Doctor Faustus, A Reimagining

Master atheist and playwright, Kit Marlowe

ACT 1 Scene 1

The LORD:

Angels mighty and beautiful, whose glowing visage o’er the snowy firmament flames,hearken and hear. For aeons and aeons the earth has revolved her course, slowly but firmly, yet without one brave enough to vaunt up to heaven’s gates and see these chambers bright and fair. I am saddened so; yet in these last ten years I have noted, like the inexorable run of the stars I set in motion with My loving Hand, the progress of one scholar from Wittenberg. A Doctor Faust, learned in all matters terrestrial, but who yearns for the celestial.

The Angels: A GERMAN? Oy vey, oy vey, woe the day!

The LORD: Now Angels, don’t get ahead of yourselves. We have a few centuries before the German nation erupts. This is an honest, doctor, scholar and theologian. He seeks the Eternal! And I want to repay him for his sincere efforts. But he must face one more test.

Mephistopheles! O Mephistopheles! Come from your blackest cave, full of dunnest knaves. Arise, arise from your bed of worms and your carpet of thorns. Shake off your slumber within the deep, take a brisk jog to wave off your sleep. God Almighty calls.

Mephistopheles: (YAWN) Ah, if it ain’t Goddy god; Mephi’s the name, damnation is the game. What can I do for you, big man? Who’s the unlucky man to land on my frying pan? Who’s the scoundrel I need to burn, or the saint I need to learn. I can drop hellfire on a liar, or send a tempest as a jest. I can bind a brilliant mind, or twist a nasty cyst. I can provoke a mob to tear him to pieces, or down him in a sea of leeches. I can…

The Lord: Yes, Mephi, I know you can do much. Listen and hearken: Johann Wilhelm Faustus is the name. Do you know the man? I want you to tempt him with forbidden knowledge.

Mephistopheles: That buffoon? I think I read his “On God and the Angels” and wanted to flagellate myself. Well I’m not sure if those two were cause and effect;

Anyway, I accept the challenge. Before long I’ll have a necromancer strong. Darkness beats light, at least when I’m in the fight. Oh! You too holy mendicants and self-righteous peddlers, I’ll best you yet, I a dastardly meddler.

You won’t win this time Father.

The Lord: Good! Excellent! Perfect! The game is on. Angels, supplicate and guide Faustus.

Angels: We will do and we will listen.

ACT 1 Scene 2

Doctor Faustus:

I AM A GOD! Over tomes and tomes I have roamed, in ancient labyrinthine paths, beyond sight and sound, my science and art I have honed. Who can know the depths of despair I have fallen into, or the summits of serenity I have climbed. All is fleeting, all is secure. Contradiction upon contradiction, it all makes sense now. But yet I yearn for more, for more! Law, Philosophy, Poetry, Theology all I have conquered with a mighty mind and an open heart. What more is there God? (Raises hand to the sky) What more is there to do! I will do anything for it; I would sacrifice my own daughter for a taste of that holy water. I would burn my books for a minute of heavenly looks, I would pillage Rome for one more tome. God! God! God!

What’s that smoke over there coming from? It appears to be coming from out of nothing.

Mephistopheles: (appears from the smoke) Hello, hello dear Faustus. Perhaps you should ask me instead of God.

Faustus: Holy Fuck. Who are you?

Mephistopheles: I go by many names. King of the Discourteous, Lord of the Liars, Knight of Darkest Armor, and so and so forth. You can call me Mephi.

Faustus: Begone devil! I’ll none of you. PATER noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Mephistopheles: That’s quite a prayer. But, as I know you’re a man of reason and knowledge, I’d like to demonstrate something to you. Premise 1. You said the prayer. Premise 2. I didn’t disappear. Conclusion:Prayer has no effect.

Faustus: (blocking his ears and closing his eyes) PATER noster, qui es in caelis…PATER noster, qui es in caelis… (looks up, still sees Mephistopheles). I said go away!

Mephistopheles: Don’t you want to hear what I have to offer you?

Faustus: The Devil always asks for something in return.

Mephistopheles: You’re jumping ahead. I promise to teach you all the secrets of the universe, all of them. From the most hidden knowledge of the ant, to the concealed truths of the spheres.

Faustus: This can’t be happening. What would I even do with all that knowledge? No it’s too much for any one person.

Mephistopheles: I will teach you. Oh we will have so much fun!

Faustus: What’s the catch? What do I have to give you.

Mephistopheles: That much is simple, but it’s not that important. All I need from you is your soul.

Faustus: Let me think, in return for the entire corpus of man and divine knowledge I need to render my eternal soul, the only thing worth living for. For a demon you sure act like a businessman whose brain has been boxed in. I’m going to pass.

Mephistopheles: Sure, suit yourself. (disappears)

Faustus: Wait, wait… don’t go yet. I had so much to ask you.

This Mephi, as he called himself, holds the key to the knowledge I have sought all my life. And why is it that when I cry out my heart and soul to God for knowledge, he abandons me. Yes, just like he abandoned his Son on the cross. He leaves me, alone in the dark crying, crying. This is much to think on.

Writer, poet, philosopher