A Comparitive Study Of The Work Of

The Devil Essay, Research Paper

It is true that the study of the devil or evil in general as a

part of the world has intrigued

man for centuries. This is mostly because it is something people don’t have

concrete proof of

and is also considered taboo in our society. Yet, studies and/or story

telling on the devil and his

evil forces seems to have been apart of all societies since the begining of

time. Such as,

Christpher Marlowe’s play, The Tragical History of Dr. Faustas, written in

the 16th century

and the modern day film, The Devil’s Advocate, starring Al Pacino and Keanu


The devil in Marlowe’s play doesnt come to Dr. Faustas as himself ,

instead he sends

one of his disciples named Mephistophilis. When Mephistophilis first comes to

Dr. Faustas he

comes as himself, a demon like creature that is not quite appealing to the

eye and seems to

frighten or sicken Dr.Faustas. Dr. Faustas immediatley asks Mephistophilis to

come back as

something more pleasant, such as a fransiscan friar. The devil immediatly

does so. I assume he

does this to please Dr. Faustas and to show him that with the type of power

he possesses he

can appear to be or even change into whom ever he wants. This being

something that the

doctor can also achieve by giving up his soul. He also offers Dr. Faustas

many things such as,

knowledge (something the Doctor can’t get enough of) and tells the Doctor

that he can basically

have everything he desires in exchange for his soul.

Something very similar to this instance also occurs in The Devils

Advocate. In the

beginning of the film Keanu Reeves is approached by a man( also a messenger

of the devil’s) in

a bar offering him a job opportunity in Manhattan and to persuade him to come

he offers him a

very large sum of money. When Keanu arrives he is surrounded by all the

materialistic things he

could desire in addition to the power and acknowledgment he so strongly

desires. This is all

once again there to tempt him towards evil and persuade him to sell his soul.

Another pertinant similarity between the 16th century play and the modern

day film is

the chance that both characters were given to give it all up, leave the devil

and regain their souls,

yet the outcome is far different.

In Marlowe’s play, Dr. Faustas is approached by an old man who tries to


Faustas to leave the devil and regain his soul. Faustas declines this plea

and continues on the

path he already was on, despite the fact that he was beginning to doubt the

actual rewards of his

endeavor. In opposition to the play’s character, during the film when Keanu

Reeves is offered

even more rewards to procreate with his sister and birth an anti-christ ,thus

ending his life as he

knows it and completely giving his soul to evil, he declines in the only way

he thinks possible,

commiting suicide.

The major difference in the play and the film is the way the devil

presents himself. In the

play, Dr. Faustas calls the devil and is looking for another source of

knowledge and power. The

devil comes to him not trying to hide his persona or his pursuit of evil, but

rather promoting the

cause from the beginning. Knowing the outcome of his acceptance of the devil,

Dr. Faustus

knowingly accepted the devil and all of his gifts. On the other hand, in the

film, Al Pacino (the

devil) presents himself as a friendly successful lawyer who can offer Keanu

Reeves everything

he ever wanted such as, money, power, and most importantly a successful

carrer. Yet in an

honest fashion and without knowingly giving up his soul.On these terms Keanu

Reeves accepts.

That is where I feel the major differnce in the portrayal of the devil

between the play and the film

exists.The fact that Dr. Faustas willingly accepts all gifts and willingly

gives up his soul, while

Keanu Reeves only accepts all this on the merit that Al Pacino is a

legitimate laywer.

Yet, overall the modern day outlook on the devil isn’t much different

than the outlook of

many years ago. In both portrayls the devil had to physically show himself in

a disguise, he had

to lie in one way or another to gain the soul of his concubines, and in both

the film and the play

the devil is there only to promote evil and only offers things to people that

wil eventually benefit


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