- Alternative Character Interpretation: Even in individual versions, there is considerable variation in how characters in the story are treated. Faust — driven to his bargain from love for suffering mankind, or looking for a cheap and easy way to lord it over others? Mephistopheles — Anti-Hero seeking to subvert God's injustice, or diabolical hater wanting to damn others to his own misery? Wagner? Gretchen? The Emperor? God? The variations are endless.
- Faux Symbolism: Do you mean that Mephistopheles does not stand for Martin Luther, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, or The Tri-Lateral Commission?
- What an Idiot: Sure, I'll give up eternal happiness to be best buds with the Embodiment of Treachery and Pure Evil! Where do I sign?!
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Some authors (including Goethe!) have claimed that they had no basic message to convey in their versions of the story.
- Complete Monster: In this 1926 film, Mephisto, stymied in his efforts to unleash the Four Horsemen on the Earth, makes a bet with an angel, over whether he can corrupt the soul of Doctor Faust. Spreading disease throughout Faust's hometown—and murdering a priest when the latter notices his presence—Mephisto offers convinces Faust to sell him his soul in exchange for the power to heal his neighbours. When Faust's neighbours turn on him, Mephisto turns the doctor into a younger man, and takes him to Parma, where he forces the Duchess of Parma to fall in love with Faust, then kills her husband in a duel. He later forces Gretchen, an innocent girl, to fall in love with Faust, only to subsequently frame Faust and her for the murder of her mother and brother, resulting in her being burned at the stake, and Faust committing suicide.