The Faustian Myth Old And New English Literature Essay

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By presenting in detail and by analysing the three key stages of the Faustian legend-invocation, pact, resolution-the second chapter demonstrates how this myth acquires innovative, modern dimensions in the sense that: there is a new perspective on the relationship man-evil spirits, the contract with the devil acquires an original form and meaning, and the resolution indicates more than doom or damnation.

From time immemorial, men have feared the devil and have considered him an omnipresent spirit lying in wait of the sinners' souls. Lurking as it may, the figure of the devil becomes multidimensional in his relationship to the characters in The Master and Margarita and The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus-not only is he dreaded but he also curiously turns out to be an intriguing, mysterious being, a respected companion, and a entertaining individual. Both literary works depict the devil as a necessary evil, a character who triggers all the ensuing events of the books and who reveals, mocks, and cures certain flaws of the human being in particular and of society in general.

The first main distinction between Marlowe's drama and Bulgakov's novel is that Mephostophilis is invoked whereas Woland is not. Even the chromatics used by the two authors announces the appearance of the devil differently. Faustus summons Mephostophilis by using Latin formulae of conjuration found in the book of necromancy:

Sint mihi dei Acherontis propitii! Valeat numen triplex

Iehovae! Ignei, aerii, aquatici, terreni spiritus salvete!

Orientis princeps Lucifer, Beelzebub inferni ardentis monarcha, et

Demogorgon, propitiamus vos ut appareat et surgat Mephostophilis!

Quid tu moraris? Per lehovam, Gehennam, et consecratam

aquam quam nunc spargo, signumque crucis quod nunc facio, et

per vota nostra, ipse nunc surgat nobis dicatus Mephostophilis! (Marlowe 57)

The incantation is vocalised in a dark, gloomy setting, under the protection of the night and inscribed in the circle that Faustus draws, where he writes "Jehovah's name / The breviated names of holy saints, / Figures of every adjunct to the heavens, / And characters of signs and erring stars," (Marlowe 57). In this respect, Michael Mitchell avers:

According to the Clavicula Salomonis or Agrippa's Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, the circle afforded protection from the power of the spirits which might be called up; in other words it afforded a symbolic space for consciousness which was not immediately immersed in the elements of the unconscious, as might happen in dreams or in madness. (58)

The circle becomes a shield, protecting Faustus against the unleashed evil authority that is knowingly called upon. Through its defensive function, the circle shows that Faustus is still in doubt or uneasy about continuing the magic charm.

On ending the incantation, Mephostophilis appears as a devilish spirit: feeling repulsion towards his appearance, Faustus asks that he turn into a Franciscan friar. Many critics have argued that Marlowe chooses the image of a Franciscan monk since their religious congregation constitutes an exception from the critique aimed at clerical orders during the Reformation. Besides this aspect, the transition spirit-body suffered by Mephostophilis may linked to the one between imagination and reality according to Mitchell:

The projection of an analytically divided part of what is felt, in its previous unconscious state, to be an original unity, is the mirror image of the Gnostic creation process. It allows a 'reality' to become perceptible and apparently exterior and autonomous. (60)

Suddenly, Mephostophilis equals Faustus' unconscious side of the psyche, awoken "per accidens" (Marlowe 58) as the devil clearly puts it: "For when we hear one rack the name of God, / Abjure the scriptures and his saviour Christ, / We fly, in hope to get his glorious soul;" (58).

In The Master and Margarita, there exists no such invocation. Woland, the devil, appears ex abrupto in the 1930s Moscow, during the Passover Week. The novel itself opens in media res with two men walking and chattering at Patriarch's Ponds: "The first was Mikhail Alexandrovich Berlioz, chairman of Massolit," (Bulgakov 11) and the other "was the poet Ivan Nikolaevich Ponyrev, who wrote under the pseudonym of Homeless" (11). The pitch dark night no longer creates the background here, although the devil appears at sunset; instead, the setting is dominated by a dusty yellow-this colour pops up time and again during the novel, for instance when the Master meets Margarita for the first time and she is carrying a bouquet of yellow flowers. The two lovers' meeting is analogised with the one between Berlioz and Homeless at the beginning of the story, when the hot weather and the completely deserted street create an eerie, unnatural atmosphere. Even the warm apricot juice the two men drink produces yellow foam. It is in this context that Berlioz first notices "a transparent citizen of the strangest appearance ... A citizen seven feet tall, but narrow in the shoulders, unbelievably thin, and, kindly note, with a jeering physiognomy" (Bulgakov 12). Although this is not the devil himself, but only a member of his suite, Berlioz feels terrified, questioning his health and sanity. It is only later that Woland springs up from nowhere:

First of all, the man described did not limp on any leg, and was neither short nor enormous, but simply tall. As for his teeth, he had platinum crowns on the left side and gold on the right. (...) under his arm he carried a stick with a black knob shaped like a poodle's head. He looked to be a little over forty. Clean-shaven. Darkhaired. Right eye black, left - for some reason - green. Dark eyebrows, but one higher than the other. In short, a foreigner. (Bulgakov 13)

The description of his garments and posture reveals a true aristocrat with an air of eccentricity, unlike Mephostophilis who is a mere "servant to great Lucifer" (Marlowe 58).

While Berlioz and Ivan discuss the poet's recent creation meant to deny Christ's existence, Woland barges in and takes the two aback when he affirms that Christ is as real as the devil since he himself witnessed the Saviour's execution. Woland is immediately labelled an insane foreigner by the two until he introduces himself: "the poet managed to make out the word 'Professor' printed in foreign type on the card, and the initial letter of the last name - a double 'V' - 'W'" (Bulgakov 18). Given his status of professor (disregarding the field-black magic) and his elitist attitude, Woland embodies the exact social type dismissed by the Soviet regime. Nevertheless, the actions carried out during his three-day stay in Moscow satirically depict the greedy and corrupt Stalinist society. After all, Woland is best described by the novel's motto, taken from Goethe's Faust: "'... who are you, then?' / 'I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good'" (Bulgakov 11). He embodies a necessary evil, much like Mephostophilis in Marlowe's play, whose mission-in the spirit of didacticism-is to teach a moral lesson by punishing Faustus. Exactly like Woland, Mephostophilis confirms God and his kingdom's existence, when Faustus asks him: "FAU. And what are you that live with Lucifer? / MEPH. Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer, / Conspir'd against our God with Lucifer, / And are for ever damn'd with Lucifer" (Marlowe 59). Moreover, Mephostophilis correlates hell with the human mind, in the sense that hell becomes an extension of the mind and that it also equals the latter in its negative power (Mitchell 61): "FAU. How comes it then that thou art out of hell? / MEPH. Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it" (Marlowe 59). Mephostophilis reiterates this aspect when he exposes the fact that "Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscrib'd / In one self place, but where we are is hell" (65).

Both Woland and Mephostophilis have a suite of their own meant to help them and to reinforce the purpose of their visits. Bulgakov's devil's entourage accompanies Woland everywhere; it comprises a cat, two men, and a woman whose sole concern is to obey their master. Behemoth is "a tom-cat, who appeared out of nowhere, huge as a hog, black as soot or as a rook, and with a desperate cavalryman's whiskers" (Bulgakov 43) that can walk on its hind legs and talk but it is also able to take the form of humans for a short while sometimes. What is more, this cat has a tooth for vodka and it enjoys playing chess. Next, Koroviev or Fagott is a former choirmaster. He is the one whom Berlioz spots floating at the beginning of the novel. Koroviev has the ability to create numerous illusions; unlike the others, he does not use violence at any point. Then, Azazello is "a short but extraordinarily broad-shouldered man, with a bowler hat on his head and a fang sticking out of his mouth. And with flaming red hair besides" (68). This redheaded, one-fanged messenger is a fallen angel who, according to the Old Testament, teaches women how to craft jewels and how to paint their faces (Book of Enoch 8:1-3). Finally, Hella, the "girl who was wearing nothing but a coquettish little lacy apron and a white fichu on her head. The girl was distinguished by an irreproachable figure, and the only thing that might have been considered a defect in her appearance was the purple scar on her neck" (157), is the vampire maid. She is considered to be a succubus, the domineering female icon of medieval folk tales. All of them address Woland with the appellative Messire-a mark of his superior rank-and they all have specific tasks to carry out as my following analysis reveals.

In Marlowe's play, Mephostophilis disposes of several episodic, petty evil spirits that obey his orders. Subsequently, there are a number of scenes which depict the conjuration of devils that bring Faustus jewelry (when his blood coagulates at the beginning), that dress up in women (to make Faustus' wish of having a wife come true), that punish other characters (Benvolio, Frederick, and Martino), that serve on Faustus and his scholars, and ultimately those that take away Faustus' soul in the end. The only evil spirits noteworthy of naming are Beelzebub and Lucifer-Satan himself. They appear in key moments of the play in order to reassure the protagonist's obedience to the dark kingdom. Besides them, the Seven Deadly Sins are equally significant in the sense that they offer Faustus a deceiving promise of delight and, more importantly, they represent the doctor's own character flaws: "BEEL. Faustus, we are come from hell in person to show thee / some pastime. Sit down, and thou shalt behold the Seven / Deadly Sins appear to thee" (Marlowe 70).

Whether alone or accompanied, both Woland and Mephostophilis prove to be cunning enough to determine the protagonists to seal a pact with them whereby the latter feel blindly empowered and sign off their souls.

The Gnostic Devil Tricked Them into Signing

The infamous pact with the devil takes place at different moments in the two literary works. In The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus for instance, the deal occupies most of the play and it constitutes the catalyst for the other events. In The Master and Margarita, on the other hand, the agreement is decided upon much later, towards the end of the novel. This time, the agreement represents only a small part of the book's larger scope and it changes the traditional terms of the Faustian bargain.

Christopher Marlowe's tragedy involves two connected poles on which lay the accord: the tempted and the tempter. The latter, Mephostophilis, is portrayed as Faustus' equal and counterpart; he mirrors-at the beginning of the play-the scholar's contempt towards medicine, philosophy, law, and his religious dissidence:

Be a physician, Faustus, heap up gold, / And be eterniz'd for some wondrous cure. / Summum bonum medicinae sanitas, / The end of physic is our body's health. / Why, Faustus, hast thou not attain'd that end? (...)

Such is the subject of the Institute / And universal body of the law. / This study fits a mercenary drudge / Who aims at nothing but external trash, / Too servile and illiberal for me. (...)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there's no truth in us. / Why, then, belike we must sin, and so consequently die. / Ay, we must die an everlasting death. / What doctrine call you this? Che sarà, sarà: / What will be, shall be! Divinity, adieu! (Marlowe 51-2)

Faustus' monologue in the incipit of the play triggers the invocation of the devil and the subsequent pact because he deems relevant solely necromancy and magic.

After Mephostophilis materialises, the Good and the Bad Angel are introduced in the play, the former trying to convince Faustus to repent and ask for God's mercy-"GOOD ANG. Sweet Faustus, leave that execrable art" (Marlowe 62), whereas the latter seeking to encourage the protagonist to go on with his pact-"BAD ANG. Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art" (62). From this moment on, the two angels appear several times and on every occasion, Faustus seems persuaded by what the Bad Angel tells him; in fact, the two angels represent the scholar's inner doubt and his constant pendulum between Heaven and Hell.

Blinded by images of wealth and power, Faustus agrees to seal the accord with Mephostophilis. The material richness and the political power towards which Faustus so fervently aspires have been interpreted as an emblem of colonial authority that mirror the cultural climate of Marlowe's time: "His ambitions (...) reflect precisely the contemporary colonial preoccupations of the European powers, and Faustus' magic dreams are of the spirit of superior technology, in ships, armaments," (Mitchell 68). Greediness and visions of power win over his initial quest for knowledge: "Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please, / Resolve me of all ambiguities, / Perform what desperate enterprise I will?" (Marlowe 53). He even dreams of conquering Africa, taking slaves and rummaging through the Orient for commodities and opulence: "fly to India for gold, / Ransack the ocean for orient pearl / And search all corners of the new found world / For pleasant fruits and princely delicates" (Marlowe 53). In order to achieve these, he is resolute to sign the pact with the devil. Performed like a ritual, the written bond

On these conditions following:

First, that Faustus may be a spirit inform and substance;

Secondly, that Mephostophilis shall be his servant and at his command;

Thirdly, that Mephostophilis shall do for him and bring him whatsoever;

Fourthly, that he shall be in his chamber or house invisible;

Lastly, that he shall appear to the said John Faustus at all times in what form or shape soever he please;

I, John Faustus of Wittenberg, doctor, by these presents do give both body and soul to Lucifer, prince of the east, and his minister Mephostophilis, and furthermore grant unto them that, four-and-twenty years being expired, the articles above written inviolate, full power to fetch or carry the said John Faustus, body and soul, flesh, blood, or goods, into their habitation wheresoever.

By me John Faustus. (Marlowe 64)

is designed as a mind-boggling dramatic scene where an ill-omened "Homo Fuge!" (64) warns Faustus not to continue. Despite this caveat message, Faustus' hesitations are done away with by lesser devils bringing him jewelry and his blood starts running again once Mephostophilis fetches a "chafer of fire" (64).

The fact that the pact between Faustus and Mephostophilis is structured as a written bond is of utmost significance. On signing and sealing the pact in blood-"the token of its physical reality" (Mitchell 72), the scroll becomes a modern, legal paper that binds its parts to respect its terms. This agreement represents the propitious starter for the subsequent events and it marks the onset of capital accumulation, as exposed by the precepts of Marxism: "In the beginning was the Deed" (quoted by Hedges 95). Moreover, the pact mentions a time limit of twenty-four years. This time span makes reference to adulthood and to the protagonist's ability to discern between good and evil-hence, Faustus' assuming responsibility for his own decisions; but it equally "symbolizes the 24 hours of the day, and thus time in general, subordinate to the laws of entropy," (Mitchell 72).

There are a number of key episodes that mark the stages of the pact; of these, the comic relief scenes will be dealt with in the following chapter. Besides them, on other occasions, Faustus is told to travel extensively throughout Europe and farther but also in Heaven to learn the secrets of astronomy; he equally punishes those who cross him and invokes the spirit of Alexander the Great in a make-believe battle with the Persian king Darius, thus impersonating a demiurge for the German emperor Charles V. Crucial for the development of the play remain the parade of the Seven Deadly Sins and the conjuration of Helen of Troy. Various reviewers, among whom Lorraine Kochanske Stock in Medieval Gala in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (372-85), have underlined the correlation between the Sins and Faustus' flaws, especially greed and pride. The pageant of the Sins is brought about by Beelzebub and Lucifer who intimidate Faustus when the latter thinks of repenting and of asking for Christ's forgiveness: "LUC. Talk not of paradise or creation, but mark the show" (Marlowe 70). Despite being personified and imbued with voice, the Seven Sins (Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, and Lechery) are but mere "zoo or circus animals" (Mitchell 74), rather undisruptive, "'caged' by the conventional structures and hierarchies of Christian society and religion" (74). According to L.L. James' article in the Litteraria Pragensia (1995):

What is properly revealed in Faustus, however, is that the subject is duped by his own desire (as the desire of the Other); by the chimerical objects of fantasy, those objects causing Faustus' desire and at the same time - and this is the indispensable paradox - posed retrospectively by his desire. (30, author's emphasis)

James clearly suggests that the Sins represent the epitome of Faustus' instincts or unconscious drives. Therefore, in the light of Freud's theory and his notion of id, one can easily resort to a psychoanalyst reading of the pact with the devil. As for Helen of Troy or Helen of Greece, the same may be applied; she is summoned to appear towards the end of the play, when one of the scholars accompanying Faustus asks to "see that / peerless dame of Greece, whom all the world admires for majesty," (Marlowe 103). She is said to embody the anima or the feminine side of the psyche and she stands for "the Gnostic Helen of Simon Magus, the 'first thought of God', the Ennoia, principle of wisdom" (Mitchell 72), whose image is charged with poetic solemnity: "FAU. Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? / Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. / Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!" (Marlowe 106). Helen's emergence represents the tragic climax of the play, leading to Faustus' denouement and pointing out that even a malevolent character longs for love and understanding.

Mikhail Bulgakov's novel presents not a written, but a verbal contract between the tempter, this time one of Woland's followers-Azazello-and the tempted, Margarita Nikolaevna, the bored housewife who painfully recounts of one year of separation from her beloved Master. Unlike the isolated setting in Marlowe's play (Faustus' study), here the agreement is decided upon in a park, a public space where onlookers inadvertently witness it: "Margarita remembered her last night's dream, remembered how, exactly a year ago to the day and the hour, she had sat next to him on this same bench" (Bulgakov 171). As much a servant to Woland as Mephostophilis is to Lucifer, Azazello pops up of nowhere and interrupts Margarita's thoughts while she ponders over the identity of a deceased person whose procession is passing by. Initially considering the redheaded stranger a crook, Margarita seems baffled when Azazello recites a passage from the Master's novel. From then on, she is won over and blindly agrees to take up Azazello's invitation, on condition she regains her lover:

'I implore you, tell me only one thing ... is he alive? ... Don't torment me!' 'Well, he's alive, he's alive,' Azazello responded reluctantly. (…) 'Forgive me, forgive me,' the now obedient Margarita murmured, 'of course, I got angry with you.' (…) 'It's half an hour now that I've been wangling you into it ... So you'll go?' 'I will,' Margarita Nikolaevna answered simply. (Bulgakov 173-74)

This time the accord is packed in fewer words than that of Marlowe's play. There is no prolonged expectation, no warning sign such as Faustus' homo fuge, not even the dichotomy Good Angel-Bad Angel that is supposed to reflect the protagonist's inner doubt. On this occasion, the extended question-answer session that we witness in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus about the origin of the world and the limits of knowledge does not exist anymore. Instead, the questions and answers focus on certain individuals' destinies, thus no longer exposing the myth in its fundamental form but rather conforming to a pattern of "myths by analogy" or "relative myths" (Jolles 48).

In The Master and Margarita, the pact is not secured out of boredom or dissatisfaction but actually grief or despair and the pursuit of knowledge (the primacy of intellect) is replaced by the one of love (the primacy of affect). Margarita's initial companion-Azazello-is not invoked like Mephostophilis, nor is he the equal of the heroine like Mephosto is Faustus'. Alternatively, the two characters in Bulgakov's book reveal an androgynous relationship, of the type given by the coexistence of male and female features, in spite the fact that Azazello's clumsiness regarding women is frankly expressed: "'Difficult folk, these women!' 'Why, for instance, was I sent on this business? Behemoth should have gone, he's a charmer...'" (174).

In terms of colonialism, the narrative does not hint at so many aspects of power and governance as does in Marlowe's play, although there are certain key depictions that suggest a colonial interpretation of the pact. For instance, the reader may notice recurring images of Black subservient dead men catering to the needs of the guests during Satan's Ball: "…some naked negroes with silver bands on their heads who were standing by the columns. Their faces turned a dirty brown from excitement when Margarita flew into the ballroom with her retinue," (Bulgakov 200-01) or "Next to them negroes in scarlet headbands dashed about, filling flat cups from the pools with silver dippers" (201). The same relationship between dominator and dominated is alluded to when the narrator presents Margarita as Queen Margot; everybody bows in front of her during the Grand Ball and stands in awe when she walks by. Margot rapidly assumes the role she has been attributed, surrounded by a plethora of servant-like minor devils. At some point, Woland even drops Margarita "A hint: one of the French queens who lived in the sixteenth century would be very amazed if I would be leading her lovely great-great-great-granddaughter on my arm through the ballrooms of Moscow" (193). Therefore, Margarita's image is associated to the European Renaissance when colonial powers seek to enlarge their territories.

Moreover, the contract between Margarita and Woland is developed by moving through key episodes, just as in the tragedy written by Marlowe. Amongst them, Satan's Ball is relevant for its net of intertextual representations but especially for providing the reader with at least three major keys of interpretation: a psychoanalytical one, a magical realist one, and a Stalinist one derived from Marxism. Often identified with the Walpurgis Night in popular culture, the sumptuous festivity hosted by Woland and Margot alludes to famous musicians (Johann Strauss), historical figures (the Roman emperor Caligula) as well as countless other dukes, earls and barons, all of whom are confined to Hell because each of them has a major flaw, an basic drive that keeps surfacing and that rules their personality: greed, selfishness, lie, homicide, or betrayal. Thus, every individual is reduced to one unconscious instinct that governs their afterlife: "A confirmed counterfeiter, a traitor to his government" (203) or "this one was a queen's lover and poisoned his wife" (203) or "she gave birth to a boy, took him to the forest, stuffed the handkerchief into his mouth, and then buried the boy in the ground" (204). Besides this, people are even reduced to animals in order to demonstrate the same aspect linked to their unconscious drives' of course, the most obvious literary analogy here is to George Orwell's Animal Farm. For example, Margarita's neighbour, Nikolai Ivanovich, is changed into a hog-like flying servant that Natasha-Margarita's maid-rides through Moscow.

When it comes to magical realism, the description abounds in supernatural elements such as coffins popping out of the fireplace-"A half-rotten little coffin ran out of the fireplace, its lid fell off, and another

remains tumbled out of it" (202), blood-flooded baths, alcohol fountains springing from the wall-"Between these walls fountains spurted up, hissing, and bubbly champagne seethed in three pools" (201), tropical forests ethereally materialised, and garments altered in the blink of an eye. Most of these moments are used metaphorically as they satirize the Stalinist Moscow that constitutes the historical context in which the novel is written. One of the most significant allegories of this type is described when Berlioz's severed head is transformed into a goblet by Woland; and since Berlioz is the chairman of the Massolit, the devil's gesture carries the weight of a punishment directed against those who have the authority to dictate literary censorship during the Stalinist era. In a similar episode that hints at the complex link between Bulgakov himself and a possible identification with his hero, Margarita retaliates against Latunsky, the critic who leads to the barring of the Master's manuscript through his judgmental article: "The devastation she wrought afforded her a burning pleasure, and yet it seemed to her all the while that the results came out somehow meagre" (Bulgakov 182). Additionally, other easily noticeable traces of Marxism are evinced in the relationship between the ruling class and the working class, for instance the rapport between Margarita and Natasha Nikolaevna, as well as in the latter's attempt to outclass her social status.

Whether limited to a particular apartment in Moscow and a single night or deployed abroad over several years, the pact with the devil changes the course of the events and grants its signers unexpected endings.


The beginning of the end announces the inevitable death of the protagonists in both The Master and Margarita and in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. There are certain aspects that foreshadow not only death but also the existence of afterlife.

In Bulgakov's novel, the image of the black-goggled "angel of the bottomless pit" (Revelation 9:11)-Abaddon-hints at mortality. Besides this, much earlier, at the very beginning of the narrative, Woland discusses Kant's theory made up of five proofs meant to demonstrate that God does not exist; however, he also mentions that the philosopher himself devises a sixth moral proof that dismantles his previous hypothesis: "(...) old Immanuel's thought (...) he roundly demolished all five proofs, and then, as if mocking himself, constructed a sixth of his own" (Bulgakov 15). Even Woland comes up with a seventh so-called "experiential" (Amert 3) proof according to which afterlife exists: it refers to Berlioz's suspension in the afterlife when his cut off head is changed into a chalice and used by Woland to drink to being. In this way, death is proven to be a non-ending process: "Let it come true! You go into non-being, and from the cup into which you are to be transformed, I will joyfully drink to being" (Bulgakov 209). Another illustration of the cycle life-death-afterlife occurs when the Master and Margarita-having already been resurrected-doubt their very existence: "'Ah, I understand ...' the master said, glancing around, 'you've killed us, we're dead.' (…) 'you can think, so how can you be dead?'" (Bulgakov 282). Susan Amert in The Dialectics of Closure in Bulgakov's Master and Margarita considers that this episode is an allusion to the famous Cartesian maxim cogito, ergo sum (4).

Similarly, Marlowe's tragedy contains at least two evident signs which prefigure Faustus' transient destiny and his eventual death. The first one appears when the necromancer is about to sign the written bond; the words "Consummatum est" (Marlowe 64) undeniably refer to Christ's last words on the cross, meaning that everything is finished but also carrying an ironic tone (White 81). The second one emerges during the encounter with Helen when Faustus utters: "Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!" (Marlowe 106); certain critics have deemed this line a guised invitation addressed to the devil who awaits Faustus' soul (Besnault 22).

The authors of both literary works attribute a great significance to books and written documents. Thus, Bulgakov's narrative exposes that one of Margarita's granted wishes (besides asking for Frieda's forgiveness and being reunited with the Master) is the retrieval of her lover's manuscript which is miraculously salvaged since, according to Woland, "manuscripts don't burn" (Bulgakov 219). This quotation obviously points to the immortality of knowledge, science, and learning in general and to that of Bulgakov's work in particular. Paradoxically, too much knowledge of a certain aspect is equally dismissed only a few paragraphs later in the novel when Koroviev burns the Master's medical records from the clinic: "Koroviev flung the medical records into the fireplace. 'No papers, no person,' Koroviev said with satisfaction" (220). In a similar attempt of identity erasure, Faustus wants to burn his cursed necromancy books that have brought about his damnation: "would I had never seen Wittenberg, never read book!" (Marlowe 108) or "I'll burn my books!" (112). Consequently, the scholar ascribes his downfall to learning. As Marlowe's protagonist gains knowledge, he becomes the perfect archetype of the Renaissance humanist perfectible individual who succeeds in manipulating the reality "through a mastery of causality" (Mitchell 77). Nonetheless, this ability proves misleading, bound by the twenty-four years of the pact and Faustus eventually longs to become "less than a man" (Jump 36), "some brutish beast" (Marlowe 111) condemned only to extinction and not to eternal damnation. Hence, according to Martin Versfeld's article Some Remarks on Marlowe's Faustus, the scholar trades being for non-being when he discards the "principle of identity, A is A, God is God, being is being and not non-being, this pencil is this pencil, Helen is Helen, and a dead Helen is not a live Helen" (quoted by Mitchell 75).

There is no degradation of the human condition apparent in The Master and Margarita. The fate of the restored couple is decided a priori when Matthew Levi, the former tax collector and now Christ's messenger, arrives to inform Woland that "'He has read the master's work,' said Matthew Levi, 'and asks you to take the master with you and reward him with peace'" (Bulgakov 274). There are no other emissaries besides him; Azazello is sent to poison the two lovers and he is also the one who resurrects them without any prior notice. Unlike Bulgakov's, Marlowe's protagonist is visited by the two iconic angels just before his final monologue. This time, the Bad Angel speaks more than the Good One; he addresses Faustus last, shaping only a small part of what hell looks like and foretelling the dreadful ending of the play: "Hell is discovered. / BAD ANG. Now, Faustus, let thine eyes with horror stare / Into that vast perpetual torture-house" (Marlowe 110). In addition to their emergence, the play introduces an Old Man, presumably a last heavenly envoy that tries to convince Faustus to repent. Embodying the scholar's long-lost innocence, the Old Man softens Faustus' heart and he initially seems willing to pray for God's mercy: "OLD MAN. O gentle Faustus, leave this damned art" (104); instead, Faustus ends up in total despair and even orders Mephostophilis to punish the Old Man, thus obliterating any chance of salvation: "FAU. Accursed Faustus, where is mercy now? 70 I do repent, and yet I do despair;" (105) and "FAU. Torment, sweet friend, that base and aged man" (105). Fearing the devil's threat "Revolt, or I'll in piecemeal tear thy flesh" (105), Faustus renews his bond. This fact clearly shows that the initial pact did not make repentance impossible; nevertheless, suspense is maintained throughout the play, as the sinner's soul may somehow be saved in the end, according to the pattern of morality plays.

The most striking moment in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus remains the protagonist's final monologue, a gradual accumulation of tension that culminates into a "final paroxysm of fear" (Hirschfeld 19): "Enter Devils. / My God, my God! Look not so fierce on me! / Adders and serpents, let me breathe awhile! / Ugly hell, gape not! Come not, Lucifer; / I'll burn my books!-Ah, Mephostophilis!" (Marlowe 111-12). This "crescendo of fear and dramatic expectation" (Healy 177) is replete with fragmentary utterances of the type "Ah, Pythagoras' metempsychosis" or "curse thyself, curse Lucifer" (Marlowe 111) that are meant to build momentum. The veritable crisis of conscience that the scholar undergoes during his final soliloquy is marked by a "frenzied speech of multiple addresses" (Hirschfeld 19) that is illustrated by means of hyper-metricality: "The stars move still; time runs; the clock will strike; / The devil will come, and Faustus must be damned. / See, see where Christ's blood streams in the firmament! / One drop would save my soul, half a drop. (Marlowe 110). Faustus is both confused and horrified and his emotional involvement climaxes when he alternatively pleads for mercy from Christ, Lucifer, and God, not realizing any longer who the most adequate judge is. Certain exegetes like David Zucker go one step further in their analysis and identify one instance of dramatic irony inserted by Marlowe within this larger tragic framework: "For, as he attempts to reach up to heaven in supplication, he also reaches out to the infernal trinity observing him from above" (quoted by Besnault 38). The Unholy Trinity takes Faustus' soul away to hell when the clock strikes midnight. The scholars find his dismembered limbs "O, help us, heaven! see, here are Faustus' limbs, / All torn asunder by the hand of death" (Marlowe 112) and gaze in terror at this appalling image.

The final atmosphere is totally different in The Master and Margarita. Here, the result of the pact with the devil does not equate a gruesome ending; instead, the couple is forgiven and sent to an Eden-like setting similar to "Pushkin's dream of the 'distant abode of work and pure delight'" (Amert 5): "The master walked with his friend in the brilliance of the first rays of morning over a mossy little stone bridge. They crossed it. The faithful lovers left the stream behind and walked down the sandy path" (Bulgakov 291). The narrative denouement puts forward not only the Master and Margarita's perpetual love tale but also another ending that I will focus on in my following chapter, namely the closure of the story revolving around Pontius Pilate who is also granted forgiveness and is reunited with Yeshua Ha-Nozri.

Both literary works are sealed off with an epilogue meant to edify the reader and to meet his expectation. On the one hand, in Marlowe's tragedy, Faustus becomes an exemplum of wrongful behaviour that an impartial chorus severely warns against: "Faustus is gone: regard his hellish fall, / Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise / Only to wonder at unlawful things," (Marlowe 113). With the precise aim of reinforcing a conventional and appropriate conduct, Marlowe uses the pattern of a morality play and didacticism to underline his point; as G.K. Hunter confirms: "if Marlowe 'was an atheist in the modern sense at all, he was a God-haunted atheist', who suggests a passionate identification with the experiences of fear of damnation, repentance, and worship" (quoted by White 86). On the other hand, the lengthy epilogue of Bulgakov's novel presents a sudden explanation of all the astonishing events that took place in Moscow during the last three days-although any such explanation seems hardly believable-and present a third and last ending of a story to the reader; this time, it is Ivan Homeless, now Professor Ponyrev, that the narrator follows intimately in order to reveal a sequence of three dreams that torment his sleep annually during the Paschal full moon: the first one regards Gesta's assassination, the second one pictures Yeshua and Pilate debating the first dream, whereas the last one represents Ivan's meeting with the Master and Margarita. This last dream is the most significant one insofar as it constitutes a universal conclusion and it bears an aphoristic phrase that seals off the novel permanently: "'It ended with that, my disciple,' answers the man, and then the woman comes up to Ivan and says: 'Of course, with that. Everything has ended, and everything ends ...'" (Bulgakov 301).

Overall, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus and The Master and Margarita add new dimensions to the fundamental phases of the Faustian myth-invocation, pact, resolution-and they prove the legitimacy of this myth, showing that it remains convincing whether it respects the conventional pattern or it changes the terms of the equation.