The Devil for a Companion — Goethe and Shelley

  • Andrew J. Welburn


With surprising affability, the Lord in Goethe’s audacious Prologue in Heaven to the great poetic drama of Faust, receives Mephistopheles before the celestial throne. Evidently at ease, the visiting Devil explains that he has often found occasion to call on ‘the old fellow’ up above, and speaks appreciatively of God’s magnanimity in allowing him free access to realms where he hardly belongs: he has always been treated, he says, very civilly. For his part, the Lord accounts for his indulgence thus:

The active spirit of man soon sleeps, and soon

He seeks unbroken quiet; therefore I

Have given him the Devil for a companion,

Who may provoke him to some sort of work,

And must create forever.


Ultimate Reality Human Spirit Ultimate Truth Active Spirit Greek Mythology 
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Copyright information

© Andrew J. Welburn 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew J. Welburn
    • 1
  1. 1.New CollegeOxfordUK

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