Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus

Quotes

Quote #10

SECOND SCHOLAR
Yet, Faustus, look up to heaven and remember mercy is infinite.
FAUSTUS
But Faustus' offence can ne'er be pardoned.
[…]
SECOND SCHOLAR
Yet, Faustus, call on God.
FAUSTUS
On God, whom Faustus hath abjured? On God, whom Faustus hath blasphemed? O my God, I would weep, but the devil draws in my tears. Gush forth blood instead of tears! Yea, life and soul! O, he stays my tongue! I would lift up my hands, but see, they hold 'em, they hold 'em.
ALL
Who, Faustus?
FAUSTUS
Why, Lucifer and Mephistopheles. O, gentlemen, I gave them my soul for my cunning! (5.2.39-41, 53-61)

Okay, so according to Dr. F, God can't pardon his sins. Yet in attempting to call on God, to weep tears of repentance, and to lift his hands to heaven, Faustus shows that he does believe in the possibility of forgiveness. It's just that he is unable to feel the true repentance that would set the forgiveness wheels in motion. Faustus also implies, however, that Mephistopheles and Lucifer have somehow trapped him.

Quote #11

FAUSTUS
O thou bewitching fiend, 'twas thy temptation
Hath robbed me of eternal happiness.
MEPHISTOPHELES
I do confess it Faustus, and rejoice.
'Twas I that, when thou wert i'the way to heaven,
Dammed up thy passage. When thou took'st the book
To view the Scriptures, then I turned the leaves
And led thine eye. (5.2.92-96)

In a strange change of heart, Mephistopheles now takes the blame for Faustus's damnation. Did Faustus ever have a choice about his salvation? Or was Mephistopheles pulling the strings all along? This passage, like all the ones that came before it, leaves the answer unclear. P.S. Also notice the neat wordplay in line 94: Mephistopheles has "dammed up" Faustus's passage to heaven (as a beaver builds a dam), and this has damned him. Ba-dum ching.

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