He sells his soul to the devil for what he believes to be limitless power, with full logical knowledge as to the consequences of such a transaction. He knows the stakes of his gamble with the devil. His extensive education and his cultural environment had certainly alerted him as to the dangers associated with Lucifer. Although aware of the consequences of such a pact, he is blinded by three things that bring about his ultimate demise. His greed to know all, his pride that made him believe he was better than man, and his denial that in the end he would bring his own downfall upon himself. If Faustus had not been these things he would not have brought an end to himself.
Dr. Faustus denies the existence of everything, from his eventual torture in hell if he does not repent, to men, society, and indeed the world. The only aspect of his life which he does not deny is his physical reality. When Faustus meets with Mephistopheles (a messenger of the devil) he is frightened and demands a new appearance for his devil servant.
“I charge thee to return and change thy shape; Thou art to ugly to attend on me. Go, and return an old Franciscan friar; That holy shape becomes a devil best. ” (Marlowe p. 14)By choosing Mephistopheles to change his form, he is almost sugar coating the reality of having a real devil serve him. He also brought his own downfall upon himself by being filled with pride.
Unfortunately for Faustus his pride was not morally healthy. Faustus would rather retain his pride than admit that he was at fault. He blames his parents, predestination, and appeals both to Christ and Lucifer. “O my Christ! – O spare me my Lucifer! – You stars that reigned at my nativity. Now draw up Faustus like a foggy mist.
Cursed be the parents that endangered me. ” (Marlowe p. 55)His final damnation not only results from the immoral acts that he has committed throughout his life, nor his contract with the devil, but rather his pride, the emotion that condemns him into eternal hell. Last, but not least is the prevailing quality that Dr. Faustus follows throughout the book, greed.
Because of his greed he had everything. However much it was, he wanted more. He was smart, wealthy, and even had an excellent well-respected job, but was not satisfied with all of his accomplishments. His overwhelming greed to best and own the best led him to make his pact with the devil. He was tempted with the ability to have whatever he desired.
“I’ll have them fly to India for gold, Ransack the ocean for orient pearl, And search all corners of the new-found world. For pleasure fruits and princely delicate. . .
. . . ” (Marlowe p.
6)Faustus had reached his height by selling himself to the devil. In receiving thepowers of magic that he desired he would be able to get the last of all the things that he was yet to achieve. Though Faustus believed his action ultimately led to his destruction. Thus his greed, pride, and denial all led this fool down the road of eternal damnation. Towards the end of his life, Faustus, began to realize the error of his ways.
This results in a series of attempts to repent. “When I behold the heavens, then I repent. And curse thee, wicked Mephistopheles, Because thou hast deprived me of those joys. ” (Marlowe p. 25)Though he possessed faith, he did not perform good works, which according to the Catholic church, are essential for salvation. Dr.
Faustus’s life ends with his sole request for gods forgiveness, as he waits in agony for the devils to bring him to his final damned fate.