Ostensibly, Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus sold his soul for a
superhuman type of knowledge that could puff up his all-too-human pride. Once that occurred, all the good intentions in (and out) of the world only served to pave his road to Hell a little farther. Stern Calvinists have been noting for centuries (perhaps a bit too gleefully) that Marlowe’s fatalistic theme fits right in with their doctrine of predestination (i.e., some be saved - and the rest be damned).
Goethe’s Faust makes out somewhat better since his quest for knowledge was based more upon a mystical yearning than upon hubris. Not only is his beloved Gretchen “saved” (at least in the later revised version of Faust Part One), but Faust himself ultimately goes to Heaven at the end of Part Two. The Devil and his good (bad?) buddy, Mephistopheles, have obviously been softening over the years.
However, a little dealing through eBay might soon accomplish what centuries of literary genius could not – and that is the complete makeover of the Mephistopheles “brand.” No longer flying the unfriendly skies, Mephistopheles is now humbly disguised as everyone’s best buy. The Christian Post reported that bids began at $2,000 for the opportunity to “save the soul” of a distraught New Mexico woman who admits to being near the end of her rope.
You can bet that Mephistopheles is hanging right there with her, even though not specifically mentioned by name in this eBay listing.
Copyright July 10, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved