In scene 5 of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, the title character signs the contract giving Lucifer his soul in exchange for twenty-four years of Mephistophilis's obedience to do whatever Faustus pleases. Mephistophilis explains the fine print, and with the paperwork completed, Mephistophilis asks Faustus if he has any questions:
MEPHISTOPHILIS: Now, Faustus, ask what thou wilt.
FAUSTUS: First will I question with thee about hell.
Tell me where is the place that men call hell? (5.117–119)
It's interesting that Faustus waits until after he's signed the contract with Lucifer to ask this question. Mephistophilis answers:
MEPHISTOPHILIS: Under the heavens.
FAUSTUS: Ay, but whereabout? (5.120–121)
It sounds to Faustus like Mephistophilis is avoiding answering the question. "Under the heavens" could be anywhere, which is exactly where Mephistophilis is telling Faustus where hell is. Faustus doesn't grasp the implication of what Mephistophilis just said, however, and he wants to know more...
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