Dr. Turk’s comments: This is a good example of close analysis. The writer pays attention not only to what the character says, but also to his actions, or non-action, to make his conclusions about the character of Dr. Faustus.
Doctor Faustus' final soliloquy takes place during his last hour to live before his deal with the devil expires and he is carried off to spend eternity in hell. At this point, he has turned down every opportunity to repent of his sins and call on God to save him from eternal damnation. Faustus spends his last hour in wishful thoughts of ways to escape his impending doom. There is no repentance, though, and in the end, he is carried off to hell to spend eternity separated from God.
Faustus' soliloquy begins as the clock strikes eleven, pronouncing to Faustus that he has only one hour before his eternal punishment begins. Faustus knows his fate is at hand and begins his soliloquy by wishing that time would stand still so that midnight would never come or that the sun, "Fair Nature's eye," would rise again and make the day everlasting (XIII, 62). Faustus then moves from wishing that midnight wouldn't come altogether to merely wishing that his last hour would be stretched out to "A year, a month, a week, a natural day/ That Faustus may repent and save his soul" (XIII, 64-65). He spends his last hour wishing for more time to repent instead of using the time he already has to repent.
After giving up on the notion of obtaining more time, he then decides that he will look to God and acknowledges that one drop of Christ's blood can save him. Instead of calling on God to save him, though, he turns his attention back to the devi...
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...d for an escape when all he really needs to do is look upward. Lucifer does not send Faustus to hell, Faustus sends himself by not accepting the gift of salvation that God freely offers him right up until the end. In his final hour, Faustus comes to the realization that he is getting the short end of the deal he has made with the devil and how even all the power he had possessed is fleeting in the face of eternity. Faustus' final soliloquy is a realistic look inside the mind of someone who stands on the threshold of forever and knows his destination. After reading this, one should either rejoice that he or she will not have to face the same fate as Faustus, or recognize that he or she is walking the same road and repent.
Marlowe, Christopher Dr Faustus in ed. WB Worthen The Harcourt Brace Anthology of Drama, 2nd edn., Texas: Harcourt Brace 1996.
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