Doctor Faustus

by: Christopher Marlowe

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 4

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss:
Her lips sucks forth my soul, see where it flies!
Come Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena!
         (12.8187)

These lines come from a speech that Faustus makes as he nears the end of his life and begins to realize the terrible nature of the bargain he has made. Despite his sense of foreboding, Faustus enjoys his powers, as the delight he takes in conjuring up Helen makes clear. While the speech marks a return to the eloquence that he shows early in the play, Faustus continues to display the same blind spots and wishful thinking that characterize his behavior throughout the drama. At the beginning of the play, he dismisses religious transcendence in favor of magic; now, after squandering his powers in petty, self-indulgent behavior, he looks for transcendence in a woman, one who may be an illusion and not even real flesh and blood. He seeks heavenly grace in Helen’s lips, which can, at best, offer only earthly pleasure. “[M]ake me immortal with a kiss,” he cries, even as he continues to keep his back turned to his only hope for escaping damnation—namely, repentance.