Study Guide

Doctor Faustus Act 5, Scene 1

By Christopher Marlowe

Act 5, Scene 1

  • Wagner enters and says he thinks his master might die soon, because he has willed all of his possessions to Wagner.
  • First Scholar says that since their dispute about who's the most beautiful woman ever, he and the other scholars have decided that it is Helen of Troy. Phew. Glad we got that settled.
  • Then he asks Faustus to conjure her before them, to which Faustus agrees. He can't resist a good conjure.
  • And here comes Helen, walking across the stage.
  • Second and Third Scholar seem unable to believe what they have seen, or to judge the beauty of Helen. She's just too beautiful.
  • After saying they're satisfied, now that they've seen "the pride of nature's work," First Scholar takes off. 
  • Old Man enters. He tells Faustus to renounce sorcery and repent. Otherwise, he'll be banished from heaven forever. Yowza.
  • But it's too late, Old Man. Faustus says that hell is calling him.
  • The Old Man says that he sees an angel hovering over his head, ready to pour grace out over him, if only Faustus would ask for mercy. 
  • Faustus tells the Old Man that his words comfort him, but he wants to be alone so he can ponder their meaning. Excuses, excuses. 
  • The Old Man leaves, chatting about his fear of the devil as he goes.
  • Alone, Faustus is all, oh I feel bad about my sins! I want to be saved! Uh oh.
  • Mephistopheles arrives. Yikes. He warns Faustus not to betray the devil, or he the devil will rip his soul to pieces.
  • So then Faustus repents in the other direction, apologizing for offending the devil. He offers to re-affirm his vow to Lucifer.
  • Faustus asks Mephistopheles to torture the Old Man who offended him.
  • Mephistopheles responds that he will torment his body, though he cannot touch the man's soul. 
  • Then Faustus asks to have Helen of Troy as his lover, and Mephistopheles grants it. Sweet.
  • Helen arrives, and Faustus kisses her like crazy, declaring everything worthless except for her.
  • He imagines himself as Paris, you know, from the Iliad?