Doctor Faustus Quote Flashcards


Just a few quotes from Christopher Marlowe's play 'Doctor Faustus' covering the themes of religion, power, the supernatural and renaissance.
Joe Brown
Flashcards by Joe Brown, updated more than 1 year ago
Joe Brown
Created by Joe Brown almost 9 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
"If we say that we have no sin, We deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us. Why then belike we must sin, And so consequently die." - Faustus (end of his opening soliloquy) He opens the Bible and reads 'The reward for sin is death'. It seem as though Christianity can promise only death. He neglects to read the very next line which states if we confess, God will forgive. By ignoring this passage, Faustus ignores the possibility of redemption, just as he ignores it throughout the play.
"Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God, And tasted the eternal joys of heaven, Am not tormented with ten thousand hells In being deprived of everlasting bliss?" - Mephastophilis We know he is committed to F’s damnation. Yet here Meph seems to be urging F against selling his soul, telling him to “leave these frivolous demands". Meph rebelled against God; and is damned forever for his sin. Perhaps because of this connection, Meph cannot accept F’s cheerful dismissal of hell.
"To practise more than heavenly power permits" - Faustus Illustrates his ambition to be omnipotent, to be God-like. Illustrates the theme of breaking the great chain of being.
"honour and wealth" - Faustus Faustus wants to be honourable and wealthy. Yet his actions are dishonourable - he uses his powers for his own gratification - to humiliate the pope and for his own sexual fulfilments. Suggests despite his class and intellect he is no different to the servants who also use magic.
"Now I will make all the maidens of our parish dance at my pleasure stark naked before me" - Robin Shows that Robin, and Faustus, put their own pleasures first.
"return an old Franciscan friar;/That holy shape becomes a devil best" - Faustus In ordering Mephistophilis to return as a Franciscan friar, Marlowe is drawing attention to the hypocrisy of holy men who were, often, less than devout.
In regard to Lucifer's downfall - "by aspiring pride and insolence; For which God thrrew him from the face of heaven" - Mephistophilis Pride is also Faustus' hubris. Marlowe is foreshadowing what is to come for his troubled protagonist.
"These necromantic books are heavenly" - Faustus A deliberate juxtaposition of heaven and hell.
"Yet art thou still but Faustus and a man" - Faustus Longs to challenge boundaries of humanity - a "renaissance man". Overly ambitious, overreaching - he will always be just a man.
"Marriage is but a ceremonial toy" - Mephistophilis Marriage means nothing. Blasphemous. Its a sacrament of God.
"let me have a wife.../For I am wanton and lasviovious" - Faustus. Lascivious = overt sexual desire. Feminists - men see women's role in marriage to fulfil their sexual desires. Faustus similar to Caliban...
The sight of the Seven Deadly sins will "be as pleasing" to Faustus "As Paradise was to Adam and Eve" These sins are called deadly because they are believed to lead to spiritual death. All other sins are said to grow out of them. Ironic that he makes another Biblical reference - opportunity to repent?
"Now I die eternally" - Faustus Poetic justice. Marlowe ends it this way to provide Faustus with an appropriate comeuppance. Shows you cannot abandon God.
"Had I as many souls as there be stars/I'd give them all for Mephistophilis" - Faustus Shows his ignorance - unlikely to repent. Meph is the source of delight - brings him wealth, power, sexual gratification, knowledge etc
"Try thy brains to gain a deity" - Faustus Harold Bloom makes the point that F. wants to achieve a certain level of greatness and a desire "to assume Godhead"
"A sound magician is a mighty God" - Faustus Wishes to develop magic to become a God-like figure. The end of the debate is that he will deepen his knowledge of the art of magic and summon demons to do his bidding and give him the unlimited power he covets. Thus he will add one more area of proficiency to his breadth of knowledge.
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