Part Eight

Listen to the audio and read the text below – The Tragedy of Dr Faustus

The Tragedy of Dr Faustus

Part Eight

The twenty-four years of the contract were now nearly over. Faustus and Mephostophilis returned to Wittenberg once again. Faustus’ servant, Wagner, sensed that a great change was coming, but he did not understand what was really happening to his master. He just knew that Faustus had made a will. ‘He’s left everything to me!’ the servant said to himself in wonder. ‘But if he thinks he’s going to die soon, why does he go on entertaining people, and laughing and joking?’

The servant shook his head sadly. There were things about Faustus that he could not understand, even after all these years of serving him.

One evening Faustus invited two old friends from the university to dine with him. The two scholars were delighted with the dinner he gave them and they were pleased to see that Faustus had lost none of his old wit and intelligence. Soon the conversation turned to the great beauties of the classical1 world.

‘Faustus,’ said one of the scholars, ‘we’ve all read about Helen of Troy. We know that she was the most beautiful woman of her time. Can you use your powers to make her appear before us? We’d like to see for ourselves this wonder of the ancient world!’

Faustus smiled at his old friends.

‘Of course I can,’ he said gently. ‘I’ll make her appear for you.’

He gave a quick signal to Mephostophilis and the room was suddenly full of music. A few minutes passed and then they saw Helen appear. The two scholars were amazed.

1 classical:古希腊或古罗马的。

‘I can’t describe such beauty,’ one of the scholars said.

‘I’m not surprised the Greeks fought a ten-year war for this woman,’ the other scholar said. ‘She’s the most beautiful woman one could imagine.’

Soon afterwards the two scholars thanked Faustus for his hospitality1 and went home. He sat by himself for a while, thinking about the agreement he had made with Lucifer. His thoughts were somber2 and grim. Suddenly an old man entered the study.

‘Give up this magic,’ the old man said gently. ‘Give it all up, Faustus, and turn to God. You’ve been a wicked man, but if you continue you’ll become a devil. Give it up, Faustus, and repent!’
Faustus looked at the old man in despair.

‘It’s too late,’ he replied quietly. ‘My soul is damned. I can’t do anything about it now. I can only die now.’

Mephostophilis handed Faustus a dagger.

‘Hell is calling me,’ Faustus went on. ‘My time is nearly finished.’ Faustus pointed the dagger at his heart.

‘Stop!’ the old man cried. ‘Don’t give in to despair. You mustn’t think you’re too wicked for God to save you — that sin of despair is the worst of all! I can see an angel above your head, Faustus. Ask the angel for forgiveness. It’s not too late.’

The old man’s words gave Faustus hope.

‘Let me think about what you’ve told me,’ he said. ‘Give me some time to think about my sins.’

‘I’ll leave you then,’ the old man agreed, ‘but I’m afraid for you, Faustus.’ Faustus sat in the study, thinking hard. He repented his agreement with Lucifer, but he knew there was one sin that he could not overcome.

1 hospitality:热情好客。
2 somber:忧郁的.

‘The old man is right,’ he told himself. ‘This despair of mine is just pride. I know that, but I can’t change myself. Heaven and hell are fighting inside me!’

Suddenly Mephostophilis became very angry and began threatening Faustus.

‘You’re going against our agreement,’ he raged. ‘You should be thinking about hell and not about saving your soul. I’ll tear you to pieces, Faustus!’

Faustus looked at Mephostophilis in horror. He was terrified of what Lucifer and his devils would do to him if he made them angry.

‘Forgive me, Mephostophilis,’ he begged. ‘I won’t do it again, I promise.’

Mephostophilis did not say anything, but continued glaring1 fiercely at Faustus.

‘I didn’t mean it, really I didn’t,’ Faustus cried desperately. ‘Please tell Lucifer I didn’t mean it. Tell him I’ll even write another letter confirming our agreement. I’ll write it in blood, like I did before, shall I?’

‘Perhaps you should,’ Mephostophilis agreed.

‘Don’t hurt me,’ Faustus pleaded2.’Hurt that old man who came here and talked to me about repentance3. He’s the one to blame, not me!’

Mephostophilis smiled at Faustus.

‘The old man? I can’t do anything to hurt his soul because his faith4 is very strong – but I can hurt his body!’

Faustus was very relieved5 that Mephostophilis’ anger was turning away from him to another victim.

1 glaring:怒目而视。
2 pleaded:再三恳求。
3 repentance:悔改。
4 faith:信仰。
5 relieved:减轻痛苦。

‘One last thing I ask of you, old friend,’ he now said. ‘Make Helen return here as my lover. Her beauty will stop these dark thoughts of mine.’ Mephostophilis grinned at Faustus. He knew that this latest wish was a terrible sin, and he relished1 the idea of Faustus losing his soul.

Soon the spirit of Helen of Troy appeared in the study. Faustus gazed at her in wonder and awe.
‘Come to me, Helen,’ he said, ‘and let me kiss you.’

The spirit of Helen embraced Faustus.

‘Your kisses take my immortal2 soul,’ he breathed softly. ‘Look where it flies away from me. Kiss me again and give me back my soul!’

The old man entered the study again and stood watching Faustus and Helen sorrowfully3.
‘Now you are really damned, Faustus,’ he said angrily. ‘You’ve driven heaven away from you by this wickedness.’

Some of Lucifer’s devils now entered the study in terrifying shapes. They stood around the old man, trying to frighten him.

‘My faith is stronger than you,’ the old man told them contemptuously.

‘You can’t hurt me —God will always protect me.’

1 relished:欢喜。
2 immortal:不死的。
3 sorrowfully:悲伤的

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