Cunning and Cleverness Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Wonder of men, renowned magician,
Thrice-learned Faustus, welcome to our court.
This deed of thine, in setting Bruno free
From his and our professed enemy
Shall add more excellence unto thine art
Than if by powerful necromantic spells
Thou couldst command the world's obedience. (4.1.47-53)
The praise the emperor heaps upon Faustus here is exactly what Faustus wished for in Act 1, Scene 1. Flattery will get you everywhere with this guy. But there's just one problem with that flattery. The emperor makes the point that the good, useful deed Faustus has done in setting Bruno free is much more important than the magic itself. Of course this important lesson falls on deaf ears. No one ever said Faustus was a good listener.
O, say not so, sir. The doctor has no skill,
No art, no cunning to present these lords
Or bring before this royal Emperor
The mighty monarch, warlike Alexander.
If Faustus do it, you are straight resolved
In bold Actaeon's shape to turn a stag. (4.2.136-141)
Faustus is angry with Benvolio for mocking him by doubting his magical mojo. For this reason, he puts horns on the guy's head. The fact that Faustus is unable to let Benvolio's teasing roll off his back shows just how important his abilities are to him. He can't stand to let someone even imply that he doesn't have the skills.
Well, gentlemen, though Faustus' end be such
As every Christian heart laments to think on,
Yet, for he was a scholar once admired
For wondrous knowledge in our German schools,
We'll give his mangled limbs due burial,
And all the students, clothed in mourning black,
Shall wait upon his heavy funeral. (5.3.13-19)
It's ironic that the scholarly learnedness Faustus scorned in the beginning of the play is the very ability for which he is now remembered after his death, and the one that will bring "all the students" to his funeral. This passage suggests that Faustus had the wrong priorities all along. He had a pretty sweet deal at the beginning!