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Doctor Faustus Summary

In the beginning Faustus, the main character, is unsatisfied with his studies. He feels that he has learned everything that is humanly possible. So he requested that his servant Wagner to go get Valdes and Cornelius to help teach him the ways of magic. Before they arrive Faustus is confronted by a Good Angel and an Evil Angel who try to persuade him to take either the side with God or with Satan. When the two men arrive Faustus explains that he is going to try to conjure something at night. In the next scene two scholars from the university find Wagner and ask him where Faustus is.

He tells them that Faustus is eating with Valdes and Cornelius. The scholars fear for Faustus because they know the two men are evil and they decide to go talk to the rector to see if he can reclaim Faustus before it’s too late. Faustus casts a spell and Mephistophilis appears in a hideous form. Faustus tells him to go away and come back in the shape of a friar. Faustus is proud that he has the power to call forth a demon but Mephistophilis explains that he did not come because Faustus requested, instead he came because Faustus renounced the Trinity.

Faustus asks Mephistophilis how it is that he has left hell. Mephistophilis explains that he hasn’t left hell because hell is where ever God is not. Faustus then tells Mephistophilis to go tell Lucifer that he will give away his soul to him in exchange for anything he wants for the next twenty-four years. Wagner finds Robin the clown and tells him if he doesn’t become his servant then he will have thousands of lice tear him apart. He also summons Belcher, a devil, to help Robin with his decision. Robin decides to be Wagner servant for seven years. Faustus is alone in his study.

The Bad Angel and Good Angel appear again to try to persuade him to one of their sides. Faustus ends up thinking unholy thoughts about the wealth that he will have. Then Mephistophilis appears and says that Lucifer will agree to the terms in the contract. Faustus begins to sign the contract and is interrupted by two signs while doing so but still ends up signing it. Faustus then requests a wife and Mephistophilis talks him out of it by explaining to him that marriage is only ceremonial and that he will give Faustus a new woman to wake up next to every morning if he wants.

Later Faustus and Mephistophilis are back in the study and Faustus starts thinking again about heaven. He gets so upset that he renounces Mephistophilis and the magic he has given him. The two angels enter again; the Good telling him to repent and the Bad telling him it’s already too late. Faustus become very afraid and begins to ask Jesus for help. Lucifer instantly shows up with Beelzebub and Mephistophilis to calm him down. Lucifer shows Faustus the seven deadly sins and Faustus again forgets about Jesus. Later when everyone is gone Robin enters with one of Faustus conjuring books and tries to do a spell for Dick.

Faustus decides to go see the Pope. Mephistophilis makes Faustus invisible. Faustus starts playing pranks on the Pope and the friars. They end up hitting the Pope and the friars and throwing fireworks of them. Later an emperor asks Faustus to perform some of his magic for him. One of the emperor’s knights makes fun of Faustus and doubts his abilities. Faustus makes a vision of Alexander and his paramour. He also puts horns on the head of the knight. After the emperor is amazed he asks that Faustus remove the horns and he does. Some men talk later about what Faustus has done to them.

A carter offered Faustus all the hay he could eat for a small price. Faustus ate the entire load of hay. Robin’s face was turned into an ape’s face. The horse-courser bought a horse off of Faustus that turned into hay when it was ridden in water. The man was so upset he went to Faustus’ house to demand his money back. He found Faustus asleep and tried to wake him by pulling his leg. He tore Faustus’ leg completely off. Faustus then is in a court talking with a duke and duchess. He asks her what she desires. After she tells him he has Mephistophilis fetch some grapes.

The duke and duchess are amazed because it is the middle of winter. Some of the people Faustus has played tricks on enter and start threatening him. He charms them all dumb. Wagner enters and explains his master will die soon. Faustus comes in with two scholars talking about the most beautiful women in the world. Faustus brings in Helen and the two scholars leave. An old man enters and tries to talk Faustus into asking God for forgiveness. Mephistophilis comes in and says that if Faustus accepts God he will tear his flesh from his bones.

This scares Faustus so much he again signs a contract in his own blood. Faustus tells the scholars about his deal with the devil and sends them away into the next room. In his last hour he seems to count every second that goes by until the demons finally come up, tear off his limbs, and drag him to hell. The central conflict lies within Faustus. Through the entire play he is torn between his desires and what is right. This makes Faustus both the protagonist and antagonist. The climax of the play is in his last hour right as the demons are coming to snatch him up.

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