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Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus


by Christopher Marlowe

Doctor Faustus Act 5, Scene 2 Summary

  • The devils hover above the scene. 
  • Lucifer says that they have come to observe the goings on, and to wait for Faustus's soul.
  • Mephistopheles says that although Faustus has attempted to escape his pact, his pleasures will be met with pain in the end. Seriously, Faustus, you thought you could get off scot-free?
  • Faustus and Wagner enter. Faustus asks Wagner how he likes his will, to which Wagner replies that he likes it very much. As he should—he's getting all of Faustus's stuff, remember?
  • Three scholars enter, and Wagner takes off. 
  • First Scholar tells Faustus he's not looking so good these days. In fact, Faustus looks downright ill. What's wrong, buddy? 
  • Faustus says that maybe if he had lived with the Scholars, he would have lived rather than dying eternally as he does now.
  • Third Scholar thinks maybe Faustus has spent too much time by himself.
  • Second Scholar thinks Faustus is just being overemotional, but Faustus assures him—he's damned. He has sinned too much.
  • When First Scholar suggests that Faustus look to heaven for mercy, Faustus says that there's just no point. What he has done is unpardonable at this point. He's gone too far. 
  • He tells the Scholars that he has renounced God in favor of the devil once and for all. They are horrified, for obvious reasons.
  • Why didn't Faustus tell them before, when they could have helped the guy?
  • Duh. Because his fear of the devil kept him from naming God. Or at least that's what Faustus tells them. 
  • Well, they guess there's nothing left to do but pray, then. So they retreat to a nearby room to do so.
  • Mephistopheles tells Faustus that he has absolutely zero hope of heaven, so all he can do now is despair and think only of hell.
  • Faustus accuses Mephistopheles of tempting him from salvation. Gee, you're just now realizing that, Faustus?
  • Mephistopheles agrees that he tempted Faustus: when Faustus took up the Scriptures, Mephistopheles led his eyes to the lines that would cause him to despair.
  • He's a sneaky little devil, ain't he?
  • The Angels are back. And we're not talking about the ballplayers
  • Good Angel tells Faustus that if he had only listened to him, he would have had a ton of joys (you know, the heavenly kind), but that Faustus loved worldly things too much. And that's what did him in in the end.
  • Bad Angel is stoked that Faustus has listened to him.
  • Good Angel questions what good Faustus's earthly pleasures will do him now. 
  • Bad Angel responds that they will only make the torments of hell more miserable in contrast.
  • Good Angel shows Faustus a glimpse of heaven, and tells him that had he only been drawn to God, he would have gained it. But, tough luck, it's too late.
  • Bad Angel shows Faustus a glimpse of hell, and particularly the gluttons who now must swallow fire. He tells Faustus that more horrible tortures await him.
  • This is starting to sound more and more like a lose-lose situation.
  • The clock strikes eleven, and Faustus realizes that he has only one hour to live. Oh, if only time could stand still, so he'd have a moment to repent and save his soul. 
  • He calls on Christ. No dice.
  • He longs to take shelter in the earth, or to be drawn into the clouds as a mist so that he can escape what he knows is coming. No dice.
  • The clock strikes eleven thirty.
  • Faustus asks that if he must suffer for his sins, let that suffering end at some point.
  • There's just one problem: damnation has no end. So now Faustus wishes that he could have been born without a soul in the first place. Then he'd have nothing to lose.
  • He wishes that Pythagoras's theory of reincarnation were true so that his soul would simply enter the body of a happy beast, then meet its end in death. 
  • He curses his parents, himself, and Lucifer, who deprived him of heaven. Hey, what did mom and pop ever do?
  • As the clock strikes twelve, Faustus entreats his body to turn to air, and his soul to change to water drops and fall in the ocean. No dice.
  • He calls upon heaven. He cries out curses. He asks for a bit longer. He offers to burn his books. He cries "O Mephistopheles!"
  • Then the devils arrive.

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