in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Parnassus makes several deals or wagers with Mr. Nick, who is supposed to be a personification of the devil. However, we learn that most of the deals made with Mr. Nick, even when won, usually don't have a good ending.

For example, Parnassus became immortal and young again after a deal with Mr. Nick; however, in exchange he had to hand over any kids he had at the age of 16. So, while the deal may seem good to begin with, it still had a bad result.

And yet, Parnassus never learns to not take these deals. Why?

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    It's a great question. Been years since I've seen this movie, but the relationship you mention, as well as the Tom Waits casting choice, was extremely compelling. Possibly Dr. P. is a gambling addict, always thinking he can get the better of the Devil next time around. It's about the adrenaline of the bet more than the outcome. (I'd have to re-watch to give a definitive answer though.)
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 17:42
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    Exactly, as @DukeZhou said - Parnassus was a gambling addict. It's pretty clear in the movie, Mr. Nick even states it himself.
    – mzywiol
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


Because he doesn't want to lose his soul; the more souls he can collect from other people and give to the devil in lieu of his own, the better (that's what I believe, at least).

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