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Frederick The Monk
59750.  Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:10 am Reply with quote

Question: In what form does the devil first appear to Dr. Faust?

Forfeits: Snake/ Angel/ Woman

Answer: In Faust (1808), part one, lines 1147-1176, the learned Faust first encounters Mephistopheles disguised as a black Poodle.

Notes: In Goethe's 'Faust - A Tragedy' Mephistopheles appears to Faust in the form of a black poodle:

Yon black hound
See’st thou, through corn and stubble scampering round?

I’ve mark’d him long, naught strange in him I see!

Note him! What takest thou the brute to be?

But for a poodle, whom his instinct serves
His master’s track to find once more.

Dost mark how round us, with wide spiral curves,
He wheels, each circle closer than before?
And, if I err not, he appears to me
A line of fire upon his track to leave.

Faust then takes the poodle home but is worried that he's a bit lively:

Be quiet, poodle! what worrisome fiend hath possest thee,
Nosing and snuffling so round the door?

His worries are confirmed when, in this rather unusual scene, the poodle tranforms into Mephistopheles via a hippo:

How long and broad my poodle grows!
He rises from the ground;
That is no longer the form of a hound!
Heaven avert the curse from us!
He looks like a hippopotamus,
With his fiery eyes and the terrible white
Of his grinning teeth! oh what a fright
Have I brought with me into the house! Ah now,
No mystery art thou!
Methinks for such half hellish brood
The key of Solomon were good.

And finally:

[As the mist sinks, steps forth from behind the stove, dressed as a travelling scholasticus_.]
Why all this noise? What is your worship's pleasure?

This was the poodle's essence then!
A travelling clark? Ha! ha! The casus is too funny.

Now that's magic!

Goethe hated dogs, particuarly poodles, and most of all a performing Poodle who co-starred in a travelling play, The Dog of Aubry, with a popular comedian named Karsten; When the owners of the Weimar Theatre agreed to allow a production, Goethe (then serving as director) resigned (some sources say he was fired); to explain his actions, he wrote, to his friend Johann Schiller, as follows:

The theater stage is not a kennel
Nor a home for curs.
Enter poodle -- exit poet:
No artist to a dog defers.

To say 'stark naked' in German you can say poodle-naked. 'He stood there like a wet poodle' is a German expression meaning someone looked sheepish or small.

1825, from Ger. Pudel, shortened form of Pudelhund "water dog," from Low Ger. Pudel "puddle" (cf. pudeln "to splash") + Ger. Hund "hound." Probably so called because the dog was used to hunt water fowl. Fig. sense of "lackey" (chiefly British) is attested from 1907. Poodle-faker, British army slang for "ingratiating male," is from 1902.

Links to: Devils/ Dogs/ Dachshunds/ More Devils (Satan's Kingdom)/ Doctors/ Dislikes


Pictures/Props: An engraving of Faust with his devilish pixie - like this one?

or this one by Rembrandt:

Researcher: JP

Frederick The Monk
63087.  Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:29 am Reply with quote

Updated 31/03/06

65901.  Mon Apr 17, 2006 9:22 am Reply with quote

"The devil, who could take the form of any animal, was never allowed to appear in the form of a lamb."

- The Independent, 15 April 2006


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