Please explain and analyze this quotation from Doctor Faustus?  Faustus Consummatum est: this bill is ended, And Faustus hath bequeathed his soul to Lucifer. But what this inscription on mine...

Please explain and analyze this quotation from Doctor Faustus?

 

Faustus

Consummatum est: this bill is ended,

And Faustus hath bequeathed his soul to Lucifer.

But what this inscription on mine arm?

Homo, fuge! Whither should I fly?

If unto God, he 'll throw me down to hell.

My senses are deceived, here's nothing writ:

O yes, I see it plain, even here is writ

Homo, fuge! Yet shall not Faustus fly.

Asked on by rozh

2 Answers | Add Yours

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Faustus has just finished cutting his arm and using the blood from the cut to sign the agreement with the devil. "Consummatum est" is Latin for "It is finished" - the act of signing the deed is done.

However, the cut on his arm changes appearance. Instead of appearing as a straight line cut in his skin, it looks like an "inscription" - a message in writing. "Homo, fuge!" is Latin for "Flee, o man!" Suddenly, the cut has become a warning, telling Faustus to get away from where he is and what he has done.

Faustus understands that there is no place to which he can escape. He can't go to God for help now, after making a deal with the devil - "he'll throw me down to hell."

He decides he must be imagining things - "My senses are deceived, here's nothing writ," then has to admit that the message is there and is "plain." However, the agreement is signed and the temptation of all that Mephistophilis promised is too great.

Faustus decides he will not attempt to "fly" or escape from whatever may be coming.

Sources:
noahvox2's profile pic

noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

The words consummatum est are also ironic because in the Vulgate Latin text of the Gospel of John (19:30), these are the last words that Jesus speaks before he dies on the cross:

cum ergo accepisset Iesus acetum dixit consummatum est et inclinato capite tradidit spiritum.

"When, therefore, Jesus had received the wine, he said, 'It is finished' and with his head bowed he gave up the spirit."

Given the fact that Faustus has now sold his soul to the Devil, it is ironic that he should use the final words that Jesus speaks in John's gospel.

As for homo, fuge, stolperia has already given a solid explanation of these words. I would add, however, that the phrase homo, fuge may be an echo of the apostle Paul's letter to Timothy (1 Tim 6:11), where Paul gives the following warning to Timothy:

"But you, man [homo] of God, flee [fuge] from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." (NIV translation)

Once again, there is at least some degree of irony here. The more learned members of Marlowe's audience may have heard the echo of Paul's advice to Timothy, advice which we may assume Timothy took, but that Faustus will clearly ignore.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question