Dr Faustus

Dr Faustus Quotes

  • Created by: aabidah
  • Created on: 06-04-12 18:37

Freedom and Confinement

- Greek Mythology reference - Chorus - No fear of continuing to better himself

- Stage direction - Isolation, authoritive?

- Talks about himself in 3d person (8 times in first speech) Sililoquy - His thoughts are important - Arrogance

- Faustus referring to Valdes and Cornelius, but they lead him to necromancy

- Long speeches - Talks a lot, but doesn't listen to good + bad angels - Act 1 scene 1

- Mephistopheles:- Isolated from heaven, everywhere without God is hell. Articulate when describing God.

- Mephistophiles:- Cannot give him a wife - marriage is a sacrement, Faustus desires a partner.

- Wagner:- Refers to Robin in this way, a desire to be free of servitude and be the master himself?

- Faustus:- mocking Mephistopheles - Extreme arrogance, may be an intellectual but has no idea what he's dealing with.

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Freedom and Confinement

- "His waxen wings did mount above his reach"

- [Enter Faustus in his study]

- "Settle thy studies Faustus"

- "My dearest friends" + "shall make all nations to canonise us"

- "How am I glutted with conceit of this!"

- "Why this is hell, nor am i out of it....saw the face of God"

- "Talk not of a wife"

- "Poor slave"

- "Is Mephistopheles so passionate for being deprived of the joys of heaven?", "I think hell's a fable"

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- Faustus:- Commits the final final sin of despair, cannot forgive himself and doesn't believe that God will either.

- The Good Angel:- Constantly warning Faustus to repent, ignored

- Lucifer:- Has no compassion for Faustus, both out to benefit themselves

- Wagner:- Worries about Faustus when no one else does, Faustus shows him compassion by leaving all of his possesions to Wagner.

- Faustus:- Cannot see what is before him, wants punishment for those who defy him, a sign for him to repent is ignored once again.

- Scholar:- Would have forgiven Faustus previously, could have saved him, they feel pity for him.

- Faustus:- His attempt at getting forgiveness - bargaining- it's too late, not sincere.

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- "My heart is so hardened, I cannot repent"

- "Think of heaven and heavenly things" + "God will pity thee"

- "Christ cannot save your soul, for he is just"

- "He hath given to me all his goods"

- "Torment...that base and crooked age that durst dissuade me from thy Lucifer"

- "Divines might have prayed for thee"

- "I'll burn my books"

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- Faustus:- Believes he is the one in control when in fact he is out of his depth - Making demands

- Mephistopheles:- Advising Faustus not to continue - Loyal to Faustus rather than Lucifer - Sympathetic.

- Lucifer is ultimate commander of Mephistopheles, he only wants his soul to please his lord.

- Wagner - Role reversal - He commands Robin - Parody plot

- Tell Faustus who made the world...Mephistopheles has his limits to what he can do for Faustus.

- Wagner:- Remains faithful to Faustus and is rewarded in the end

- Faustus betrays religion and God - Foreshadowing his suffering

- Faustus' final lines, tries to go back on the contract he has signed.

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Loyalty and Betrayal

- "I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live"

- "Leave these frivilous demands which strike terror to my fainting soul"

- "Lucifer thy Lord"

- "Poor slave"

- "I will not"

- "I think my master means to die shortly for he hath given me all his goods"

- "My heart is hardened, i cannot repent"

- "Come not, Lucifer! I'll burn my books"

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Versions of Reality

- Faustus believes he is in control - Sorely mistaken.

- Faustus is fooled by an illusion of beauty - Makes love to the devil

- The illusion of not seeing what is right before him, he is given plenty of opportunities to repent, yet ignores them.

- "Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the ******* towers of Illium?"..."Her lips **** forth my soul"

-  "I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live"

- "My heart is so hardened, I cannot repent"

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-Richard Dawkins: “the story of a Renaissance man who had to pay the medieval price for being one.” 

-“Now is he born, his parents base of stock, In Germany” – unlike the traditional focus of a tradgey, Faustus is a common man. He has more in common with the characters of Morality plays.

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Faustus believes he will be omniscient (all powerful):

“All things that move between the quiet poles

 Shall be at my command …A sound magician is a mighty god” 


“A sound magician is a mighty god” 

But the reality is different:

“it is not in my ability to present before your eyes the true substantial bodies of  those two deceased princes”. 

At the start of the play he claims:

“All things that move between the quiet poles

Shall be at my command”

By the end he is nothing more than a conjuror: 

“I am content to do whatsoever your majesty

shall command me.”

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Faustus commanding Mephastophilis: 

“Go, and return an old Franciscan friar;

That holy shape becomes a devil best” (satire/fear of Hell?)

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Parallels with the Devil

FAUSTUS: How comes it, then, that he is prince of devils?

MEPHIST. O, by aspiring pride and insolence;

For which God threw him from the face of heaven – Faustus is guilty of this sin himself.

“But, Mephastophilis,

My blood congeals, and I can write no more.” – a warning from God. One of many.

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Morality/Self Deception

 On his own mortality:

“What art thou, Faustus, but a man condemned to die?” 

“The reward of sin is death? That’s hard… 

We deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us. 

Why then belike we must sin, 

 And so consequently die.” Faustus fails to read on. He is deceiving himself! 

Mephastophilis himself tries to warn off Faustus:

“O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands, 

 Which strike a terror to my fainting soul.”

FAUSTUS: Come, I think hell’s a fable.

MEPHASTOPHILIS: Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind. Further 


“Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss:

 Her lips sucks forth my soul, see where it flies! 

 Come Helen, come, give me my soul again.” – he should be renouncing the  Devil and praying to God. He is still making the same mistakes.

“O spare me, Lucifer!” – even at the end Faustus remains fearful of Hell.

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Other Faustus Quotes

“Necromantic books are heavenly.” Deliberate juxtaposition of heaven/hell. Marlowe employs this to create controversy as ‘hell’ was a topic associated with taboo.

“Yet art thou still but Faustus and a man.” Longs to challenge boundaries of humanity. Similar to Victor’s monster – Faustus wants to re-create self as ‘unhuman’ being. Horror genre before its time.

"Lucifer described as “the Prince of Hell.” Antithesis, gothic!

Wants to live “In all voluptuousness.” Indulging Id – Freud! Faustus has weak superego.

Mephistophilis: “marriage is but a ceremonial toy.” Says it’s not meaningful. Breaks taboos of the Church – controversial to audiences of the time as religion was pivotal!

“My heart’s so hard’ned I cannot repent.” Evil side of human nature has taken over and engulfed him – doppelganger! Marlowe suggests we all have the potential to succumb to evil.

“Christ, my Saviour, seek to save distressed Faustus’ soul.” Tries to repent. Climatic, intense. Does it out of fear and not through loyalty to Christianity. Classed as anti-hero? Has great potential but wastes it.

“Now I die eternally.” Readers feel this is poetic justice. Marlowe ends it this way to provide Faustus with an appropriate comeuppance. Shows you cannot abandon God.

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Other Faustus Quotes

1) The reward of sin is death? That’s hard. 
Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in nobis veritas.
If we say that we have no sin, 
We deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us. 
Why then belike we must sin, 
And so consequently die.
Ay, we must die an everlasting death. 
What doctrine call you this? Che sarà, sarà:
What will be, shall be! Divinity, adieu!
These metaphysics of magicians,
And necromantic books are heavenly! 


Faustus speaks these lines near the end of his opening soliloquy. In this speech, he considers various fields of study one by one, beginning with logic and proceeding through medicine and law.  Seeking the highest form of knowledge, he arrives at theology and opens the Bible to the New Testament, where he quotes from Romans and the first book of John. 

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Other Faustus Quotes

He reads that “[t]he reward of sin is death,” and that “[i]f we say we that we have no sin, / We deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us.” The logic of these quotations—everyone sins, and sin leads to death—makes it seem as though Christianity can promise only death, which leads Faustus to give in to the fatalistic “What will be, shall be! Divinity, adieu!” However, Faustus neglects to read the very next line in John, which states, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9). By ignoring this passage, Faustus ignores the possibility of redemption, just as he ignores it throughout the play. Faustus has blind spots; he sees what he wants to see rather than what is really there. This blindness is apparent in the very next line of his speech: having turned his back on heaven, he pretends that “[t]hese metaphysics of magicians, / And necromantic books are heavenly.” He thus inverts the cosmos, making black magic “heavenly” and religion the source of “everlasting death.”

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Other Faustus Quotes

2) MEPHASTOPHILIS: Why this is hell, nor am I out of it. 
Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God, 
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven, 
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells 
In being deprived of everlasting bliss? 
O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands, 
Which strike a terror to my fainting soul.
FAUSTUS: What, is great Mephastophilis so passionate 
For being deprivèd of the joys of heaven? 
Learn thou of Faustus manly fortitude, 
And scorn those joys thou never shalt possess.


This exchange shows Faustus at his most willfully blind, as he listens to Mephastophilis describe how awful hell is for him even as a devil, and as he then proceeds to dismiss Mephastophilis’s words blithely, urging him to have “manly fortitude.” 

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Other Faustus Quotes

But the dialogue also shows Mephastophilis in a peculiar light. We know that he is committed to Faustus’s damnation—he has appeared to Faustus because of his hope that Faustus will renounce God and swear allegiance to Lucifer. Yet here Mephastophilis seems to be urging Faustus against selling his soul, telling him to “leave these frivolous demands, / Which strike a terror to my fainting soul.” There is a parallel between the experience of Mephastophilis and that of Faustus. Just as Faustus now is, Mephastophilis was once prideful and rebelled against God; like Faustus, he is damned forever for his sin. Perhaps because of this connection, Mephastophilis cannot accept Faustus’s cheerful dismissal of hell in the name of “manly fortitude.” He knows all too well the terrible reality, and this knowledge drives him, in spite of himself, to warn Faustus away from his t-errible course.

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Other Faustus Quotes

3) MEPHASTOPHILIS.: Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed 

In one self-place; for where we are is hell, 
And where hell is, there must we ever be. 
. . . All places shall be hell that is not heaven.
FAUSTUS: Come, I think hell’s a fable.
MEPHASTOPHILISs.: Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.
. . .FAUSTUS: Think’st thou that Faustus is so fond to imagine 
That after this life there is any pain? 
Tush, these are trifles and mere old wives’ tales.


This exchange again shows Mephastophilis warning Faustus about the horrors of hell. This time, though, their exchange is less significant for what Mephastophilis says about hell than for Faustus’s response to him. . Why anyone would make a pact with the devil is one of the most vexing questions surrounding Doctor Faustus, and here we see part of Marlowe’s explanation

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Other Faustus Quotes

We are constantly given indications that Faustus doesn’t really understand what he is doing. He is a secular Renaissance man, so disdainful of traditional religion that he believes hell to be a “fable” even when he is conversing with a devil. Of course, such a belief is difficult to maintain when one is trafficking in the supernatural, but Faustus has a fallback position. Faustus takes Mephastophilis’s assertion that hell will be “[a]ll places … that is not heaven” to mean that hell will just be a continuation of life on earth. He fails to understand the difference between him and Mephastophilis: unlike Mephastophilis, who has lost heaven permanently, Faustus, despite his pact with Lucifer, is not yet damned and still has the possibility of repentance. He cannot yet understand the torture against which Mephastophilis warns him, and imagines, fatally, that he already knows the worst of what hell will be.

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Other Faustus Quotes

4) Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, 

And burnt the ******* towers of Ilium? 
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss:
Her lips sucks forth my soul, see where it flies! 
Come Helen, come, give me my soul again. 
Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena!


These lines come from a speech that Faustus makes as he nears the end of his life and begins to realize the terrible nature of the bargain he has made. Despite his sense of foreboding, Faustus enjoys his powers, as the delight he takes in conjuring up Helen makes clear. While the speech marks a return to the eloquence that he shows early in the play, Faustus continues to display the same blind spots and wishful thinking that characterize his behavior throughout the drama. 

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Other Faustus Quotes

At the beginning of the play, he dismisses religious transcendence in favor of magic; now, after squandering his powers in petty, self-indulgent behavior, he looks for transcendence in a woman, one who may be an illusion and not even real flesh and blood. He seeks heavenly grace in Helen’s lips, which can, at best, offer only earthly pleasure. “[M]ake me immortal with a kiss,” he cries, even as he continues to keep his back turned to his only hope for escaping damnation—namely, repentance.

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Other Faustus Quotes

5) Ah Faustus, 
Now hast thou but one bare hour to live, 
And then thou must be damned perpetually. 
. . . The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.
O I’ll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down? 
See, see where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament! 
One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah my Christ—
Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ;
Yet will I call on him—O spare me, Lucifer!
. . . Earth, gape! O no, it will not harbor me. 
You stars that reigned at my nativity, 
Whose influence hath allotted death and hell, 
Now draw up Faustus like a foggy mist 
Into the entrails of yon laboring cloud, 
That when you vomit forth into the air 
My limbs may issue from your smoky mouths,
So that my soul may but ascend to heaven.
. . . O God, if thou wilt not have mercy on my soul, 

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Other Faustus Quotes

. . . Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years, 
A hundred thousand, and at last be saved.
. . . Cursed be the parents that engendered me: 
No, Faustus, curse thy self, curse Lucifer,
That hath deprived thee of the joys of heaven.
. . . My God, my God, look not so fierce on me! 
. . . Ugly hell gape not! Come not, Lucifer! 
I’ll burn my books—ah, Mephastophilis!


These lines come from Faustus’s final speech, just before the devils take him down to hell. It is easily the most dramatic moment in the play, and Marlowe uses some of his finest rhetoric to create an unforgettable portrait of the mind of a man about to carried off to a horrific doom. Faustus goes from one idea to another, desperately seeking a way out.But no escape is available, and he ends by reaching an understanding of his own guilt: “No, Faustus, curse thy self, curse Lucifer, / That hath deprived thee of the joys of heaven.” 

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Other Faustus Quotes

This final speech raises the question of why Faustus does not repent earlier and, more importantly, why his desperate cries to Christ for mercy are not heard. In a truly Christian framework, Faustus would be allowed a chance at redemption even at the very end. But Marlowe’s play ultimately proves more tragic than Christian, and so there comes a point beyond which Faustus can no longer be saved. He is damned, in other words, while he is still alive.

Faustus’s last line aptly expresses the play’s representation of a clash between Renaissance and medieval values. “I’ll burn my books,” Faustus cries as the devils come for him, suggesting, for the first time since scene 2, when his slide into mediocrity begins, that his pact with Lucifer is about gaining limitless knowledge, an ambition that the Renaissance spirit celebrated but that medieval Christianity denounced as an expression of sinful human pride. As he is carried off to hell, Faustus seems to give in to the Christian worldview, denouncing, in a desperate attempt to save himself, the quest for knowledge that has defined most of his life.

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Dr Faustus Critic Quotes

"this excellent Faustus is damned by accident or predestination" (Santayana)

"the terror of the conclusion is therefore heightened; we see an essentially good man...

driven against his will to despair and damnation" (Santayana)

""neither morality play nor unambivalent celebration of Renaissance humanism...

dramatises the conflict between two irreconcilable systems of values" (Mebane)

"Promethean self-assertion could degenerate into debasing forms of selfaggrandisement"


"struggle between the two sides of Doctor Faustus, the controlled intellectual side giving

way... to the indulgent sensual" (Davis)

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Dr Fautus Critic Quotes

"he overreaches himself, his ambitions for rich reward and power driving him into wild,

dangerous and ultimately tragic actions" (Davis)

"his quest for knowledge leads him to taste the fruit of the tree that shaded Adam and Eve,

to savour the distinction between good and evil" (Levin)

"Marlowe's protagonists tend to isolate themselves yet they also tend... to ally themselves

with some deuteragonist" (Levin)

"Faustus is Everyman, and his sin a re-enactment of the sin of Adam" (Maxwell)

"Marlowe's attention is to a greater matter; to a moral, and not merely individual

tragedy" (Brooke)

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Thanks ever so much these notes are awesome!

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