[Enter Faustus in his Study.]
- Now, Faustus, must thou needs be damned,
And canst thou not be saved:
What boots it then to think of God or heaven?
Away with such vain fancies, and despair,
Despair in God, and trust in Belzebub.(5)
Now go not backward: no, Faustus, be resolute;
Why waver'st thou? O, something soundeth in mine ears:
“Abjure this magic, turn to God again!”
Ay, and Faustus will turn to God again.(10)
To God? He loves thee not.
The god thou serv'st is thine own appetite,
Wherein is fixed the love of Belzebub.
To him I'll build an altar and a church,
And offer lukewarm blood of newborn babes.(15)
[Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel.]
- GOOD ANGEL.
- Sweet Faustus, leave that execrable art.
- Contrition, prayer, repentance! What of them?
- GOOD ANGEL.
- O, they are means to bring thee unto Heaven!
- EVIL ANGEL.
- Rather illusions—fruits of lunacy,(20)
That makes men foolish that do trust them most.
- GOOD ANGEL.
- Sweet Faustus, think of Heaven and heavenly things.
- EVIL ANGEL.
- No, Faustus, think of honour and of wealth.
- Of wealth!(25)
Why, the signiory of Embden shall be mine.
When Mephistophilis shall stand by me,
What god can hurt thee? Faustus, thou art safe:
Cast no more doubts. Come, Mephistophilis,
And bring glad tidings from great Lucifer; —(30)
Is't not midnight? Come, Mephistophilis;
Veni, veni, Mephistophile!
- Now tell me, what says Lucifer thy lord?
- That I shall wait on Faustus whilst he lives,
So he will buy my service with his soul.(35)
- Already Faustus hath hazarded that for thee.
- But, Faustus, thou must bequeath it solemnly,
And write a deed of gift with thine own blood,
For that security craves great Lucifer.
If thou deny it, I will back to hell.(40)
- Stay, Mephistophilis! and tell me what good
Will my soul do thy lord?
- Enlarge his kingdom.
- Is that the reason why he tempts us thus?
- Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris.(45)
- Why, have you any pain that tortures others?
- As great as have the human souls of men.
But tell me, Faustus, shall I have thy soul?
And I will be thy slave, and wait on thee,
And give thee more than thou hast wit to ask.(50)
- Ay, Mephistophilis, I give it thee.
- Then, Faustus, stab thine arm courageously
And bind thy soul that at some certain day
Great Lucifer may claim it as his own;
And then be thou as great as Lucifer.(55)
- [Stabbing his arm.] Lo, Mephistophilis, for love of thee,
I cut mine arm, and with my proper blood
Assure my soul to be great Lucifer's,
Chief lord and regent of perpetual night!(60)
View here the blood that trickles from mine arm,
And let it be propitious for my wish.
- But, Faustus, thou must
Write it in manner of a deed of gift.
- Ay, so I will. But, Mephistophilis,(65)
My blood congeals, and I can write no more.
- I'll fetch thee fire to dissolve it straight.
- What might the staying of my blood portend?
Is it unwilling I should write this bill?
Why streams it not, that I may write afresh?(70)
"Faustus gives to thee his soul". Ah, there it stayed!
Why should'st thou not? Is not thy soul thine own?
Then write again, "Faustus gives to thee his soul."
[Re-enter Mephistophilis with a chafer of coals.]
- Here's fire. Come, Faustus, set it on.
- So now the blood begins to clear again;(75)
Now will I make an end immediately.
- O, what will not I do to obtain his soul?
- Consummatum est: this bill is ended,
And Faustus hath bequeathed his soul to Lucifer.
But what is this inscription on mine arm?(80)
Homo, fuge! Whither should I fly?
If unto God, he'll throw me down to hell.
My senses are deceived; here's nothing writ:—
I see it plain; here in this place is writ
Homo, fuge! Yet shall not Faustus fly.(85)
- I'll fetch him somewhat to delight his mind.
[Exit. Re-enter Mephistophilis with Devils, who give crowns and rich apparel to Faustus, dance, and depart.]
- Speak, Mephistophilis, what means this show?
- Nothing, Faustus, but to delight thy mind withal,
And to show thee what magic can perform.(90)
- But may I raise up spirits when I please?
- Ay, Faustus, and do greater things than these.
- Then there's enough for a thousand souls.
Here, Mephistophilis, receive this scroll,
A deed of gift of body and of soul:(95)
But yet conditionally that thou perform
All articles prescribed between us both.
- Faustus, I swear by hell and Lucifer
To effect all promises between us made.
- Then hear me read them: On these conditions following: (100)
First, that Faustus may be a spirit in form and substance.
Secondly, that Mephistophilis shall be his servant, and at his command.
Thirdly, that Mephistophilis shall do for him and bring him whatsoever he desires.
Fourthly, that he shall be in his chamber or house invisible. (105)
Lastly, that he shall appear to the said John Faustus, at all times, and in what form or shape soever he pleases.
I, John Faustus of Wertenberg, Doctor, by these presents, do give both body and soul to Lucifer, Prince of the East, and his minister, Mephistophilis: and furthermore grant unto them, that twenty-four years being expired the articles above-written inviolate full power to fetch or carry said john faustus body and soul flesh blood goods into their habitation wheresoever.
By me, John Faustus.
- Speak, Faustus, do you deliver this as your deed?(115)
- Ay, take it, and the Devil give thee good on't!
- Now, Faustus, ask what thou wilt.
- First will I question with thee about hell.
Tell me where is the place that men call hell?
- Under the heavens.(120)
- Ay, but whereabout?
- Within the bowels of these elements,
Where we are tortured and remain for ever;
Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place; for where we are is hell,(125)
And where hell is there must we ever be:
And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,
All places shall be hell that is not Heaven.
- Come, I think hell's a fable.(130)
- Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.
- Why, think'st thou, then, that Faustus shall be damned?
- Ay, of necessity, for here's the scroll
Wherein thou hast given thy soul to Lucifer.(135)
- Ay, and body too; but what of that?
Think'st thou that Faustus is so fond to imagine
That, after this life, there is any pain?
Tush; these are trifles and mere old wives' tales.
- But, Faustus, I am an instance to prove the contrary, (140)
For I am damned, and am now in hell.
- How! now in hell?
Nay, an this be hell, I'll willingly be damned here;
What? walking, disputing, &c.?(145)
But, leaving off this, let me have a wife,
The fairest maid in Germany;
For I am wanton and lascivious,
And cannot live without a wife.
- How—a wife? I prithee, Faustus, talk not of a wife. (150)
- Nay, sweet Mephistophilis, fetch me one, for I will have one.
- Well—thou wilt have one? Sit there till I come:
I'll fetch thee a wife in the Devil's name.(155)
[Exit. Re-enter Mephistophilis with a Devil dressed like a woman, with fireworks.]
- Tell me, Faustus, how dost thou like thy wife?
- A plague on her for a hot whore!
- Tut, Faustus, Marriage is but a ceremonial toy;
If thou lovest me, think no more of it.(160)
I'll cull thee out the fairest courtesans,
And bring them every morning to thy bed;
She whom thine eye shall like, thy heart shall have,
Be she as chaste as was Penelope,
As wise as Saba, or as beautiful(165)
As was bright Lucifer before his fall.
Here, take this book, peruse it thoroughly:
The iterating of these lines brings gold;
The framing of this circle on the ground
Brings whirlwinds, tempests, thunder and lightning;(170)
Pronounce this thrice devoutly to thyself,
And men in armour shall appear to thee,
Ready to execute what thou desir'st.
- Thanks, Mephistophilis: yet fain would I have a
book wherein I might behold all spells and incantations,(175)
that I might raise up spirits when I please.
- Here they are in this book.
[Turns to them.]
- Now would I have a book where I might see all
characters and planets of the heavens, that I might know
their motions and dispositions.(180)
- Here they are too.
[Turns to them.]
- Nay, let me have one book more,—and then I have
done,—wherein I might see all plants, herbs, and trees,
that grow upon the earth.
- Here they be.(185)
- O, thou art deceived.
- Tut, I warrant thee.
[Enter Faustus and Mephistophilis.]
- When I behold the heavens, then I repent,
And curse thee, wicked Mephistophilis,
Because thou hast deprived me of those joys.
- Why, Faustus,
Thinkest thou Heaven is such a glorious thing?(5)
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou,
Or any man that breathes on earth.
- How prov'st thou that?
- 'Twas made for man, therefore is man more excellent.(10)
- If it were made for man, 'twas made for me;
I will renounce this magic and repent.
[Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel.]
- GOOD ANGEL.
- Faustus, repent; yet God will pity thee.
- EVIL ANGEL.
- Thou art a spirit; God can not pity thee.
- Who buzzeth in mine ears I am a spirit?(15)
Be I a devil, yet God may pity me;
Ay, God will pity me if I repent.
- EVIL ANGEL.
- Ay, but Faustus never shall repent.
- My heart's so hardened, I cannot repent.
Scarce can I name salvation, faith, or heaven,(20)
But fearful echoes thunder in mine ears
“Faustus, thou art damned!” Then swords, and knives,
Poison, gun, halters, and envenomed steel
Are laid before me to despatch myself,(25)
And long ere this I should have slain myself,
Had not sweet pleasure conquered deep despair.
Have not I made blind Homer sing to me
Of Alexander's love and Oenon's death?
And hath not he that built the walls of Thebes(30)
With ravishing sound of his melodious harp,
Made music with my Mephistophilis?
Why should I die then, or basely despair?
I am resolved: Faustus shall ne'er repent.—
Come, Mephistophilis, let us dispute again,(35)
And argue of divine astrology.
Tell me, are there many heavens above the moon?
Are all celestial bodies but one globe,
As is the substance of this centric earth?
- As are the elements, such are the spheres,(40)
Mutually folded in each other's orb,
And, Faustus, all jointly move upon one axletree,
Whose terminine is termed the world's wide pole;
Nor are the names of Saturn, Mars, or Jupiter(45)
Feigned, but are erring stars.
- But tell me, have they all one motion both, situ et tempore?
- All jointly move from east to west in twenty-four
hours upon the poles of the world; but differ in(50)
their motion upon the poles of the zodiac.
- Tush! These slender trifles Wagner can decide;
Hath Mephistophilis no greater skill?
Who knows not the double motion of the planets?(55)
The first is finished in a natural day;
The second thus: as Saturn in thirty years; Jupiter in
twelve; Mars in four; the Sun, Venus, and Mercury in
a year; the Moon in twenty-eight days. Tush, these are
freshmen's suppositions. But, tell me, hath every sphere a(60)
dominion or intelligentia?
- How many heavens, or spheres, are there?
- Nine: the seven planets, the firmament, and the empyreal heaven.(65)
- Well, resolve me in this question: Why have we
not conjunctions, oppositions, aspects, eclipses, all at one
time, but in some years we have more, in some less?
- Per inqualem motum respectu totius.
- Well, I am answered. Tell me who made the world? (70)
- I will not.
- Sweet Mephistophilis, tell me.
- Move me not, for I will not tell thee.
- Villain, have I not bound thee to tell me anything? (75)
- Ay, that is not against our kingdom; but this is.
Think thou on hell, Faustus, for thou art damned.
- Think, Faustus, upon God that made the world.
- Remember this.(80)
- Ay, go, accursed spirit, to ugly hell.
'Tis thou hast damned distressed Faustus' soul.
Is't not too late?
[Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel.]
- EVIL ANGEL.
- Too late.
- GOOD ANGEL.
- Never too late, if Faustus can repent.(85)
- EVIL ANGEL.
- If thou repent, devils shall tear thee in pieces.
- GOOD ANGEL.
- Repent, and they shall never raze thy skin.
- Ah, Christ, my Saviour,(90)
Seek to save distressed Faustus' soul!
[Enter Lucifer, Belzebub, and Mephistophilis.]
- Christ cannot save thy soul, for he is just;
There's none but I have interest in the same.
- O, who art thou that look'st so terrible?
- I am Lucifer, and this is my companion prince in hell. (95)
- O, Faustus, they are come to fetch away thy soul!
- We come to tell thee thou dost injure us;
Thou talk'st of Christ, contrary to thy promise:(100)
Thou shouldst not think of God: think of the devil,
And of his dam too.
- Nor will I henceforth: pardon me in this,
And Faustus vows never to look to Heaven,
Never to name God, or to pray to him,(105)
To burn his Scriptures, slay his ministers,
And make my spirits pull his churches down.
- Do so, and we will highly gratify thee. Faustus, we
are come from hell to show thee some pastime: sit down,
and thou shalt see all the Seven Deadly Sins appear in(110)
their proper shapes.
- That sight will be as pleasing unto me,
As Paradise was to Adam, the first day
Of his creation.
- Talk not of Paradise nor creation, but mark this(115)
show: talk of the Devil, and nothing else: come away!
- Now, Faustus, examine them of their several names and dispositions.
[Enter the Seven Deadly Sins.]
- What art thou—the first?
- I am Pride. I disdain to have any parents. I am like(120)
to Ovid's flea: I can creep into every corner of a wench;
sometimes, like a periwig, I sit upon her brow; or like
a fan of feathers, I kiss her lips; indeed I do—what do I
not? But, fie, what a scent is here! I'll not speak another
word, except the ground were perfumed, and covered(125)
with cloth of arras.
- What art thou—the second?
- I am Covetousness, begotten of an old
churl in an old leathern bag; and, might I have my wish
I would desire that this house and all the people in it(130)
were turned to gold, that I might lock you up in my good
chest. O, my sweet gold!
- What art thou—the third?
- I am Wrath. I had neither father nor mother: I
leapt out of a lion's mouth when I was scarce half an(135)
hour old; and ever since I have run up and down the
world with this case of rapiers, wounding myself when
I had nobody to fight withal. I was born in hell; and
look to it, for some of you shall be my father.
- What art thou—the fourth?(140)
- I am Envy, begotten of a chimney sweeper and an
oyster-wife. I cannot read, and therefore wish all books
were burnt. I am lean with seeing others eat. O that
there would come a famine through all the world, that
all might die, and I live alone! then thou should'st see(145)
how fat I would be. But must thou sit, and I stand!
Come down with a vengeance!
- Away, envious rascal! What art thou—the fifth?
- Who I, sir? I am Gluttony. My parents are(150)
all dead, and the devil a penny they have left me, but
a bare pension, and that is thirty meals a day and ten
bevers,—a small trifle to suffice nature. O, I come of
a royal parentage! My grandfather was a Gammon of
Bacon, my grandmother was a Hogshead of Claret-(155)
wine; my godfathers were these, Peter Pickleherring
and Martin Martlemas-beef; O, but my godmother,
she was a jolly gentlewoman, and well beloved in
every good town and city; her name was Mistress
Margery March-beer. Now, Faustus, thou hast heard(160)
all my progeny, wilt thou bid me to supper?
- No, I'll see thee hanged: thou wilt eat up all my victuals.
- Then the Devil choke thee!
- Choke thyself, glutton! Who art thou—the sixth? (165)
- I am Sloth. I was begotten on a sunny bank, where I
have lain ever since; and you have done me great injury
to bring me from thence: let me be carried thither again
by Gluttony and Lechery. I'll not speak another word for(170)
a king's ransom.
- What are you, Mistress Minx, the seventh and last?
- Who, I, sir? I am one that loves an inch of raw
mutton better than an ell of fried stockfish; and the first(175)
letter of my name begins with L.
- Away, to hell, to hell! Now, Faustus, how dost thou like this?
[Exit the Seven Deadly Sins.]
- O, this feeds my soul!
- Tut, Faustus, in hell is all manner of delight.(180)
- O might I see hell, and return again, how happy were I then!
- Thou shalt; I will send for thee at midnight.
In meantime take this book; peruse it throughly,
And thou shalt turn thyself into what shape thou wilt.(185)
- Great thanks, mighty Lucifer! This will I keep as chary as my life.
- Farewell, Faustus, and think on the Devil.
- Farewell, great Lucifer. Come, Mephistophilis.(190)
Here Faustus directly states the hopelessness of his situation: he cannot even think about God because he "cants not be saved." This can be interpreted as a statement that claims his actions are so terrible no amount of repentance can save him or a recognition of his irreversible, predestined damnation.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
This statement seems baseless as it was Faustus who decided to turn to black magic and claimed theology was beneath him. However, if Faustus is predestined to damnation, then this statement is a recognition that he was never in God's favor.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
The Evil Angel recites Calvinist philosophy to mock the Good Angel's proposition of prayer. Calvinists believed in predestination, that some were born damned while others were born saved. Thus to them, prayer for salvation was an illusion because one could not reverse the condition of their nature. Notice that Marlowe mocks Calvinism by putting this philosophy in the mouth of the Evil Angel: it is the manipulative speech of an evil being rather than a respected doctrine.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Embden is a seaport town northwest of Germany. It was a wealthy German trading center. A "signiory" is the lordship or domain over a piece of land. In claiming Embden for himself, Faustus claims both extreme wealth and power in the material world.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice how Faustus's conception of his own power has shifted. He no longer believes that he will make the mountains move and rulers will fear him, but rather that nothing can touch him when he is with Mephistophilis. Faustus has no power of his own; he is completely dependent on the demon who owns his soul.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
With this Latin phrase, Faustus repeats what he just said in English, "Come, come Mephistophilis." Notice how increasingly desperate Faustus becomes. He recognizes that he has no power without this demon then repeats his call until Mephistophilis appears.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
This phase translates into "misery loves company." Mephistophilis claims that the devil does not tempt man in order to have more power in hell or because he is evil but because he wants others to suffer as he suffers. This paints hell not only as a place of torment but also shows the extreme limits to the powerful beings that Faustus has dedicated his soul: they themselves have no power over their fate, they are trapped in hell just like the souls they own.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice how many times Mephistophilis emphasizes souls suffering in hell. He claims here that demons, himself included, suffers just as much as human souls. However, also notice that this fact seems to be lost on Faustus. Faustus's pride and arrogance blind him to the reality of hell and keep him from hearing Mephistophilis's warnings.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
This statement is ironic given everything Mephistophilis has told Faustus and the audience about hell and Lucifer. Lucifer is not "great" but rather trapped and tortured in hell. Being as "great as Lucifer" ironically means being as imprisoned and powerless as Lucifer.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
This rhetorical question inadvertently invokes Predestination philosophy. Predestination proposes that the soul does not actually belong to a man, but to God. God decides what will become of the soul before the person even comes into existence. Thus, Faustus is selling something that does not really belong to him.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
This Latin phrase means, "it is finished." This is a direct allusion to Jesus's final words on the cross cited in John 19:30: "When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.” And bowing His head, He yielded up His spirit." Faustus thus seals his bond to the devil with blasphemy.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"Homo fuge" means "O man, fly!" These words imprinted in his arm are a divine or psychological warning to not sign this contract with Mephistophilis. However, Faustus once again dismisses this thought by stating his inability to do anything else: if he were to walk away from the Devil, where would he go? This claim supports reading Faustus's decision as a reaction to his predestined damned nature.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
When Faustus beings to contemplate his inevitable damnation, Mephistophilis distracts him with "delight." This foreshadows the nature of the pact that Faustus has just signed: it will not bring him the power that he imagined but rather simply distract him from his damned reality.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice that the first thing Faustus wants to know about is hell, a place that he earlier stated he did not fear because he knew it so well. This shows Faustus's lingering insecurity and doubt about his decision.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Faustus's lines after he signs the contract with Mephistophilis appear surprisingly ignorant to his reality: he has just signed a deal with the devil and does not to seem to realize that this means he is damned. Faustus's ignorance can be read in two ways. First, that he genuinely does not believe in hell or damnation and thus believes that he is getting magical powers for free. Second, that Faustus is in denial about his impending doom and therefore pretends that hell is not real.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Fond in this context means "foolish." Ironically, Faustus's rhetorical statement here is accurate: his decisions and beliefs were foolish and he will be punished for them.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Faustus denies the reality of hell while speaking to a demon. Mephistophilis points out this absurdity and thus makes Faustus appear more foolish to the audience. The blatant denial of the truth before him either represents Faustus's blindness or his intentional rejection of a reality he cannot bear.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Mephistophilis cannot produce a wife for Faustus because marriage is one of the seven sacraments. In Catholic Church doctrine, Jesus entrusted seven sacraments, visible rites of passage or events in one's life, that demonstrated the grace of God in a righteous person. The sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. Faustus cannot get married because he does not have the grace of God.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Penelope is a character from Greek mythology. She was Odysseus's wife who is famous for remaining chaste and loyal to her husband during the Trojan War and his extended absence after the war ended.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Saba was the Queen of Sheba. She traveled to Jerusalem to present King Solomon with presents and question him to test his wisdom. He was able to solve all of her riddles. She is remembered as an extremely wise and cunning woman.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice that Faustus's grand ideas about conquering the world and building bridges between his empires have been reduced to acquiring books. This could suggest that Faustus is looking for distraction from the knowledge of his impending damnation.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice how the motif of reading changes throughout this play. At the beginning of the play Faustus claims that he cannot learn anything from the books that he has and must turn to black magic to acquire the knowledge that he desires. He ignores testimony from Mephistophilis about hell, yet readily accepts the information that he reads about the heavens in this book.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Spirit in this context means demon or devil. The Evil Angel's remark means that Faustus is irrevocably damned. This either suggests that there are actions one can take that cannot be redeemed by prayer, or it means that Faustus was damned from birth and never had another choice.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Though Faustus just claimed that he did not believe in hell, here he admits that his fear of hell "echoes in his ears." Faustus fears his damnation but cannot, or will not do anything to stop it.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Homer was the author of the epic and famous tales the Iliad and the Odyssey. He is believed to be the first or one of the first epic poets and remains central to the Western canon. He was rumored to be blind so that divine inspiration could flow through him to compose these great epics.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Alexander is another name for Paris, one of the Trojan heroes of the Iliad. He eloped with Helen, the queen of Sparta, and caused the Trojan War. "Alexander's love" means Paris's dangerous love for Helen that sparked the war which caused Troy to collapse.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
According to mythology, Oenon was a nymph with healing powers who became Paris' first wife. After Paris left her for Helen of Troy, Oenon became vengeful and angry. When Paris was wounded during the Trojan War, Oenon refused to heal him and he died. She then committed suicide out of grief.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
In Greek mythology, Amphion was the son of Zeus and Antiope. He is famous for building the walls of Thebes by playing harp music so beautiful that it charmed the stones into place.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
By celestial bodies, Faustus refers to the theory of astronomy developed by Plato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Copernicus. This theory held that planetary, lunar, and stellar movement was the result of fixed rotating spheres. Rather than the modern concept which understands plants moving on relative paths through empty space, this theory believed that planets, stars, and moons were embedded in spheres made out of "quintessence," a fifth element. Mephistophilis elaborates on this concept in the following lines.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
The erring or wandering stars were the nine planets. Unlike the rest of the stars, which appeared unmoving, the wandering stars were thought to be attached to the closer spheres that rotated around Earth.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
By this Faustus means "in position and in time." Mephistophilis presents a Renaissance theory of astronomy in which all of the plants and stars in the sky were part of a fixed sphere that rotated together. This theory was called the Celestial Spheres.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
An "intelligentia" is the angel or higher being believed to be responsible for the motion of each sphere. Faustus brushes off Mephistophilis's initial explanation of planetary movement as basic, since he presents a widely known theory at this time, and instead wants to understand the why behind the theory. Faustus wants to know more than the philosophers, and astronomers he has studied.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice that Faustus moves directly away from understanding the divine reasoning behind the movement of the spheres and returns to asking questions about the mechanics of their movements. This suggests that when Mephistophilis confirms that there is an angel moving the spheres this frightens Faustus who claims he does not believe in divine punishment or salvation.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
In this context, "conjunctions" is a word used in astronomy to refer to the positions of two celestial bodies that share the same longitude.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
In this context, "oppositions" is a word used in astronomy to refer to the positions of two celestial bodies that are opposite each other.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
In this context, "aspects" is an archaic word used in astronomy to refer to configurations of celestial bodies in relation to each other. "Aspects" were used at this time astrologically as well since they were thought to influence human affairs.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
This Latin response means, "Because of their unequal movements in respect of the whole."— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Lucifer's statement here can be read as a sign of Faustus's predestined damnation: not even repentance or Christ can save him because he has been made for hell. However, this could also be read as a trick played on Faustus by the devil. Just as he is about to ask forgiveness and turn to God, Faustus is told that he cannot do so by the devil.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
The "devil and his dam" was a common expression in this time. "Dam" can either mean something's mother, as to dam is to give birth to, but it can also mean wife. Since women were considered the lesser of the two sexes, this expression means the devil and something worse than the devil.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
When he is dedicated to the devil, Faustus has nothing other than distraction from damnation. Notice how many times Mephistophilis and Lucifer offer him pastime, derision, or pleasure.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
The Seven Deadly Sins are seven vices that are thought to give rise to all other vices. Engaging in pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, or sloth was thought to demonstrate one's lack of grace or virtue, and cause either damnation or a cause for repentance.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice that Faustus is still speaking through a Christian paradigm. He cannot yet understand hell, the devil, or the deal he has made without comparing it to the paradise that he has lost. This suggests that Faustus does not fully comprehend the deal he has made.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"Ovid's flea" is an allusion to a medieval poem called "Song of the Flea." The poem was quite raunchy and depicted a flea crawling into bed with both ladies and men and forcing them to scratch themselves indecently.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"Arras" was a find cloth export from Flanders that was generally used to make tapestries. Pride claims that it cannot talk until it is standing on this fine cloth after boasting that it can get into every crevice of a woman's body. Notice that the characteristics of this sin, Pridefulness, limit Pride's ability.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Covetousness is avarice, greed, or the extreme desire for material wealth or monetary gain. Notice that by using this word instead of "greed," Marlowe makes a direct parallel with the Biblical language; the Seven Deadly Sins are directly contrary to piety.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"Begotten" means born of, usually referring to the father. Begotten has strong Biblical connotations as in the Christian Bible Jesus is referred to as the "only begotten son of God."— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
In Shakespeare's time, coin money was ubiquitously used instead of paper money. Money was carried around in leather pouches attached to one's belt. Covetousness arose out of this "leather pouch," or wallet.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
Notice the parallel made between Wrath's "father," the lion, and man's actions that bring wrath to life. A man who acts with rage becomes like Wrath's father, a beast; anger turns men into animals.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
This parentage places Envy in the position of common people. It suggests a classed understanding of the Seven Deadly Sins: those who are poor are more likely to experience envy and sin.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
These are both types of salted meat that is preserved in the winter with salt. Martinmas is November 11, the day in which meat was salted in order to keep it fresh during the winter.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"March-beer" was a rich ale made only in March. It was a very desirable beverage in Early Modern England.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"Mutton" in this context is a bawdy slang term for the penis. Lechery poses herself against Gluttony saying that she would rather have an inch of "mutton" than an ell, forty-five inches, of fried fish. Notice how food and sex are conflated here to imply the sinfulness of any indulgence in the body.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"Tut" is a verbal ejaculation to express impatience or dissatisfaction with a statement or notion. Faustus is still speaking of delight and feeding his soul rather than focusing on the suffering he will endure. As Mephistophilis claimed Lucifer wanted souls because misery loves company, Lucifer's displeasure at Faustus's delight can be seen as frustration that Faustus does not yet fear hell.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
"Chary" means dearly or carefully. This statement is ironic because Faustus did not keep his life or his soul carefully.— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff