Doctor Faustus

by: Christopher Marlowe

Lucifer

I am a servant to great Lucifer And may not follow thee without his leave. No more than he commands must we perform.

Mephostophilis introduces Lucifer as he explains to Faustus that he is completely under the control of Lucifer. Through this statement, Mephostophilis immediately identifies the character of Lucifer as synonymous with the prince of the devils, also known as Satan. Mephostophilis explains that Lucifer is the actual master and the only one truly in control.

Faustus. . . . Tell me, what is that Lucifer thy lord? Mephostophilis. Arch-regent and commander of all spirits. Faustus. Was not that Lucifer an angel once? Mephostophilis. Yes Faustus, and most dearly loved of God. Faustus. How comes it then that he is prince of devils? Mephostophilis. O, by aspiring pride and insolence, For which God threw him from the face of heaven.

This conversation between Faustus and Mephostophilis describes Lucifer’s background and how he came to be the prince of the devils. Mephostophilis explains that Lucifer was once an angel and dearly loved by God, but his arrogance and disrespect led to his dismissal from heaven. Lucifer’s story gives his character depth and complexity but also explains how he became the master of hell.

Thus from infernal Dis do we ascend To view the subjects of our monarchy, Those souls which sin seals the black sons of hell. ’Mong which as chief, Faustus, we come to thee, Bringing with us lasting damnation To wait upon thy soul. The time is come Which make it forfeit.

Lucifer meets with Belzebub and Mephostophilis to witness Faustus’s last night before damnation. Here, Lucifer describes coming to watch the souls whose sins have sent them to hell. His ultimate darkness becomes clear as Lucifer seems to hungrily wait for Faustus’s arrival in hell. Clearly Lucifer delights in others’ suffering.

No Faustus, curse thyself, curse Lucifer That hath deprived thee of the joys of heaven . . . It strikes, it strikes! Now body, turn to air, Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell! O soul, be changed into small water-drops And fall into the ocean, ne’er be found.

As Faustus finally accepts that only he and Lucifer are to blame for his fall from heaven, he reveals the terrifying darkness and evil surrounding the character of Lucifer. Not only does Lucifer control the other devils, such as Mephostophilis who persuaded Faustus to turn to evil, but he strikes fear in those whose souls he claims. In these lines, Faustus curses Lucifer but also describes how Lucifer shows no pity for his victims.