Good Angel. O Faustus, lay that damnèd book aside And gaze not on it lest it tempt thy soul And heap God’s heavy wrath upon thy head! Read, read the Scriptures—that is blasphemy! Bad Angel. Go forward Faustus, in that famous art Wherein all nature’s treasure is contained. Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky, Lord and commander of these elements!
The Good Angel and Bad Angel represent characters in this play as they symbolize the divided will of Faustus’s conscience. In these lines at the beginning of the play, the Good Angel and Bad Angel go back and forth, each providing counterarguments and contradicting directives to Faustus. The Good Angel tries to convince Faustus to avoid the devil’s book and read only Scripture, while the Bad Angel provides reasons why moving toward evil will benefit Faustus.
Bad Angel. Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art. Good Angel. Sweet Faustus, leave that execrable art. Faustus. Contrition, prayer, repentance, what of these? Good Angel. O, they are means to bring thee unto heaven. Bad Angel. Rather illusions, fruits of lunacy; That make men foolish that do use them most.
The Good Angel and Bad Angel’s back-and-forth dialogue continues as they represent Faustus’s thinking as he contemplates sin versus redemption. In these lines, the Good Angel connects with Medieval thought as he encourages Faustus to repent and go back to God. Meanwhile, the Bad Angel represents the Renaissance individual as he tells Faustus that prayer is just an illusion so he should move forward toward Lucifer.
Good Angel. Faustus, repent: yet God will pity thee! Bad Angel. Thou art a spirit: God cannot pity thee! Faustus. Who buzzeth in mine ears I am a spirit? Be I a devil, yet God may pity me— Yea, God will pity me if I repent. Bad Angel. Ay, but Faustus never shall repent.
Here, the Good Angel and the Bad Angel go back and forth with Faustus once again. However, these lines end with the Bad Angel declaring that Faustus will not repent. Since the Good Angel and Bad Angel represent Faustus’s thinking, this line confirms that evil is winning the battle for Faustus’s soul. Soon after these lines are spoken, Faustus admits that he cannot repent, proving the Bad Angel’s prediction or perhaps merely following the Bad Angel’s suggestion.
Good Angel. O Faustus, if thou hadst given ear to me Innumerable joys had followèd thee. But thou did’st love the world. Bad Angel. Gave ear to me, And now must taste hell’s pains perpetually. Good Angel. O, what will all thy riches, pleasures, pomps Avail thee now? Bad Angel. Nothing but vex thee more, To want in hell, that had on earth such store.
In the final act of the play, the Good Angel and Bad Angel represent and give voice to Faustus’s regret and second-guessing as he approaches his final damnation in Hell. While the Good Angel reminds Faustus of the joys he lost by giving up god, both the Good Angel and the Bad Angel question Faustus on how the riches, fame, and power will help him now. The angels basically present Faustus with his moral lesson.
Good Angel. . . . And now, poor soul, must thy good angel leave thee, The jaws of hell are open to receive thee. Bad Angel. Now Faustus, let thine eyes with horror stare Into that vast perpetual torture-house . . . Nay, thou must feel them, taste the smart of all: He that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall. And so I leave thee Faustus, till anon: Then wilt thou tumble in confusion.
As the play concludes, the Good Angel’s and Bad Angel’s back-and-forth ends as the Good Angel concedes the loss of Faustus’s soul. In these lines, the Bad Angel also tells Faustus that he must prepare for hell by looking at the tortured, fallen souls before him. In the end and despite the Good Angel’s best efforts, the Bad Angel wins Faustus’s soul, symbolizing how Faustus finally accepts his dark fate.
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