Please explain and analyze this quotation from Doctor Faustus: "FAUSTUS: Ay, and body too, but what of that? / Think'st thou that Faustus is so fond...

Please explain and analyze this quotation from Doctor Faustus:

FAUSTUS: 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?No, these are trifles, and mere old wives' tales.

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In this quote from Marlowe's play, Faustus has already signed his body and soul over to the devil. He is in conversation with Mephistopheles, the devil's minion. Mephistopheles tells Faustus that he knows hell is real because he has suffered its torments. However, when Faustus asks where it is, Mephistopheles is evasive, telling him it is anywhere heaven isn't and not in a particular location:

hell hath no limits, nor is circumscrib'd In one self-place

Faustus, having committed himself to hell, insists on being in denial, saying it is a "fable." He interprets Mephistopheles's words as meaning there really is no hell.

Faustus continues to elaborate on this denial in the passage quoted above. When Mephistopheles reminds him that he has signed his soul over to the devil, Faustus responds with careless disregard—"ay, and body too," meaning Lucifer will own both his body and soul. However, that matters little to Faustus at this point. Twenty-four years later, when his contract is due, seems far away, and Faustus decides that death simply means the end of pain; in other words, there is no afterlife. He says these stories of hell are "trifles": tiny details that that are unimportant, and "old wives' tales"—false stories.

Faustus's dismissal of hell is a form of dramatic irony, as the audience knows (in an uncomfortable way what he refuses to admit) that he has made a bad bargain and will have to pay the piper for all eternity. It also characterizes him as arrogant: he knows what he knows and isn't willing to listen to words that contradict what he has already decided.

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Doctor Faustus is talking to Mephistopheles just after he used his own blood to sign away his soul to Lucifer, the devil and Mephistopheles's master.

Faustus, having now given his body and soul to be transported to the habitation of the devil at the end of the twenty-four years covered by the pledge, is curious about the location and conditions in hell. As Mephistopheles is now required to provide answers to any questions Faustus wishes to ask, he begins by asking about his future.

Faustus: First will I question thee about hell. Tell me where is the place that men call hell? Meph: Under the heavens. Faustus: Aye, but whereabout? Meph: Within the bowels of these elements...All places shall be hell that is not Heaven.

Faustus doesn't believe what Mephistopheles says, proclaiming hell to be "a fable." Mephistopheles predicts Faustus will change his mind when he begins to experience hell, and assures Faustus that he will do so since he has completed signing "the scroll wherein thou hast given thy soul to Lucifer."

Faustus responds with the passage you quote - an indication of how little concern he has about his future. He agrees that he has given soul and body to the devil and discounts the idea that there is pain after death, calling such ideas "trifles and mere old wives' tales."

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