Faust — Part 1 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe…MEPHISTOPHELESI to the upper ranks do not belong;Yet if, by me companion’d, thouThy steps through life forthwith wilt take;Upon the spot myself I’ll makeThy comrade;— Should it suit thy need,I am thy servant, am thy slave indeed!FAUSTAnd how must I thy services repay?MEPHISTOPHELESThereto thou lengthen’d respite hast!FAUSTNo! No!The devil is an egoist I know:And, for Heaven’s sake, ’tis not his wayKindness to any one to show.Let the condition plainly be exprest!Such a domestic is a dangerous guest.MEPHISTOPHELESI’ll pledge myself to be thy servant here,Still at thy back alert and prompt to be;But when together yonder we appear,Then shalt thou do the same for me.FAUSTBut small concern I feel for yonder world;Hast thou this system into ruin hurl’d,Another may arise the void to fill.This earth the fountain whence my pleasures flow,This sun doth daily shine upon my woe,And if this world I must forego,Let happen then,—what can and will.I to this theme will close mine ears,If men hereafter hate and love,And if there be in yonder spheresA depth below or height above.MEPHISTOPHELESIn this mood thou mayst venture it. But makeThe compact! I at once will undertakeTo charm thee with mine arts. I’ll give thee moreThan mortal eye hath e’er beheld before.Pasted from <http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/3023/pg3023.html>
Goethe’s Mephistopheles’ Conception.“It is a moot question whether Goethe at first conceived Mephistopheles as the Earth-spirit’s envoy, sent for the express purpose of showing Faust about the world, or whether the Devil was thought of as coming of his own accord. Be that as it may, Faust is an experience-drama, and the Devil’s function is to provide the experience. And he is a devil, not the Devil, conceived as the bitter and malignant enemy of God, but a subordinate spirit whose business it is, in the world-economy, to spur man to activity. This he does partly by cynical criticism and opposition, but more especially by holding out the lures of the sensual life. At first Mephistopheles was not thought of as working solely for a reward in the shape of souls captured for eternity, but as playing his part for the diabolical pleasure of so doing. In the course of time, however, Goethe invested him more and more with the costume and traits of the traditionary Devil.”The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume I. Masterpieces of German Literature Translated into English. In Twenty Volumes. (1913).INTRODUCTION TO FAUSTBY CALVIN THOMAS, LL.D.Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Columbia UniversityPasted from <http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/11123/pg11123.html>
Mephistophilis. Of this name the etymology is very doubtful.
Old English drama – select plays; (1878)Ward, Adolphus William, Sir, 1837-1924http://www.archive.org/details/oldenglishdramas00warduoft
The Fortunes of Faust.From the web page:Historian Jeffrey Burton Russel writes:“The Faustbook tells how Faustus, abandoning Philosophy, turns to magic. Given the antischolastic bias of the Protestant Reformation, it was natural that the Faustbook should make the figure of the man who sells his soul to Satan a scholar: Faust desires to obtain knowledge by his own efforts rather than receive it by grace. This individualistic rebellion ties Faust’s sin to the original sin of humanity (Adam and Eve’s theft of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge) and to pride (the original sin of Lucifer himself)…In order to master magical lore, Faustus determines to call up the Devil. Going to the crossroads at night, he inscribes magical circles and characters upon the ground and invokes a spirit (Gaist) by the name of Beelzebub. Here the author deliberately mixes magic and witchcraft, the traditional signs and symbols of hermetic magic with the witch-like invocation of an evil spirit.”– Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern Age (P. 60-61; italics mine)The spirit which appears first takes the form of a dragon, then turns into a fiery globe, and finally into a greyfriar. It gives it’s name to Faust as “Mephistophiles,” a combination of Greek, Latin, and possibly even Hebrew elements. Russel breaks the name down as such: “Greek mē, “not”; phōs, photos, “light”; and philos, “lover” – yielding “he who is not a lover of the light,” an ironic parody of Lucifer, light-bearer.”by Jack Faust.Pasted from <http://vonfaustus.blogspot.ca/2010/06/fortunes-of-faust.html>
YouTube Video – Faust 1926 – The Evocation of MephistoPasted from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TCfNFckx6Q&feature=related>
YouTube Video – Svankmajer’s Faust 1994 – Faustus summons Mephistophilisfrom Svankmajer’s 1994 filmPasted from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEW4J2GUmn4&feature=related>
Goethe’s Margaret on Mephistopheles:MargaretI’ve long been grievedTo see you in such company. Faust Why, who?MargaretThat man who hangs round you so,I hate him in my innermost soul:Nothing in all my life has everGiven my heart such pain, no, never,As his repulsive face has done. Pasted from <http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/German/FaustIScenesXVItoXXV.htm>
Goethe’s Mephistopheles ruminates on FaustGoethe’s Mephistopheles (In Faust’s long gown.)Reason and Science you despise,Man’s highest powers: now the liesOf the deceiving spirit must bind youWith those magic arts that blind you,And I’ll have you, totally – Fate gave him such a spiritIt urges him ever onwards, wildly,And, in his hasty striving, he has leapt Beyond all earth’s ecstasies.I’ll drag him through raw life, Through the meaningless and shallow,I’ll freeze him: stick to him: keep him ripe,Frustrate his insatiable greed, allowFood and drink to drift before his eyes:In vain he’ll beg for consummation, And if he weren’t the devil’s, whyHe’d still go to his ruination!Pasted from <http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/German/FaustIScenesIVtoVI.htm>
Comparing Goethe’s Faust Translations — Kaufmann and Kline — and Google Translate.
It’s an art form. Translations vary. And rightly so. Even Google is subjective, though it’s but a homunculus or golem:
Here’s the original German:
Ich bin der Geist der stets verneint!
Und das mit Recht; denn alles was entsteht
Ist werth daß es zu Grunde geht;
Drum besser wär’s daß nichts entstünde.Faust. Eine Tragödie von Goethe. (Part 1 about line 1340)
So ist denn alles was ihr Sünde,
Zerstörung, kurz das Böse nennt,
Mein eigentliches Element.
Here’s Walter Kaufmann:
Mephisto:– Kaufmann, Walter (1963). “Introduction”. Goethe’s Faust : part one and sections from part two (Anchor books). Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday. p. 47. ISBN 0-385-03114-9
I am the spirit that negates.
And rightly so, for all that comes to be
Deserves to perish wretchedly;
‘Twere better nothing would begin.
Thus everything that your terms, sin,
Destruction, evil represent—
That is my proper element.
Mephistopheles:Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved. From <http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/German/FaustIScenesItoIII.htm>
I am the spirit, ever, that denies!
And rightly so: since everything created,
In turn deserves to be annihilated:
Better if nothing came to be.
So all that you call Sin, you see,
Destruction, in short, what you’ve meant
By Evil is my true element.
Here’s what Google Translate offers.
I am the spirit that always denies!
And rightly so; because everything that arises
Is worth that it perishes;
It would be better if nothing happened.von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. “Faust – Der Tragödie Erster Teil.” Google Translate, Google, . Oct. 2022.
So everything you do is sin,
destruction, in short called evil,
My actual element.
Not bad, Google!
Goethe’s Faust – God speaks with Mephistopheles:God:Have you nothing else to name?Do you always come here to complain?Does nothing ever go right on the Earth? 295Mephistopheles: No, Lord! I find, as always, it couldn’t be worse.I’m so involved with Man’s wretched ways,I’ve even stopped plaguing them, myself, these days.Pasted from <http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/German/FaustIProl.htm>