The Tragedy of Dr Faustus
That evening two scholars from the university walked past Dr Faustus’ house.
‘I wonder what’s happened to Dr Faustus?’ one of the scholars said.
‘There’s his servant,’ the other scholar replied, pointing to someone in the street. ‘Let’s ask him, shall we?’ The two men stopped Wagner.
‘Where’s your master?’ one of them asked.
‘He’s in the house, having dinner with Valdes and Cornelius,’ Wagner replied.
One of the scholars sighed.
‘I was afraid of this,’ he said sadly. ‘It looks as if Faustus has decided to take up magic. Valdes and Cornelius are famous for their love of magic!’
‘Let’s talk to the rector1 of the university,’ his friend suggested. ‘He may be able to warn Faustus not to do it.’
‘We can try, but I don’t think it’ll do any good.’
The two scholars walked away sadly. They did not like to think that their friend had taken up such a dangerous interest.
A while later Valdes and Cornelius came out of the house. They had kept their promise. They had told Faustus everything they knew about magic and they had given him some books and
After saying goodbye to the two men, Faustus ran eagerly back into his study. He closed the door behind him. He drew a circle on the floor of the study and wrote various magic names inside it. He also drew stars on the floor. He then picked up the book that Valdes and Cornelius had left behind and began to read aloud from it. He was trying to make a spirit appear before him.
At first nothing happened. Then Faustus heard a terrible noise of thunder. He went on reading aloud and a devil suddenly appeared in the room. Faustus was so surprised that he nearly dropped the book. He was thrilled1 at his success, however, and he decided to see if the devil would do what he ordered.
‘Go away!’ he commanded. ‘You’re too ugly to appear in front of me. Go away and come back in the form of a Franciscan friar.’
The devil, whose name was Mephostophilis, bowed courteously2 and disappeared. A few minutes later he returned to the study.
Once again he bowed politely to Dr Faustus.
‘What do you want me to do?’ Mephostophilis asked.
‘I command you to obey me during my life,’ Faustus ordered. ‘You must do whatever I tell you to.’
‘I am Lucifer’s servant,’ Mephostophilis replied. ‘I can only obey you if he tells me to.’
This was not what Faustus had expected.
‘But didn’t Lucifer send you to me just now?’ he asked.
‘No,’ Mephostophilis said quietly. ‘I came here because I wanted to.’
‘But I summoned3 you!’ Faustus said angrily. ‘You came because of my magic. That’s the truth, isn’t it?’
‘I came because I heard you cursing God4,’ Mephostophilis said. ‘When we devils hear someone doing that, we always come. It’s a chance for us, you see. A person who curses God is in danger of damnation.’
4 cursing God:诅咒上帝。
‘Tell me about Lucifer,’ Faustus ordered. ‘He was an angel once, wasn’t he?’
‘Yes, he was,’ Mephostophilis said quietly, ‘and God loved him. But Lucifer was proud you see, and God threw him into hell.’
‘What about you?’ Faustus wanted to know. ‘What about you and all the other devils?’
‘We were angels, too,’ Mephostophilis admitted. ‘We joined Lucifer when he rebelled against God. We are damned with Lucifer in hell.’
‘But you’re not in hell now,’ Faustus objected. ‘You’re free! You can walk around.’ Mephostophilis smiled contemptuously at Faustus.
‘This is hell,’ he informed him. ‘I was an angel once and I saw the face of God. I knew all the delights4 of heaven. Of course this is hell!’
‘I have a message for Lucifer,’ Faustus told Mephostophilis. ‘Go and tell him that I am ready to give him my soul. Tell him that he must give me twenty-four years of life in exchange for it. During those twenty-four years Lucifer must give me everything I ask for. Tell him that I want you to be my servant during those twenty-four years.’
‘I’ll tell him,’ Mephostophilis agreed.
‘Bring me his answer later tonight,’ Faustus commanded. Mephostophilis made a courteous bow before he disappeared.
Faustus was very excited. He could hardly wait for Mephostophilis to come back. He began dreaming about what he would do once Lucifer had agreed to his offer. How everybody would wonder at1 him if he could control the spirits! What things he could learn! He would astonish2 the whole world with his learning and his cleverness!
1 wonder at:羡慕。
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