Mephistopheles in popular culture

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This article lists cultural references to Mephistopheles, the fictional devil from Faust and Doctor Faustus who has been used in other pieces of literature, film, comics and music.

Drama[edit]

Opera[edit]

  • 1816 - Ludwig Spohr's Faust (based on plays and poems by Klinger and von Kleist, derived from the Faust folk-tales)
  • 1846 - Hector Berlioz's "Légende dramatique" La Damnation de Faust (based on Goethe's Faust, Part One, but includes tragic ending without redemption for Faust, following the Faust folk-tales)
  • 1859 - Charles Gounod's Faust (loosely based on Goethe's Faust, Part One)
  • 1868 - Arrigo Boito's opera Mefistofele (the most faithful adaptation of Goethe's Faust, Part One. It's the only operatic adaptation to include Part Two as well)

Music[edit]

  • Mephiskapheles is a New York City-based ska band founded in 1990, with a playfully satanic theme after the fashion of heavy metal music. The band helped define, then transcended, the ska punk genre. Mephiskapheles' music has diverse stylistic influences including reggae, jazz and hardcore punk, and the band has made several national and international tours since 1995.[1]
  • Mephisto is mentioned in the song "If You Want A Receipt For That Popular Mystery" sung by Colonel Calverley in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Patience, in the lyric 'Force of Mephisto pronouncing a ban'.[2][unreliable source?]
  • Marilyn Manson has a song entitled "Mephistopheles of Los Angeles", from the 2015 album The Pale Emperor.[3][4]
  • The Police song "Wrapped Around Your Finger", from the album Synchronicity, mentions Mephistopheles in the third verse.[5][6]
  • The Radiohead song "Videotape" from In Rainbows mentions Mephistopheles.[7]
  • A lyric in the OneRepublic song "Love Runs Out" mentions "an angel on my shoulder and Mestopheles"; presumably the missing syllable was removed to keep the rhythm of the song consistent. However Ryan Tedder may be referring to Mr. Mistoffelees, from T.S Eliot's poetry.
  • The main character in the song "The Devil's Song" by Marcy Playground is Mestopheles.[8]
  • The band Streetlight Manifesto mentions Mephisto in the song "Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Café" and a demonic character presumed to be Mephisto is featured of the cover of the band's album "99 Songs of Revolution" and he is seen in the window of a café.
  • The Strung Out album The Element of Sonic Defiance has a song named "Mephisto".[9]
  • Kamelot has written the albums "Epica" and "The Black Halo", telling the tale of a deal Mephistopheles offers God (If Mephisto can claim the soul of God's favorite man, an alchemist and scholar named Ariel, then can he return to heaven. If not, then Mephisto will be condemned to hell forever.) In fact, the second album in the story has a song titled March of Mephisto.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra has written the album "Beethoven's Last Night" (2000), telling the tale of a deal Mephistopheles offers him (in exchange for his musical works, Beethoven will regain his soul, which was never taken from him in the first place). The album incorrectly presumed Mephistopheles and the Devil are one and the same.
  • Mephistopheles is a popular brass band 'contest' march composed by Shipley Douglas (1868-1920) of technical complexity, dynamic and rhythmic detail, and melodic variety out of the rigid conventions and structural formulae of the military march. It poses a stiff challenge for any band having more in common with a light opera overture than a traditional road march and as such, is a favourite march chosen by many of the top ban
  • On his 2010 album "Heartland", Owen Pallett included an original track entitled, "Tryst with Mephistopheles".

Film[edit]

Comics[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • In Goethe's Faust Mephisto is the personified principle of negation, betting with god that he would succeed to make Faust turn away from god.
  • In The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett, Mephistopheles is the name of a highly intelligent goat befriended by one of the characters. Mephistopheles is able to count to twenty and use the privy.
  • In the fictional works of the Bengali author Narayan Gangopadhyay, a character named Tenida (Bengali টেনিদা) had the catchphrase "De la grande Mephistopheles! Yak yak!" (ডি লা গ্রান্ডি মেফিস্টোফিলিস! য়াক য়াক!)
  • In Dina and Daniel Nayeri's Another Faust series, Mephistopheles takes the form of a beautiful governess named Nicola Vileroy, taking children from their families, offering them deals that involve supernatural gifts and raising them to be highly influential members of society. It is implied that among her charges were Elizabeth I and Harry S. Truman.
  • In the Matthew Reilly novel, The Four Legendary Kingdoms, a character named "Mephisto", who is a human who has been completely tattooed red, with surgically implanted horns. The character and his ancestors are shown to be the cause of the "Mephistopheles" myth.

Anime[edit]

  • In the animated version of Shaman King, Faust VIII refers to his spirit, Eliza, as Mephisto E during the Shaman Fight, which is playing upon the Faustian legend he is associated with.
  • In the Japanese anime of Digimon Tamers, Mephistomon is the name of an Ultimate Level Digimon.
  • In the show Blue Exorcist, Mephisto Pheles or Mephisto is the zany headmaster of True Cross Academy. While this version is obsessed with Otaku culture, he carries several German elements in his spells as well as a fondness for making bets. The anime ending even has a short flashback and several other allusions to the original tale of Faust.
  • In Japanese anime/manga series Black Butler, the main character, Ciel Phantomhive, makes a Faustian contract with Mephistopheles, who takes on a human identity, Sebastian Michaelis, and lives as Ciel's butler to blend into Victorian England.

Television[edit]

  • In the show South Park, Dr. Mephesto is the name of a mad scientist who lives upon the hill outside of town.[10]
  • Ultraman Nexus features three Evil Ultras as the servants of the show's main antagonist, Dark Zagi. The three Dark Ultras are based around the story of Faustus; Dark Faust, who is defeated by Nexus fairly early into the show's run, Dark Mephisto, who survives his first encounter with Nexus and goes on to become his arch rival, and a stronger version of Mephisto named Mephisto Zwei. Mephisto Zwei eventually meets his end at the hands of Nexus and a reformed Mephisto, who manages to find the light and achieves peace before sacrificing himself to defeat his stronger counterpart.
  • Mephistopheles appears in Hex, portrayed by Ronan Vibert. Mephistopheles serves as a guide to Malachi, but also uses psychological tactics by getting him to do what Mephistopheles wants him to.
  • Mephistopheles also appears in The Librarians episode "And the Infernal Contract", portrayed by John DeLancie. He is shown as having formed a contract with the leading family of a small New Hampshire town, orchestrating accidents and epidemics throughout the town's history in ways that benefit them. He subsequently targets an old friend of Eve Baird's, persuading him to sign a new contract in return for his soul. However, Eve manages to nullify the deal by tricking Mephistopheles into giving up his immortality, stripping him of his powers.
  • In episode 524 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Manos' dog is referred to by Tom Servo as "Mephisto".
  • Mephistopheles makes an appearance in Xena: Warrior Princess (season 6) episode "The Haunting of Amphipolis".
  • In Battlestar Galactica 1978, Mephistopheles is portrayed by Patrick Macnee and appears in the episodes War of the Gods Part 1 and Part 2. He is found alone on a planet near a crashed spaceship and is brought back to the fleet, calling himself Count Iblis. There he uses his supernatural powers to perform miracles and convinces the people to follow him. During this time, several pilots go missing and orbs of light appear around the Galactica and the fleet. Apollo returns to the planet along with Starbuck and Sheba where his true identity is discovered. Apollo is killed in the confrontation. Starbuck and Sheba, while returning his body to the fleet, they are intercepted by the Ship of Lights where Apollo is resurrected. All pilots are returned to the Galactica with their memories wiped. However, Apollo, Starbuck, and Sheba recite the course that will take them to Earth.

Video games[edit]

  • In the Diablo game series, Mephisto is the Lord of Hatred and is one of the Three Prime Evils of the game.
  • In Demon's Souls, Mephistopheles is a female non-player character (NPC) who tasks the player with assassinating other key NPCs in the game.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Mephistopheles is a Caster-class Servant and a minor antagonist in the London story chapter.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the main antagonist is a shadowy demon named Mephiles the Dark, who spends a large part of the game manipulating the heroes.
  • In Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, Mephistopheles is the main antagonist and the final boss.
  • In Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Mephistopheles appears as the main antagonist and final boss in the Zombies mode.
  • In Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, a digimon of the growlmon species goes by the name Mephisto and possesses a hacker.

Other games[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]