"Dr. Faustus:" An Analysis of Mephastophilis Essay

"Dr. Faustus:" An Analysis of Mephastophilis Essay

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Mephastophilis is the devil that Faustus summons through his initial magical experiments. He is the same devil that was cast from paradise with his master Lucifer. In `Dr Faustus,' Marlowe creates Mephastophilis' personality from his own imagination, which causes Mephastophilis to be almost human at times. Mephastophilis is bound to Faustus because Faustus sold his soul to Lucifer for twenty-four years of Mephastophilis' service. During this time Mephastophilis sometimes openly despises Faustus' folly in disbelieving him, yet at other times Mephastophilis is like a companion or servant to Faustus as the scholars used to be.

These two aspects to Faustus' character can be shown through his appearance, actions and his language in particular. Mephastophilis is a terrifying devil in a human's eye and when Faustus first sees him he is disgusted by the sight of him as it is shown when he says:

"I charge thee to return and change thy shape,

Thou art too ugly to attend on me;

Go and return an old Franciscan Friar." (Scene3, lines24-26)

So Mephastophilis in the image of a devil is too ugly for Faustus too look at and surely must have scared him. Mephastophilis obeys Faustus and comes back as a Franciscan Friar. There is irony in this because a Franciscan Friar is a very committed Christian, but Mephastophilis is a devil and so it is ironic that a devil is pretending to be a strong Christian. Here it is also quite likely that Marlowe as an atheist is mocking the Catholic Church.

We already know that Mephastophilis has strong loyalty to Lucifer since he was prepared to follow his master even if it meant being thrown out of paradise, which he was. Scene three also shows Mephastophilis' loyalty to Lucifer in mo...


... middle of paper ...


...om hell is standing in front of him and telling him that it does exist. They feel sorry that Mephastophilis has got to put up with Faustus for twenty-four years. When Mephastophilis tells Faustus of how he was thrown from paradise and that he has to suffer a "thousand hells," makes the audience feel sympathy towards him. The important thing is though that Mephastophilis' personality has been created by Marlowe and therefore a real devil may have been completely different and humans would not have felt sympathy for them. The audience do admire Mephastophilis since he has such strong loyalty to Lucifer.

So overall Mephastophilis can be seen as a terrifying devil, a tempter, loyal disciple of Lucifer, Intellectual match for Faustus, an honest character and a companion to Faustus in the play. The audience do feel sympathy for him at times and admire his loyalty.

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