View Full Version : The Fate of Dr. Faustus

12-24-2006, 01:38 AM
This question sparked an interesting discussion years ago in a graduate seminar on Elizabethan literature - perhaps it will do the same here. For those who have read the play, we know that Dr. Faustus ends the play waiting for the demons to conduct him to Hell as per the terms of his agreement with Mephistopheles. Here is an excerpt from his final moments:

Oh, the half the hour is past! 'twill all be passed anon.
O God,
If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul,
Yet for Christ's sake, whose blood hath ransomed me,
Impose some end to my incessant pain;
Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,
A hundred thousand, and at last be saved!

Was Faustus saved? We know that his mutilated body is discovered in the morning, but what of his soul? Was his request sufficient? Or do you accept the generally accepted conclusion that he got what he asked for, got what his blood-signed signature required?

Dante Wodehouse
04-19-2007, 03:04 PM
It is an intriguing question. It is (to me, at least) like the question of suicide. Can a rash act that someone commits without thought condemn someone forever? I have no desire to test it, so there isn't really any way that I am going to find out, but when in the mood for speculation this is a better question than whether the egg predates the chicken.

04-19-2007, 05:32 PM
I dont think he would have been redeemed its like waiting to see the angle of death blowing the horm and saying OH Gosh I was wrong all this time and so please let me go....cheating.

Then again God is merciful.....

and again the very exsitance of mephestophilis and Lucifer confirms the exsitance of God beyond a doubt so arguably he lost his chance anyway he sold his soul didnt he? so it was no longer his to bargain for.

kilted exile
04-19-2007, 05:42 PM
I think at this point he is truly repentent, and as a result (if you go with the christian teachings) he would have to be saved. Somewhat similar to the catholic idea of the last rites I would presume.

04-19-2007, 06:14 PM
In my opinion I think that Dr.Faustu deserve what happened to him as aresult of his contract with lucifer so I can say that anyone choose his fate by himself as Dr.Faustus chose his end to hell and I think he realize that in the last moment of his life

12-18-2007, 05:12 PM
I believe that Faustus knew that what he did was evil. He begs God for Salvation. He is ready to be punished but at least he wants to see the God's face.

in Quatro 1616 there is a dialogue between scholars who decide to bury "his mangled limbs". funeral is a christian church service so maybe he's going to be redeemed? "than again God is merciful" as Nightshade said.

on the other hand, Chorus says:

"Faustus is gone. Regard his hellish fall
Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise
Only to wonder at unlawful things,
Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits
To practise more than heavenly power permits."

according to Chorus, Faustus cannot be redeemed. Moreover, Faustus signed the Deed of Gift so I believe that he was condemned.

02-01-2008, 07:21 PM
As Patrycja points out, the Chorus ends Faust's chances for instant gratification. Besides, He does not seek it. Marlowe understood beyond most (as his Master's in Divinity attests) the need to comprehend the evil one does, then suffer for it, before redemption is permitted. There is no lesson learned without it. Hell was so real to most, hell yes, Faust had to first enter the hot realm. Anyone screams to be saved at the last moment--if you can't do the time, don't do the crime!