by Christopher Marlowe
Doctor Faustus The Supernatural Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Within this circle is Jehovah's name
Forward and backward anagrammatized,
Th'abbreviated names of holy saints,
Figures of every adjunct to the heavens,
And characters of signs and evening stars,
By which the spirits are enforced to rise.
Then fear not, Faustus, be resolute
And try the utmost magic can perform. (1.3.8-15)
Faustus draws a complicated diagram here to summon a devil familiar. The names of the saints are abbreviated, which may be a sign of disrespect for them. In script, they are made "less" than the name of Jehovah, or the devil, which is written out twice in its entirety.
[Enter Devils, giving crowns and rich apparel to Faustus. They dance, and then depart. Enter Mephistopheles.]
What means this show? Speak, Mephistopheles.
Nothing, Faustus, but to delight thy mind
And let thee see what magic can perform.
But may I raise such spirits when I please?
Ay, Faustus, and do greater things than these.
Then, Mephistopheles, receive this scroll,
A deed of gift of body and of soul,
But yet conditionally that thou perform
All covenants and articles between us both. (2.1.81-89)
Here it is: the Big Moment. This delightful little show is what tips the scales in Mephistopheles's favor, convincing Faustus to hand over the scroll on which he's signed over his soul to the devil. The delights, though, are nothing more than rich clothing and a show of worship. Big whoop. Although Mephistopheles tells Faustus he can do "more" if he chooses, the tricks he gets up to with his magic rarely amount to more than this, which means this moment foreshadows the rest of the play.
Do but speak what thou'lt have me to do, and I'll do't. If thou'lt dance naked, put off they clothes, and I'll conjure thee about presently; or, if thou'lt go but to the tavern with me, I'll give thee white wine, red wine, claret wine, sack, muscadine, malmsery, and whippincrust—hold, belly, hold—and we'll not pay one penny for it.
O, brave! Prithee, let's to it presently, for I am as dry as a dog. (2.3.26-31)
The comedic conjuring among the peasants parodies the scenes between Faustus and Mephistopheles. Instead of using magic to gain power and wealth, Robin offers Dick a lot of booze for free. These scenes make us think about what Faustus is doing with his powers, and whether it's really so different from what the peasants do with them. Bet that never occurred to Faustus.