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One of the most important themes in Marlowe's play is based on an anonymous quote that I often use with my students. "One should never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate."

Doctor Faustus like Tom Walker in Irving's short story and other "deal-with-the-devil" works sees only what is in front of him and the opportunity at hand.  He knows that there will be long-term consequences, but he cannot get past what he will have immediately if he gives in.

This theme has been repeated throughout history, not just in fiction, and almost always has disastrous results for those who want immediate gratification.

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