Mephistopheles (also Mephistophilus, Mephistophilis, Mephostopheles, Mephisto, Mephastophilis and variants) is a demon featured in German folklore. He originally appeared in literature as the demon in the Faust legend, and he has since appeared in other works as a stock character version of the Devil.
Although Mephistopheles appears to Faustus as a devil—a worker for Satan—critics claim that he does not search for men to corrupt, but comes to serve and ultimately collect the souls of those who are already damned. Farnham explains, "Nor does Mephistophiles first appear to Faustus as a devil who walks up and down in earth to tempt and corrupt any man encountered. He appears because he senses in Faustus’ magical summons that Faustus is already corrupt, that indeed he is already 'in danger to be damned'."