Doctor Faustus Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Doctor Faustus: Novel Summary: Act 1, scene 5-Act 2, scene 1

Average Overall Rating: 4.5
Total Votes: 419


Act 1, scene 5: Faustus is in his study, awaiting Lucifer who will finalize the surrender of his soul.  He is having doubts and wonders if it is too late to repent and turn to God.  The good and evil angels reenter, both pleading different cases.  The good angel tells Faustus that prayer and repentance are the only means of getting to heaven; the evil angel retorts that these practices are sheer lunacy.  The evil angel succeeds in being more influential, and leaves Faustus dreaming about riches and power.  Mephostophilis enters at the stroke of midnight and tells him that Lucifer has agreed to the deal if Faustus will write the deed with his own blood.  Faustus cuts his arm and tries to sign off his soul, but his blood congeals too quickly.  He wonders if this is a warning for him to proceed no further.  Faustus eventually signs the deed and officially bequeaths his soul to Lucifer, but is horrified to see the inscription Homo fuge (Fly, oh man) immediately appear on his arm.
Mephostophilis quickly conjures up some devils to amuse Faustus and makes him forget his troubles.  He is willing to do anything to obtain Faustus's soul.  As his first command to Mephostophilis, Faustus questions the reality of hell.  Despite the devil's assurances that there is indeed a hell and that he is the living proof, Faustus scoffs at his words and dismisses the idea of damnation as an old wives' tale. He then asks Mephostophilis for a wife, but the request is refused since marriage is considered a holy institution.  Instead, the devil promises Faustus a new woman every night and any other girl that pleases his fancy.  In addition, Mephostophilis gives him books of spells, astrology and nature, much to Faustus's pleasure.
Act 2, scene 1: Faustus complains to Mephostophilis that he has been deceived into selling his soul when he could have enjoyed the wonders of heaven.  He then decides to renounce the dark arts.  Again, the good and evil angels enter.  The good angel assures him that if he repents now, God will still accept him, whereas the evil angel tells him that it is impossible for him to repent-it is too late.  Faustus despairs and does not atone for his sins under the mistaken assumption that he is too evil for God and heaven.
He and Mephostophilis then engage in a conversation about the celestial planets.  He tries to coerce Mephostophilis into saying God's name, but the devil angrily refuses, for it is forbidden among the devils to do so.  The good and evil angels reenter, respectively urging Faustus to save and surrender his soul.  Lucifer and Beelzebub arrive from hell and command Faustus to never think on God again.  He agrees to burn the scriptures and publicly blaspheme Christ.  Then, to amuse Faustus, Lucifer and Beelzebub show him the seven deadly sins in person.  Faustus is entertained by the display and wishes to visit hell with Lucifer and then come back.  Lucifer agrees to take Faustus with him at midnight and departs.


Quotes: Search by Author