Faustus enters with the scholars from earlier. Faustus is in despair, as the end of his deal with Lucifer is approaching. Faustus laments his sins, and the scholars tell him to seek God's mercy. But Faustus answers that God cannot pardon him. He reveals that he has given away his soul for all the knowledge he has acquired. The scholars are horrified.
The scholars value knowledge just as Faustus does, but even they are horrified at what Faustus has sacrificed to get his knowledge and power. To them, Faustus' bargain was clearly a horrible deal. Like the Good Angel and the Old Man, they encourage him to repent.
Faustus explains that he wanted to go back on his deal, but Mephastophilis threatened to tear him to pieces. The scholars leave to go pray for Faustus. The clock strikes eleven and Faustus realizes he has one hour left to live. Faustus cries out and begs time to stand still and for the day not to end.
The scholars still think that Faustus may have a chance to repent. Faustus begs for time to stop—he's looking for some loophole in his deal—but still will not admit his mistake and ask for God's mercy. Is he simply too proud or foolish, or is he constrained by some force of fate?
Faustus cries to God for help, but at the name of God he feels pain in his heart (because he has given Lucifer his soul). He begs Lucifer to spare him, then asks the earth to gape open and save him from hell. He asks the stars to carry him up to the sky.
Faustus comes close to repenting, but feels pain at the very name of God. Perhaps it is too late for him, but it is also possible that he is not truly repenting. God is only one of many things he addresses, desperately seeking help.
The clock rings out: Faustus has half an hour left. He begs God for mercy and asks to be in hell a thousand or a hundred thousand years and then be saved, rather than being eternally damned. He curses Lucifer and himself. Midnight comes, and Faustus despairs. Devils enter and carry Faustus off as he continues to cry out, promising to burn his books.
Faustus now tries to strike a kind of deal with God, asking for salvation in return for time spent in hell, instead of openly and completely asking for mercy and giving himself to God. Whether he never really had a choice or whether his downfall was through his own will, he is ultimately damned. With his last line, he is even willing to burn his books, symbolically giving up his desire for learning and knowledge, but it is too late.