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A comparitive study of the work of the devil

A Comparitive Study Of The Work Of The Devil

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 Reeves.

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 convince 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 himself.



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