Following Faustus’s introductory soliloquy, he is visited by the magicians Cornelius and Valdes, who are pleased to learn that Faustus intends to take their advice and study the necromantic arts. Eager to assure Valdes that his determination to attain riches and glory through the practice of magic is no mere passing, superficial desire, Faustus professes his commitment in an instance of dramatic irony:
Valdes, as resolute am I in this
As thou to live. Therefore object it not.
This quote functions as an example of dramatic irony because while the audience knows from the start that the play will end in tragedy and death (the full title of the play is The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus), Faustus himself does not. Faustus tells Cornelius and Valdes that his desire to study magic is as strong as their desire (and his own) to live. However, it is this very same desire which leads him to sign away the majority of his life in exchange for a mere 24 years, along with his eternal soul. The audience is aware that practicing magic is a surefire way to damnation, and on some level, Faustus must know, too—but he still seems unaware of just how close all three of them are to effectively losing their lives.