently ignores the Christian belief that God will forgive anyone who is truly repentant.
Faustus is determined to become a necromancer, and he will employ the aid of Lucifer if that is what it takes. He explains that demons naturally appear when people curse God, in order to take their souls. Already, Faustus believes he has more power than he actually does.
Faustus should realize that he is dealing with spirits far more powerful than he, and that he should be cautious. Faustus is deluded about what making a deal with the devil will entail. Faustus blindly believes that he will come out ahead in the deal, even if it means eternal damnation in the end. He puts temporary, immediate pleasures before his eternal fate, which reveals an impatient, unhappy spirit. Even when God reaches out to Faustus through the Good Angel, telling him to think of heaven, Faustus puts all his trust in Lucifer instead.
Faustus clearly does not value his own soul and does not reflect on why Lucifer would want it.
Doctor Faustus vs. Mephistopheles, or The Unfair Bargain | Owlcation
Indeed, Faustus does not focus on or care about his ultimate fate, as he is willing to spend an eternity of damnation for a mere twenty-four years of amusement. Given what awaits him after his time runs out, Faustus had better make the most of his brief stint of power. Faustus seems to waver at times, wondering if he should turn back to God and repent.
He claims that his heart is hardened and he cannot think of heavenly things without thinking of his inevitable damnation. Then swords and knives, Poison, guns, halters and envenomed steel Are laid before me to dispatch myself.
And long ere this I should have done the deed, Had not sweet pleasure conquered deep despair. Not only does he reject God, he also believes that God cannot and will not save him.
Mephistopheles - Wikipedia
In his paranoid, depressed state, he hears God telling him that he is damned. Perhaps because of his prideful and self-important attitude, he believes he is being unjustly persecuted. Faustus uses these feelings to justify his dangerous actions. If he believes God has rejected him, Faustus can in turn reject God. Source Because Faustus is so blinded by pride and so vulnerable because of his unhappiness, Mephistopheles has an easy time deceiving him. He appears to warn Faustus not to make the deal: However, Mephistopheles is thinking of his own torment by being in a constant state of hell.
The concept of hell in Dr. Faustus is not a physical location, but instead the absence of God. Mephistopheles chides Faustus, saying: For Mephistopheles, who used to be a spirit with God until he was thrown out of heaven with Lucifer, poena damni—the punishment of separation from God—is a real torment. He plays upon his vanity and intellectual arrogance He subtly misleads Faustus as to the extent of the knowledge and power that he will be granted He exploits Faustus' more sensual sexual appetites — his taste for luxury and his sexual longings He even becomes his partner in playing practical jokes at the courts of the Pope and the Emperor.
An empty bargain Despite Faustus' aspirations, Mephistophilis diverts his path to baser goals. With the demon's help, therefore, Faustus acquires worldly fame, riches and sensual pleasures, and, as the play goes on, more emphasis is placed on these than on Faustus' intellectual aspirations.
After their earliest exchanges, Faustus' search for knowledge and understanding is barely mentioned and the pointlessness and emptiness of what Mephastophilis is prepared to offer become increasingly apparent.
Mephastophilis the manipulator Mephastophilis knows how and when to respond to Faustus' moods and demands: Sometimes, Faustus needs to be reminded of the nature of the moral realm he now inhabits, as with the appearance of the devil-wife in Scene 5 The appearance of the Seven Deadly Sins in Scene 7 provides Faustus with a necessary amusement at a moment of crisis The appearance of Helen of Troy in Scene 12 offers him an experience of transcendence at a moment of deep despair.
Honesty, loss and suffering It may seem strange to think of Mephastophilis, celebrated as a tempter and deceiver, as an honest character, yet, in some respects this is how he appears in Doctor Faustus.
Certainly, he ultimately delivers less in return for his victim's soul than Faustus hopes for. However, Faustus' disappointment arises less from any specific deception on the part of Mephastophilis than from Faustus' own mistaken expectations. The demon is never less than honest about the inevitable outcome of Faustus' bargain.
Doctor Faustus vs. Mephistopheles, or The Unfair Bargain
An unexpected dimension of Mephastophilis' character, which throws into relief Faustus' periods of self-deception, is his capacity for suffering. Perhaps his own experience of a sense of loss and rejection is essential to his ability to understand, manipulate and capture souls. Certainly, his ejection from Heaven with the rebellious Satan has not robbed him of the ability to feel exclusion or to regret the loss of Heaven's joys.
Marlowe uses this to make clear to the audience, if not always to Faustus, that to defy God is to inherit an eternity of suffering. Mephastophilis as a modern character One of the ways in which Doctor Faustus can be seen as an early modern rather than a medieval play is the element of complexity that Marlowe gives to the character of Mephastophilis, particularly in the way he describes Hell.
The medieval depiction of hell In church sermons and in the wall paintings of the Last Judgement to be found in many medieval churches and other religious buildings, Hell was a visual reality. It is represented as a place of eternal bodily sufferings, a region of fire, foul smells and torturing demons who are seen inflicting appalling pain on damned souls.
Hell was also to be seen in Miracle and Morality playsoften represented as the open black mouth of the devil, surrounded by flames and paintings of devils, serpents and other creatures. In these plays, the evil characters disappeared into this hole at the moment of damnation.
In the later fixed theatres, they would probably be dragged down through a trapdoor in the stage. Marlowe is conscious of this aspect of Hell and, as Faustus disappears at the end of the play, it is clear that his physical sufferings have already begun. Mephastophilis is in rather a special situation, since he is among those who have experienced both Heaven and Hell His heart is certainly not hardened and he is not reconciled to the loss of Heaven's joys because he is eternally conscious of them: Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God, And tasted the eternal joys of heaven, Am not tormented by ten thousand hells In being deprived of everlasting bliss?
O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands, Which strike a terror to my fainting soul. Scene 3, Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed In one self place; for where we are is hell, And where hell is, must we ever be. And to conclude, when all the world dissolves, And every creature shall be purified, All places shall be hell that is not heaven. Scene 5, Faustus' blindness On the first of these occasions, Faustus responds to Mephastophilis' evident pain with a kind of mocking arrogance: What, is great Mephastophilis so passionate For being deprived of the joys of heaven?
What, walking, disputing, etc'. In both cases, Faustus is so excited by the power and knowledge he expects to receive that he refuses to believe Mephastophilis' clear warnings. For all his intelligence, there are some important lessons that Faustus does not learn until it is too late.