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see FaustFaust
, Faustus
, or Johann Faust
, fl. 16th cent., learned German doctor who traveled widely, performed magical feats, and died under mysterious circumstances.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(possibly of Greek origin:“hating the light,”from me,“not,” phos,“light,”and philos, loving; by another version, of Hebrew origin: mefits,“the destroyer,”and tofel,“a liar”) , the name of one of the spirits of evil, a demon, a devil; most often, according to legend, the name of the fallen angel Satan.

The folklore and fictional literature of various countries and peoples have frequently made use of the theme of a pact between a demon—a spirit of evil—and man. Sometimes poets have been drawn to the biblical story of the fall and expulsion from paradise of Satan and sometimes to his revolt against god (Milton, Byron, and M. lu. Lermontov). Not uncommon are farces, not far removed from folklore sources, in which the devil plays the role of an imp, a gay trickster who often falls into a trap. In a philosophical tragedy by Goethe, who reinterpreted motifs of a German folk legend, Mephistopheles is the tempter and antagonist of Faust. Pushkin made use of the figure of Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles is the Devil in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and T. Mann’s Doctor Faustus —the embodiment of moral nihilism. M. Bulgakov’s Woland is a Mephistophelian figure in The Master and Margarita; he and his retinue are grotesque spirits of evil who punish people for their vices. The image of Mephistopheles has also inspired painters (Delacroix and M. Vrubel’) and composers (Gounod, Berlioz, Liszt, A. G. Rubinstein).


Legenda o doktore Fauste. Edited by V. M. Zhirmunskii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Lakshin, V. “Roman M. Bulgakova Master i Margarita.’”Novyi mir, 1968, no. 6.
Milner, M. Le Diable dans la littérature française, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1960.
Kretzenbacher, L. Teufelsbiindner und Faustgestalten im Abendlande. Klagenfurt, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


fiend to whom Faust sells his soul. [Ger. Lit.: Faust]
See: Devil


the cynical, malicious devil to whom Faust sells his soul. [Ger. Lit.: Faust, Payton, 436]
See: Evil
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Mephisto
a devil in medieval mythology and the one to whom Faust sold his soul in the Faust legend
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: Robert Pomakov (Mephistopheles) and Chorus in Vancouver Opera's Faust
This transposition, however, does not feel fully integrated into the story-a pity, since real-life Philippine politics offers many diabolical characters far more fanciful and fleshed out than Mephistopheles.
With set designs by Ene-Liis Semper and choreography by Edvald Smirnov, this is a production which crackles with raw energy and devilish magic as Faust is drawn into Mephistopheles' enticing yet evil world of lust, power, and darkness ending in tragedy and despair.
This context is relevant for assessing Faustus's friendship with Mephistopheles. "Torment, sweet friend, that base and crooked age [the Old Man]," Faustus later in the play tells Mephistopheles, "[t]hat durst dissuade me from thy Lucifer" (5.1.76-77).
In Doctor Faustus, Mephistopheles's actions are believable, to a certain extent, because they can be--and are--explained.
Ghost Rider (Five, 7.55pm) | Motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze sells his soul to diabolical Mephistopheles to save the life of his father.
Partly because she is playing the role of Mephistopheles, which is highly unusual for an actress, but also because it has finally brought her into the fold at the Citizens Theatre.
The usual characters appear, including Faust, Mephistopheles, and Gretchen, but none adheres closely to the traits that define his or her character in previous Faust productions.
The articles focus upon the portrayal of hermaphrodites in literature such as in Julia Ward Howe's posthumous publication in 2004 of her novel 'The Hermaphrodite' (written around 1847) and Louisa May Alcott's 'Mephistopheles' (written in 1866).
Doctor Faustus, restless for knowledge, forsakes scholarship for magic and makes a pact with the Devil: if the veil spirit Mephistopheles will serve him for 24 years, Faustus will yield his soul to the Devil after death.
Then came a march Mephistopheles and a dazzling xylophone feature named Lizteria, featuring Joe Whelan and Taneli Clarke that earned the best solo/feature award.