by Christopher Marlowe
Doctor Faustus Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Had I as many souls as there be stars,
I'd give them all for Mephistopheles.
By him I'll be great emperor of the world
And make a bridge through the moving air
To pass the ocean with a band of men.
I'll join the hills that bind the Afric shore
And make that country continent to Spain,
And both contributary to my crown.
The Emperor shall not live but by my leave,
Nor any potentate in Germany. (1.3.100-109)
Aw, Faustus wants to bring the whole world together. That's kind of sweet. Oh, wait. This is not some high-minded idea about the value of community. Nope, Faustus is all about having power over all the nations. So sure, he wants to bring the world together, but only under his rule. That's not so warm and fuzzy.
So, now thou art to be at an hour's warning whensoever and wheresoever the devil shall fetch thee.
Here, take your guilders; I'll none of 'em.
Not I. Thou art pressed. Prepare thyself, for I will presently raise up two devils to carry thee away.—Banio! Belcher! (1.4.28-33)
Robin is not as easily bought as Faustus, who was quick to sign away his soul for the power he believes Mephistopheles can give him. Wagner's use of two devils to frighten Wagner into submission foreshadows Mephistopheles tactics later in the play, when he threatens Faustus with dismemberment by spirits if he renounces his pact with the devil. Even though dismemberment by spirits was always how Faustus's life would end. The moment he signed that contract the deal was sealed.
I, John Faustus of Wittenberg, Doctor, by these presents, do give both body and soul to Lucifer, Prince of the East, and his minister, Mephistopheles, and furthermore grant unto them that, twenty-four years being expired, and these articles above written being inviolate, full power to fetch or carry the said John Faustus' body and soul, flesh, blood, into their habitation wheresoever. By me, John Faustus. (2.1.99-105)
Faustus's contract with Lucifer is written "in manner of a deed of gift" (2.1.58), a document that assigns ownership of something away from one person to another. Mephistopheles insists that Faustus write the document and then also read it aloud, probably to help give it all the pomp and circumstance needed to make the whole deal legit. Of course we think it's totally not legit. The absurdity of giving away a soul in a deed of gift raises the possibility that other similar transactions—like slavery, for example—are equally absurd.