Scenes 5–6 Summaries

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Scene 5

Faustus begins to hesitate regarding his impending deal with Lucifer and considers repenting. At this point, the Good Angel and the Evil Angel both enter. The Good Angel encourages Faustus to turn his attention to prayer and repentance, whereas the Evil Angel says that prayer is for fools and that Faustus ought to think of wealth and fame. When the Angels depart, Faustus repeats his excitement at the prospect of wealth and makes up his mind to go through with committing his soul to Lucifer.

Mephistophilis enters and informs Faustus that Lucifer accepts the deal on the condition that Faustus swear a deed to his soul, signed in blood, as the property of Lucifer. Faustus asks why it is that Lucifer wants human souls such as his, and Mephistophilis replies that those who suffer wish to have company in their suffering. Despite this warning of the pains of hell, Mephistophilis prompts Faustus to swear in blood, and Faustus stabs his own arm to use the blood to sign a deed for his soul. The blood congeals, however, preventing Faustus from writing, and Mephistophilis goes to get fire in order to thin out the blood. 

Faustus considers for a moment whether or not his blood has congealed as a warning against signing away his soul. He concludes that his soul is his to use, and he resumes signing. Returning with fire, meanwhile, Mephistophilis remarks in a small aside, “O, what will I not do to obtain his soul?” As Faustus finishes writing the deed, the Latin words “Homo, fuge” (meaning “Run away, human”) appear on his arm, which prompts him once again to reconsider the sale of his soul. Seeing this, Mephistophilis conjures devils to dress Faustus in fine garb and sing to him as a means of distraction. This succeeds, and Faustus happily signs over his soul to Lucifer’s possession, in exchange for twenty-four years of servitude from Mephistophilis.

The deed signed and done, Mephistophilis asks Faustus what he would have him do first. Faustus begins by asking about the nature and whereabouts of hell, and Mephistophilis replies by saying that hell is not a specific location. Rather, everywhere the damned are is hell, and hell is always the location of the damned. Believing hell to be a myth, Faustus expresses doubt at this, arguing that Mephistophilis is clearly not in hell but there with Faustus, in his study. If that is indeed what hell is like, then he would gladly be damned.

Quickly changing the subject, Faustus then asks to be given a beautiful wife. Mephistophilis, reluctant to even approach the subject of marriage because it is a holy sacrament, presents Faustus with a devil, dressed in fine women’s clothing. Faustus, however, rejects this figure out of hand, and Mephistophilis successfully moves him off the topic by presenting him with a magical book that will provide any information Faustus desires.

The scene moves forward in time. Faustus is enthralled by the subject of the heavens, and expresses resentment about the deal he has struck with Mephistophilis, since the splendor and joys of God’s heavens are not accessible by the powers of Lucifer. Mephistophilis attempts to argue that the heavens, since they were created for humankind, are of lesser splendor than any man, but Faustus’s doubt persists, and he once again considers repenting. The Good Angel and the Evil Angel then enter the scene, with the Good Angel telling Faustus that it is not too late to repent and receive God’s grace, while the Evil Angel says that Faustus will never repent. This convinces Faustus, as he asserts immediately, “My heart’s so hardened, I cannot repent.” He talks himself out of his doubts in a short monologue, deciding that the pleasures available from his deal with Lucifer outweigh the costs.

Following this, Faustus asks a number of questions about the nature of the celestial bodies, and Mephistophilis answers all of them. Faustus then asks who it was that made the world. Mephistophilis replies that he cannot answer this question, because the answer goes against the kingdom of hell. In the face of this obstacle, Faustus once again reconsiders repentance. He is visited once more by the Good and Evil Angels. While the Evil Angel argues that the beasts of hell will tear Faustus to pieces if he were to repent, the Good Angel persuades him that he will receive protection from heaven.

With this, Faustus begins to utter his repentance, but Mephistophilis, Beelzebub, and Lucifer himself all appear immediately before him. Lucifer implores Faustus to turn his thoughts to the devil, as his appeals to Christ are injurious to the kingdom of hell and go against the promise he has made. Faustus acquiesces immediately and once again renounces God. Lucifer, attempting to mollify Faustus, presents a show of each of the seven deadly sins, which are personified for Faustus’s entertainment.

After the performance of the Seven Deadly Sins, Faustus is pleased, and Lucifer agrees to give him a guided tour of hell later that night.

Scene 6

Scene 6 is a brief exchange between Robin and Rafe, two stable hands. Robin, who has stolen a book of magic spells from Doctor Faustus, plans to put it to use and compel the local women to dance naked for his pleasure. Exchanging sexually charged language and double-entendres, Robin and Rafe both agree to use the book for their own pleasure.

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Chorus 1, Scenes 1–4 Summaries


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