Doctor Faustus Questions and Answers
by Christopher Marlowe

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What role does Mephistopheles play in Doctor Faustus? Do you hold him responsible for the doom of Doctor Faustus? Explain.

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Mephistopheles acts as a kind of intermediary between Dr. Faustus and Lucifer. He's the one who keeps Faustus happy with all the goodies he was promised in return for his mortal soul, such as power, wealth, and the ability to perform extraordinary feats of magic. To top it all off, he even takes Faustus on a guided tour of the heavens so that he can learn the secrets of creation. Mephistopheles is clearly very good at keeping Faustus sweet.

However, Mephistopheles is also charged by Lucifer with keeping Faustus in line. Lucifer knows that Faustus, like all humans, is fallible and is more than likely to get cold feet about the Devil's bargain that he's made. The closer Faustus gets to the end of his twenty-four years of untold power and riches, the greater the chances that he will request to be released from the terms of the deal.

That's where Mephistopheles comes in. He has to make sure that Faustus doesn't start thinking about God and Heaven, and that if he does, then he must be kept in line through threats and distractions. Lucifer doesn't trust anyone, let alone a fallible human, so it's important for him to have someone on hand who can keep Faustus on the straight and narrow—or the crooked and narrow, to be more precise.

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