Doctor Faustus Cunning and Cleverness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt,
And I, that have with subtle syllogisms
Gravelled the pastors of the German Church
And made the flowering pride of Wittenberg
Swarm to my problems, as th'infernal spirits
On sweet Musaeus when he came to hell,
Will be as cunning as Agrippa was
Whose shadow made all Europe honor him. (1.1.104-111)
It's not enough for Faustus that he's known as a great scholar and has a swarm of pupils in Wittenberg all clamoring to learn from him. He wants more. As his allusion to Agrippa, a famous magician, makes clear, he wants to be famous far and wide—not just at home. Agrippa famously summoned a spirit on his deathbed, so Faustus is saying not only that he wants to be famous, but also that he wants to be famous for deeds beyond the realm of mere mortals like us.
Then doubt not, Faustus, but to be renowned
And more frequented for this mystery
Than heretofore the Delphian oracle. (1.1.134-136)
Faustus's friend Cornelius says that he will be famous for "this mystery." The Delphian oracle was a Greek speaker of prophecies and riddles, and Cornelius's reference to him implies that people will come to Faustus to learn about secrets and mysteries. That's some serious power.
Valdes, first let him know the words of art,
And then, all other ceremonies learned,
Faustus may try his cunning by himself. (1.1.151-153)
Valdes and Cornelius make doing magic sound so simple, like it's just a matter of saying the right words and making the right gestures. Of course, as Faustus is about to learn, it's a lot more complicated than a little hocus pocus. There's some serious brainpower involved.