Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)

Mephistophilis

Mephistophilis is a demon whom Faustus conjures up while first using magic. Readers initially feel sympathy for the demon when he attempts to explain to Faustus the consequences of abjuring God and Heaven. Mephistophilis gives Faustus a description of Hell and the continuous horrors it possesses; he wants Faustus to know what he is getting himself into before going through with the bargain:

Think’st thou that I who saw the face of God And tasted the eternal joy of heaven Am not tormented with ten thousand hells In being deprived of everlasting bliss? O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands Which strikes a terror to my fainting soul! [33]

However, Faustus believes that supernatural powers are worth a lifetime in Hell:

Say he (Faustus) surrender up to him (Lucifer) his soul So he will spare him four and twenty years, Letting him live in all voluptuousness Having thee (Mephistophilis) ever to attend on me (Marlowe 15)

Some scholars argue that Mephistophilis depicts the sorrow that comes with separation from God. Mephistophilis is foreshadowing the pain Faustus would have to endure, should he go through with his plan.[34] In this facet, Faustus can be likened to Icarus, whose insatiable ambition was the source of his misery and the cause of his plight.


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