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Scene 3: A Grove Notes from Dr. Faustus

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Dr. Faustus Scene 3: A Grove

At a grove, Faustus begins his incantations. He draws a circle, writes the names of holy saints in different sequences, and analyzes the movement of the stars and planets. He offers spells that profane the name of Jehovah and the cross in hopes of conjuring the devil, Mephistophilis. Indeed, Mephistophilis appears, but Faustus is disgusted by his hideous appearance. He orders it to go away and change into the form of a Franciscan friar before returning. When Mephistophilis goes away, Faustus is proud that he has made a devil obey his very words. He commends himself for his powers and skills.

Topic Tracking: Hubris 4

Mephistophilis re-enters and asks what he can do. Faustus asks Mephistophilis to be his servant, to do whatever he commands. Mephistophilis replies that he is servant only to the great Lucifer; he cannot do anything without his master's permission. Faustus wonders, had not Lucifer sent Mephistophilis to him. And was it not Faustus' incantations that caused Mephistophilis to appear? Mephistophilis answers that he came not necessarily because of the spells, but from having heard Faustus blaspheme the name of God. Mephistophilis explains:

"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 damn'd:
Therefore the shortest cut for conjuring
Is stoutly to abjure the
Trinity,
And pray devoutly to the Prince of Hell."
Scene 3, pg. 12-13

Faustus is undaunted. He professes his allegiance to Belzebub and his indifference to hell. Instead, he desires to rise above the trivial lives of men. He asks about Lucifer, the commander of all spirits, and it is revealed that he was once a dearly loved angel of God, but fell because of his "aspiring pride and insolence" for which God cast him from heaven (p. 14). Mephistophilis is one of the angels who conspired with Lucifer and was damned to hell. Faustus asks how Mephistophilis is now outside of hell. In a rare moment of soul-baring, Mephistophilis acknowledges that he is constantly in a state of hell, which is far inferior to the bliss of heaven. Mephistophilis even tries to dissuade Faustus from his demands, but to no avail. Faustus challenges Mephistophilis to be as courageous as he is in defying God. Faustus then gives this message for Mephistophilis to take back to Lucifer: His very own soul in exchange for twenty-four years of the devil's service to him. When Mephistophilis leaves, Faustus imagines himself ruling the world. While he waits to hear back from Mephistophilis, Faustus thinks about magic.

Topic Tracking: Sin & Repentance 3
Topic Tracking: Hubris 5

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