We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus


by Christopher Marlowe

Doctor Faustus Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)

Quote #10

Learnèd Faustus, to find the secrets of astronomy
Graven in the book of Jove's high firmament,
Did mount him up to scale Olympus' top,
Where, sitting in a chariot burning bright,
Drawn by the strength of yokèd dragons' necks,
He views the clouds, the planets, and the stars. (3.Chorus.1-6)

Faustus's relationship with Mephistopheles enables him to get firsthand knowledge of astronomy in a way that we bet makes his colleagues insanely jealous. Even as this knowledge is described as book-learning, as "graven in the book of Jove's high firmament," it is in fact much closer to scientific analysis than anything Faustus has done before.

Quote #11

But new exploits do hale him out again,
And, mounted then upon a dragon's back,
That with his wings did part the subtle air,
He now is gone to prove cosmography,
That measures coasts and kingdoms of the earth. (3.Chorus.16-20)

Faustus has totally achieved a god's-eye view of the earth. In other words, he can see everything. He's omniscient, which is often a word the devout use to describe God. One of God's powers, as told in the Christian creation story, is as measurer and analyzer of his creation. But Faustus takes this role upon himself when he seeks to measure the earth's kingdoms from above.

Quote #12

Go forthwith to our holy consistory
And read amongst the statutes decretal
What, by the holy council held at Trent,
The sacred synod hath decreed for him
That doth assume the papal government
Without election and a true consent. (3.1.105-109)

The Pope relies upon book-learning… sort of. Really, he's counting on the law books to help him in his case against Bruno. This is quite a different kind of knowledge than the one Faustus has come to rely on—the experience and exploration of the world, all thanks to Mephistopheles.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...