Doctor Faustus : Doctor Faustus Christopher Marlow
(1564-1593)a play of deep questions concerning morality, religion, and man's relationship to both The Final speech : The Final speech Faustus’s final speech is the most emotionally powerful scene in the play, as his despairing mind rushes from idea to idea.
One moment he is begging time to slow down, the next he is imploring Christ for mercy.
One moment he is crying out in fear and trying to hide from the wrath of God, the next he is begging to have the eternity of hell lessened somehow. The Final speech : The Final speech He curses his parents for giving birth to him but then owns up to his responsibility and curses himself.
His mind’s various attempts to escape his doom, then, lead inexorably to an understanding of his own guilt. Act Five, Scene IV and Epilogue: : Act Five, Scene IV and Epilogue: The Clock strikes eleven. Faustus begins his final soliloquy.
Ah, FaustusNow hast thou but one hour to liveAnd then thou must be damn’d perpetually
He pleads beautifully, and futilely, for time to stop its forward rush.
Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,That time may cease, and midnight never come; Slide 5: Faustus believes it is the movement of the spheres and stars that creates time.
He realizes time cannot stop, and delivers these memorable lines:
"Oh, I'll leap up to my God: who pulls me down? / See, see, where Christ's blood streams in the firmament. / One drop would save my soul, half a drop. Ah, my Christ!" (5.2.156-8).
He has a vision of an angry God. He pleads with different aspects of nature to help him, but they can't. Slide 6: He is so ashamed that he wants to hide himself from the vision of God:
Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me,And hide me from the heavy wrath (ire) of God!
The clock strikes for half past the hour.
He pleads that God will shorten his time in hell to a thousand, or even a hundred thousand years.
Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,A hundred thousand, and at last be sav’d!
But he knows that hell is eternal.
O, no end is limited to damned souls! Slide 7: He wishes that Pythagoras' theories of transmigration of souls (reincarnation) were true.
He wishes that he could be an animal, whose souls are not immortal.
Ah, Pythagoras’ metempsychosys, were that true,This soul should fly from me, and I be chang’dUnto some brutish beast! All beast are happy.
For when they die,Their souls are soon dissolv’d in elements (earth, water, air and fire) Transmigration Slide 8: He curses his parents, then curses himself, and finally curses Lucifer.
Curs’d be the parents that engender’d me!No, Faustus, curse thyself, Curs Lucifer
That hath depriv’d thee of the joy of heaven. The Curse Slide 9: The clock strikes midnight. With thunder and lightning scarring the skies, he cries aloud for his soul to dissolve into the air, or drops of water, so that the devils cannot find it.
O soul, be chang’d into little water-dropsAnd fall into the ocean, ne’er be found!
The devils enter.
As Faustus begs God and the devil for mercy, the devils drag him away Midnight Final scene : Final scene In his final speech, Faustus is clearly suffering from remorse, yet he no longer seems to be able to repent. Christian Tragedy : Christian Tragedy the ending of Doctor Faustus represents a clash between Christianity, which holds that repentance and salvation are always possible, and the dictates of tragedy, in which some character flaw cannot be corrected, even by appealing to God.
The idea of Christian tragedy, then, is paradoxical, as Christianity is ultimately uplifting. People may suffer as Christ himself did but for those who repent, salvation eventually awaits. Christian Tragedy : Christian Tragedy To make Doctor Faustus a true tragedy, then, Marlowe had to set down a moment beyond which Faustus could no longer repent, so that in the final scene, while still alive, he can be damned and conscious of his damnation. Scene 5.3 : Scene 5.3 Enter the three Scholars. They've been much disturbed by all of the terrible noise they heard between midnight and one. They find Faustus' body, torn to pieces. Epilogue : Epilogue The Chorus emphasizes that Faustus is gone, his once-great potential wasted. The Chorus warns the audience to remember his fall, and the lessons it offers.