Doctor Faustus

Mephastophilis Character Analysis

Mephastophilis is the devil Faustus summons when he first tries his hand at necromancy, and he remains at Faustus's side for much of the rest of the play, doing his bidding, answering his questions, distracting him when he has doubts about his decision to sell his soul, and even taking him on an eight-day tour of the known universe on a chariot drawn by dragons. It is Mephastophilis who encourages Faustus to take a blood oath that Lucifer should have his soul when his twenty-four years are up. His motivations for pushing so hard to keep Faustus may seem ambiguous, since he admits to being miserable in Hell and to regret having forsaken God, but he basically explains himself with the now-famous proverb: Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris (loosely translated, misery loves company).

Mephastophilis Quotes in Doctor Faustus

The Doctor Faustus quotes below are all either spoken by Mephastophilis or refer to Mephastophilis. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. edition of Doctor Faustus published in 2005.
Scene 3 Quotes

I am a servant to great Lucifer,
And may not follow thee without his leave;
No more than he commands must we perform. (40-42)

Related Characters: Mephastophilis (speaker), Doctor Faustus, Lucifer
Page Number: 1.3.40-42
Explanation and Analysis:

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For when we hear one rack the name of God,
Abjure the Scriptures, and his savior Christ,
We fly in hope to get his glorious soul. (47-49)

Related Characters: Mephastophilis (speaker), Doctor Faustus
Page Number: 1.3.47-49
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Go bear these tidings to great Lucifer,
Seeing Faustus hath incurred eternal death
By desperate thoughts against Jove's deity:
Say, he surrenders up to him his soul
So he will spare him four and twenty years,
Letting him live in all voluptuousness,
Having thee ever to attend on me,
To give me whatsoever I ask,
To tell me whatsoever I demand,
To slay mine enemies, and aid my friends,
And always be obedient to my will. (87-89)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis, Lucifer
Page Number: 1.3.87-97
Explanation and Analysis:

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Had I as many souls as there be stars,
I'd give them all for Mephastophilis.
By him I'll be great emperor of the world. (102-104)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis
Page Number: 1.3.102-104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 5 Quotes

But Faustus, thou must bequeath it solemnly,
And write a deed of gift with thine own blood,
For that security craves great Lucifer. (34-36)

Related Characters: Mephastophilis (speaker), Doctor Faustus, Lucifer
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 2.1.34-36
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Thanks, Mephastophilis, yet fain would I have a book wherein I might behold all spells and incantations, that I might raise up spirits when I please. [...] Nay, let me have one book more, and then I have done, wherein I might see all plants, herbs, and trees that grow upon the earth. (163-173)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis
Page Number: 2.1.161-171
Explanation and Analysis:

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When I behold the heavens, then I repent,
And curse thee, wicked Mephastophilis,
Because thou hast deprived me of those joys. (177-179)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis
Page Number: 2.3.1-3
Explanation and Analysis:

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Why should I die then, or basely despair?
I am resolved! Faustus shall ne'er repent.
Come, Mephastophilis, let us dispute again,
And argue of divine astrology. (207-210)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis
Page Number: 2.3.31-34
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 12 Quotes

Sweet Mephastophilis, entreat thy lord
To pardon my unjust presumption;
And with my blood again I will confirm
My former vow I made to Lucifer. (60-63)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis, Lucifer
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 5.1.70-73
Explanation and Analysis:

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One thing, good servant, let me crave of thee,
To glut the longing of my heart's desire:
That I might have unto my paramour
That heavenly Helen which I saw of late,
Whose sweet embracings may extinguish clean
These thoughts that do dissuade me from my vow:
And keep mine oath I made to Lucifer. (72-78)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis, Lucifer
Page Number: 5.1.81-87
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Scene 13 Quotes

Ugly hell gape not! Come not, Lucifer!
I'll burn my books—ah, Mephastophilis! (112-113)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis, Lucifer
Page Number: 5.2.115-116
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mephastophilis Character Timeline in Doctor Faustus

The timeline below shows where the character Mephastophilis appears in Doctor Faustus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 3
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
...hear this.) He begins his Latin incantation, calling a number of devils by name, including Mephastophilis. (full context)
The Renaissance Individual Theme Icon
One devil, Mephastophilis, appears before Faustus, who immediately commands him to leave and come back in a different... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
Mephastophilis re-enters and asks Faustus what he wants him to do. Faustus commands him to wait... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
Faustus asks Mephastophilis about Lucifer and the fallen angels: why they fell, where they are damned, and how... (full context)
The Bargain Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Faustus tells Mephastophilis to propose a deal to Lucifer: Faustus will give Lucifer his soul in return for... (full context)
Scene 5
The Bargain Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...go with his deal, thinking of all the wealth he will amass. He summons up Mephastophilis and asks if there is news from Lucifer. Mephastophilis announces that Lucifer has accepted the... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Faustus asks what Lucifer wants with his soul. Mephastophilis informs him that Lucifer seeks to enlarge his kingdom and make others suffer as he... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
The Bargain Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Mephastophilis leaves and re-enters with more devils, bringing Faustus crowns and expensive clothing. Mephastophilis promises Faustus... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
With his newfound power, Faustus first seeks to increase his knowledge. He asks Mephastophilis exactly where hell is. Mephastophilis answers that hell “hath no limits” (5, 120) and is... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
Faustus orders Mephastophilis to get him a wife and he returns with a devil in women's clothing, which... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
After resolving not to repent, Faustus continues asking Mephastophilis questions. He asks him about astronomy, the planets, and the universe. He asks who made... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
At Faustus' invocation of Christ, Mephastophilis appears with Lucifer and Belzebub (another devil). Lucifer tells Faustus that Christ cannot save him... (full context)
Scene 7
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
Faustus enters with Mephastophilis. Faustus recounts how they have traveled throughout Europe and asks Mephastophilis if they are now... (full context)
The Renaissance Individual Theme Icon
...was supported by the German emperor. The pope humiliates and ridicules Bruno for opposing him. Mephastophilis and Faustus disguise themselves as two cardinals and the pope gives Bruno to them to... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
...enters with a cardinal and some friars, ready to eat at a banquet. Faustus and Mephastophilis, invisible, curse loudly and snatch dishes from the table. The pope and the friars think... (full context)
Scene 8
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
...They deny that they have the goblet, and Robin casts a spell to conjure up Mephastophilis, who scares the vintner away. Mephastophilis is angry at being summoned by the lowly Robin... (full context)
Scene 9
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
...bring Alexander forth, and leaves, not wanting to be present for the conjuring. Faustus has Mephastophilis leave and return with the spirits of Alexander and Alexander's paramour. The emperor examines the... (full context)
Scene 11
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
The Duke and Duchess of Vanholt entertain Faustus (and Mephastophilis) at court. Faustus asks the Duchess what he can conjure that would please her, and... (full context)
Scene 12
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
Faustus and Mephastophilis are with several scholars. One of them asks Faustus to conjure up Helen, the mythical... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
...to repent. Faustus is enraged and shouts that he is damned and ought to die. Mephastophilis gives Faustus a dagger. The old man says he sees an angel over Faustus' head,... (full context)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
The Bargain Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Faustus says he wants to repent. In response, Mephastophilis calls him a traitor and threaten to “in piecemeal tear thy flesh,” (12, 59). Faustus... (full context)
Scene 13
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
The Renaissance Individual Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
Faustus explains that he wanted to go back on his deal, but Mephastophilis threatened to tear him to pieces. The scholars leave to go pray for Faustus. The... (full context)