by Christopher Marlowe
Doctor Faustus The Supernatural Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
For, falling to a devilish exercise,
And glutted now with learning's golden gifts,
He surfeits upon cursed necromancy.
Nothing so sweet as magic is to him,
Which he prefers before his chiefest bliss. (Prologue.22-26)
It's interesting that the Chorus describes Faustus as "surfeit[ing] upon cursed necromancy." Near the end of the play, the Scholars remark that Faustus's problem is probably a "surfeit," or excess, of something in his blood, which was thought to cause disease. Faustus responds that it's a "surfeit of deadly sin" (5.2.36-37). Sin, magic, and disease are all linked by that word—"surfeit." The description of Faustus as "glutted," and magic as "sweet," also links Faustus's pursuit of magic to the sin of gluttony. He just wants too much of everything.
These metaphysics of magicians
And necromantic books are heavenly.
Lines, circles, letters, and characters –
Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires. (1.1.48-51)
Describing "necromantic books" as "heavenly" is more than a little ironic considering the fact that these books will actually cause Faustus to turn away from heaven, and toward hell. Oh Faustus, don't you hear yourself?
Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,
Know that your words have won me at the last
To practice magic and concealèd arts.
Philosophy is odious and obscure;
Both law and physic are for petty wits.
'Tis magic, magic that hath ravished me. (1.1.98-103)
We're just gonna address the elephant in the room: Faustus's creepy obsession with magic is almost erotic. He says that magic has "ravished" him, as though he were a maiden being taken by a powerful man. How could philosophy, law, or medicine hope to compete with an attraction like that?