Dr. Faustus
Christopher Marlowe

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The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus



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The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

(from the ‘B text’ – published 1616)

Act 1 Scene 1



When all is done Divinity is best.

Jerome’s Bible! Faustus, view it well.

Stipendium peccati mors est. Ha! Stipendium etc.,

“The reward of sin is death.” That’s hard.

Si pecasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in nobis veritas.

“If we say that we have no sin

We deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us.”

Why then, belike, we must sin,

And so consequently die.

Ay, we must die, an everlasting death.

What doctrine call you this? Che sera, sera.

“What will be, shall be.” Divinity, adieu!

Scene 3


Did not my conjuring speeches raise thee? Speak.


That was the cause, but yet per accidens;

For when we hear one rack the name of God,

Abjure the scriptures and his saviour Christ,

We fly in hope to get his glorious soul.

Nor will we come unless he use such means

Whereby he is in danger to be damned.

Scene 4


Alas, poor slave. See how poverty jests in his nakedness. I know the villain’s out of service and so hungry that I know he would give his soul to the devil for a shoulder of mutton though it were blood-raw.


Not so neither. I had need to have it well roasted, and good sauce to it, if I pay so dear, I can tell you.

Scene 5


So now, Faustus, ask me what thou wilt.


First I will question with thee about hell.

Tell me, where is the place that men call hell?


Under the heavens.


Ay, so are all things else; but whereabouts?


Within the bowels of these elements,

Where we are tortured and remain for ever.

Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed

In one self place. But where we are is hell,

And where hell is there must we ever be.

And to be short, when all the world dissolves

And every creature shall be purified,

All places shall be hell that is not heaven.


Come, I think hell’s a fable.


Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.

Act 5Scene 1


Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,

And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.

Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies.

Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.

Here will I dwell, for heaven is in those lips,

And all is dross that is not Helena.

I will be Paris, and for love of thee

Instead of Troy shall Wittenberg be sacked,

And I will combat with weak Menelaus,

And wear they colors on my plumed crest.

Yes, I will wound Achilles in the heel,

And then return to Helen for a kiss.

Oh, thou art fairer than the evening’s air,

Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.

Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter,

When he appeared to hapless Semele:

More lovely than the monarch of the sky,

In wanton Arethusa’s azure arms,

And none but thou shalt be my paramour.



text checked (see note) Mar 2005

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Background graphic copyright © 2005 by Hal Keen