Study Guide

Doctor Faustus Act 2, Scene 3

By Christopher Marlowe

Act 2, Scene 3

  • Back with Faustus, we hear him say that when he looks up to heaven, he feels really bad about what he did and curses Mephistopheles for taking away his shot at salvation.
  • Not so fast. Mephistopheles reminds Faustus that all he did was do what Faustus asked him to. It's not poor Meph's fault.
  • He tells Faustus that heaven isn't really all it's cracked up to be, anyhow. Since heaven was made for mankind, mankind is obviously greater than heaven.
  • Just when Faustus responds that "if heaven was made for man, 'twas made for me" and he will repent, Good and Bad Angel enter the scene.
  • Good Angel encourages him on the repentance front, but of course Bad Angel thinks that's the wrong call. God cannot pity him.
  • Once again, Faustus listens to the Bad and not the Good. See, he doesn't want to repent, because all the awesome stuff he gets by conjuring is just too good to pass up. His desire for those things is far more powerful than any shame or guilt or regret he might feel.
  • He and Mephistopheles discuss the motions and the number of the planets and stars, but Mephistopheles refuses to tell Faustus who created the world, since the answer would require him to name God. And he doesn't do that. 
  • He tells Faustus to think about hell instead. 
  • Good and Bad Angel enter, Bad Angel telling Faustus to despair of heaven, and Good Angel promising it's still not too late for salvation.
  • Hmm. Salvation. That sounds tempting. So Faustus calls upon Christ to save him, prompting Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Mephistopheles to appear together to keep his soul for the Bad Side.
  • Lucifer tells Faustus that God cannot save his soul, and that Faustus is in Big Trouble for thinking about heaven. That's not part of their agreement. 
  • He tells Faustus to think about the devil. 
  • Faustus is all I will! I promise! And in return, Lucifer promises the guy all kinds of rewards. 
  • Beelzebub tells Faustus that they have come from hell to show Faustus a good time. 
  • First on the program? They'll make the Seven Deadly Sins appear. Oh joy.
  • Faustus tells them that the sight will be as pleasant to him as Paradise was to Adam on the day of his creation; Lucifer reminds him to not talk about Paradise or creation, but to just enjoy the show. Seriously, dude, how many times does Lucifer have to remind you? 
  • The Seven Deadly Sins—pride, greed, envy, wrath, gluttony, sloth, and lust—appear before Faustus, and he has a grand ol' time.
  • When he tells these devils that he would like to be able to see hell and come back again, Lucifer promises they'll make it happen—at midnight. 
  • Then, as a token of his affections (or something), Lucifer gives Faustus a conjuring book that tells him how to transform himself into whatever shape he wishes.
  • We're betting that will come in handy.