The climax of Doctor Faustus occurs in Scene 13 as Faustus laments his choices, verbally repenting of his actions and fervently begging for salvation even as he is dragged kicking and screaming off to hell. His ending speech is a moving soliloquy which showcases his desperation to escape damnation. On an otherwise barren stage, abandoned by the old man and left by the three scholars to face his fate alone, Faustus cries out into the emptiness, appealing first to God, then to Lucifer, then to God again for even a modicum of mercy:
If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul,
Yet for Christ’s sake, whose blood hath ransomed me,
Impose some end to my incessant pain.
Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,
A hundred thousand, and at last be saved.
This final soliloquy is the ultimate irony of the play: Faustus begins as a man wanting to attain the powers of a god, to own everything, and meets his end as a man wishing only for his soul to be “changed into little waterdrops”—in other words, into nothing at all. As the deadline of his doom approaches ever closer, Faustus experiences an emotional whirlwind as he begs, pleads, rages, and assigns blame, ultimately vowing to renounce magic. In the end, however, the audience is left to wonder whether Faustus’s final words of repentance are genuine, or just a last-ditch attempt to weasel his way out of hell.