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Deal with the Devil

Deal with the Devil
"Pact with the Devil" redirects here. For the 1950 Italian film, see Pact with the Devil (film).
For the album by the rock band Lizzy Borden, see Deal with the Devil (album). For other uses, see Deal with the
Devil (disambiguation).
Written deal
A deal with the Devil or pact with the Devil is a cultural motif, best
exemplified by the legend of Faust and the figure of Mephistopheles,
but elemental to many Christian folktales. The "Bargain with the devil"
constitutes motif number M210 and "Man sells soul to devil" motif
number M211 in Stith Thompson's Motif-Index of Folk-Literature.
According to traditional Christian belief in witchcraft, the pact is
between a person and Satan or a demon. The person offers his or her
soul in exchange for diabolical favours. Those favours vary by the tale,
but tend to include youth, knowledge, wealth, or power.
It was also believed that some persons made this type of pact just as a
sign of recognizing the Devil as their master, in exchange for nothing.
The bargain is considered a dangerous one, as the price of the Fiend's service is the wagerer's soul. The tale may
have a moralizing end, with eternal damnation for the foolhardy venturer. Conversely, it may have a comic twist, in
which a wily peasant outwits the Devil, characteristically on a technical point. The person making the pact
sometimes tries to outwit the devil, but loses in the end (e.g., man sells his soul for eternal life because he will never
die to pay his end of the bargain. Immune to the death penalty, he commits murder, but is sentenced to life in prison).
Great achievements might be credited to a pact with the Devil, from the numerous European Devil's Bridges to the
violin virtuosity of Niccol Paganini to the "crossroad" myth associated with Robert Johnson.
Saint Wolfgang and the Devil, by Michael Pacher.
It was usually thought that the person who had made a pact
also promised the demon to kill children or consecrate them
to the Devil at the moment of birth (many midwives were
accused of this, due to the number of children who died at
birth in the Middle Ages and Renaissance), take part in
Sabbaths, have sexual relations with demons, and sometimes
engender children from a succubus, or an incubus in the case
of women.
The pact can be oral or written. An oral pact is made by
means of invocations, conjurations, or rituals to attract the
demon; once the conjurer thinks the demon is present, he/she
asks for the wanted favour and offers his/her soul in
exchange, and no evidence is left of the pact; but according
to some witch trials and inquisitions that were performed,
even the oral pact left evidence, namely the diabolical mark,
an indelible mark where the marked person had been touched
by the Devil to seal the pact. The mark could be used as a
Deal with the Devil
proof to determine that the pact was made. It was also believed that on the spot where the mark was left, the marked
person could feel no pain. A written pact consists in the same forms of attracting the demon, but includes a written
act, usually signed with the conjurer's blood (although sometimes was also alleged that the whole act had to be
written with blood, meanwhile some demonologists defended the idea of using red ink instead of blood and others
suggested the use of animal blood instead of human blood). Forms of these include contracts or simply signing your
name into Satan's Red Book.
These acts were presented often as a proof of diabolical pacts, though critics claim there is no proof of whether they
were authentic, written by insane persons believing they were actually dealing with a demon, or just were fake acts
presented by the tribunals of the Inquisition. Usually the acts included strange characters that were said to be the
signature of a demon, and each one had his own signature or seal. Books like The Lesser Key of Solomon (also
known as Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis) give a detailed list of these signs, known as diabolical signatures.
The Malleus Maleficarum discusses several alleged instances of pacts with the Devil, especially concerning women.
It was considered that all witches and warlocks had made a pact with some demon, especially with Satan.
According to demonology, there is a specific month, day of the week, and hour to call each demon, so the invocation
for a pact has to be done at the right time. Also, as each demon has a specific function, a certain demon is invoked
depending on what the conjurer is going to ask.
In the narrative of the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is offered a series of bargains by the devil, in which he is promised
worldly riches and glory in exchange for serving the devil rather than God. After Jesus rejects the devil's offers, he
embarks on his travels as the Messiah
(see Temptations of Christ).
Theophilus of Adana, servant of two masters
The predecessor of Faustus in Christian mythology is Theophilus ("Friend of God" or "Beloved of god") the
unhappy and despairing cleric, disappointed in his worldly career by his bishop, who sells his soul to the Devil but is
redeemed by the Virgin Mary. His story appears in a Greek version of the sixth century written by a "Eutychianus"
who claims to have been a member of the household in question.
A ninth-century Miraculum Sancte Marie de Theophilo penitente inserts a Virgin as intermediary with diabolus, his
"patron", providing the prototype of a closely linked series in the Latin literature of the West.
In the tenth century, the poet nun Hroswitha of Gandersheim adapted the text of Paulus Diaconus for a narrative
poem that elaborates Theophilus' essential goodness and internalizes the seduction of Good and Evil, in which the
devil is magus, a necromancer. As in her model, Theophilus receives back his contract from the devil, displays it to
the congregation, and soon dies.
A long poem on the subject by Gautier de Coincy (1177/81236), entitled blindfold Theophilus vine a pnitence
provided material for a thirteenth-century play by Rutebeuf, Le Miracle de Thophile, where Theophilus is the
central pivot in a frieze of five characters, the Virgin and the Bishop flanking him on the side of Good, the Jew and
the Devil on the side of Evil.
Deal with the Devil
Alleged diabolical pacts in history
Urbain Grandier's alleged diabolical pact
Johann Georg Faust, whose life was the origin of the Faust
Urbain Grandier, seventeenth-century French priest, who
was tried and burned at the stake for witchcraft. One of
the documents presented at his trial was a diabolical pact
he supposedly signed, which also bears what are supposed
to be the seals of several demons, including that of Satan
Jonathan Moulton, eighteenth-century brigadier general of
the New Hampshire Militia, alleged to have sold his soul
to the Devil to have his boots filled with gold coins when
hung by the fireplace every month.
The idea of "selling your soul for instrumental mastery/fame"
has occurred several times:
Niccol Paganini, Italian violinist, who may not have
started the rumour but played along with it.
Giuseppe Tartini, Venetian violinist and composer, who
believed that his Devil's Trill Sonata was inspired by the Devil's appearance before him in a dream.
Tommy Johnson, blues musician
Robert Johnson, blues musician, whom legend claims to have met Satan at a crossroads and signed over his soul
to play the blues and gain mastery of the guitar.
Infernus, black metal musician; according to the Gorgoroth site, he founded the band "[a]fter making a pact with
the Devil in 1992".
Metaphorical use of the term
The term "a pact with the Devil" is also used metaphorically to condemn a person or persons perceived as having
collaborated with an evil person or regime. An example of this is the still-controversial case of Rudolf Kastner in
Israel, in which the term was used in reference to Kastner's collaboration with Adolf Eichmann during the Holocaust
in 1944 Hungary. According to some, the term served to inflame public hatred against Kastner, culminating in his
[1] [1] Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, 2nd ed. (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1955-58), vol. 5, pp. 39-40.
[2] [2] Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13
[3] Representative examples of the Latin tradition were analysed by Moshe Lazar, "Theophilus: Servant of Two Masters. The Pre-Faustian
Theme of Despair and Revolt" in Modern Language Notes 87.6, (Nathan Edelman Memorial Issue November 1972) pp. 3150.
[4] Ruickbie, Leo (2009). Faustus: The Life and Times of a Renaissance Magician. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-5090-9.
Deal with the Devil
External links
The Smith outwits the Devil (http:/ / oaks. nvg. org/ ntales13. html#smith): a Norwegian folktale
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