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Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus: Summary

Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is a play where a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus, the protagonist, was a well-respected German scholar who had grown dissatisfied with the limits of traditional forms of knowledge and decided to learn to practice magic. Valdes and Cornelius, the two illustrious magicians taught him the black arts, and he began his new career as a magician.

Faustus using his magic summoned a demon, Mephistophilis, ordering him to go to Lucifer his master with the offer of Faustus’s soul in return for twenty-four years of servitude from Mephistophilis. Lucifer accepted Faustus’s offer and a deal was signed with Faustus’s own blood. When divinely his arm healed of the wound the words ‘flee man” appeared on it. Faustus was also reminded of the Seven Deadly Sins by the good soul to contemplate his act but he ignored it and committed himself to the pact with Lucifer.

Armed with his new powers and attended by Mephastophilis, Faustus begins to travel. He went to the pope’s court in Rome, makes himself invisible, and plays a series of tricks. Faustus enjoys playing tricks on people by using his powers, and even went so far as to use his powers on a dragon. He summons demons with magic, and later brings Helen of Troy to comfort him in his final hours. He no longer wanted to be a mere mortal… he wanted to be as powerful as the devil himself.

As the twenty-four years of his deal with Lucifer came to a close, Faustus began to dread his impending death. Knowledge about Faustus’s pact left his friends horror-stricken and they resolved to pray for him. On the final night Faustus was overcome by fear and remorse. He begged for mercy, but it was too late. At midnight, a host of devils appeared and carried his soul off to hell. In the morning, his friends found his limbs and decided to hold a funeral for him.