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Mephistophilis is a devil of craft and cunning. We may consider him to be the villain of the play Doctor Faustus as it is he who seems to lure away Faustus to the path of hell. He acts as the agent of Satan. Faustus had direct dealing with him and he is the source of Faustus’s rise and downfall. Though Mephistophilis acts as the agent of the Devil, he does not influence the decision of Faustus in any matter. Faustus himself with his extreme pride and inordinate ambition is the root cause of his own damnation. It is Faustus who himself decides to gain superhuman power and Mephistophilis . shows the path to hell for Faustus. 

For example, while signing the contract, Faustus’s blood congeals and Mephistophilis brings his ‘chafer of coals’ to make the blood flow. When Faustus wants to marry the most beautiful woman in Germany, Mephistophilis very cleverly dissuades him from marrying like a Christian and offers him a mistress, At the request of the Old Man, when Faustus thinks of repenting, Mephistophilis threatens to kill him if he dares to repent. In the final scene he appears with other devils to snatch away Faustus’s soul to hell for eternal damnation. 

Mephistophilis is Lucifer’s vice-regent. He is considered to be one of the seven spirits of second rank. He bears symbolic significance in Doctor Faustus. Faustus is extremely proud and inordinately ambitious. To practice the black art of magic he first denounced God and abjured ‘the scripture and his Saviour Christ’ and only then Mephistophilis, the Devil, flew ‘in hope to get his soul.’ Thus the evil is actually in Faustus’s own soul and Mephistophilis is the symbolic representation of it. He is nothing but a projection of the self of Faustus. “He symbolizes power without conscience, the danger of which is the motif of the play.” And this power without conscience ultimately brings about the downfall and _ eternal damnation of Doctor Faustus. So Mephistophilis may be said to be externalising the split conscience of Doctor Faustus. 

Then again, we may take Mephistophilis as the symbol of dramatic irony in the play. He has bitter experiences of hell as a fallen angel. He warns Faustus of the evils of necromancy and the suffering in hell. But Faustus with his pride and ambition does not heed all this, shuns the path of virtue and dreams of becoming ‘as great as Lucifer’ or to be as powerful ‘as Jove in the sky’ and ‘Lord and Commander of these elements.’ And thus Mephistophilis is made the symbol of dramatic irony that intensifies the tragic appeal of this great drama.


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