Doctor Faustus


Christopher Marlowe

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Blood Symbol Icon
Mephastophilis is very clear that Lucifer will only make a deal with Faustus if he signs a formal deed of gift signed with his own blood. Faustus' blood thus symbolizes some true essence of himself, which Lucifer desires as a sign of his commitment. When Faustus tries to sign the agreement, the blood congeals, and Faustus interprets this as a sign that his own body is reluctant to make the bargain with Lucifer. As Faustus' death draws near and he considers repenting, he says that a single drop of Christ's blood would save him. Christ's blood also serves as a symbolic guarantee of a bargain, though a holy one in contrast to that between Lucifer and Faustus. Christ's blood is shed through his crucifixion, the sacrifice by which Jesus redeemed mankind's sins. While the imagery of blood is thus an important symbol throughout the play, there is also a tension between blood as a physical part of Faustus' body, of which he is aware (he fears devils tearing his flesh and causing him pain), and blood as a symbol of someone's inner essence or soul, which Faustus entirely neglects.

Blood Quotes in Doctor Faustus

The Doctor Faustus quotes below all refer to the symbol of Blood. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Scene 5 Quotes

But Faustus, thou must bequeath it solemnly,
And write a deed of gift with thine own blood,
For that security craves great Lucifer. (34-36)

Related Characters: Mephastophilis (speaker), Doctor Faustus, Lucifer
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 2.1.34-36
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene 12 Quotes

Ah stay, good Faustus, stay thy desperate steps!
I see an angel hovers o'er thy head
And with a vial full of precious grace
Offers to pour the same into thy soul!
Then call for mercy, and avoid despair. (42-47)

Related Characters: Old Man (speaker), Doctor Faustus
Related Symbols: The Good and Evil Angels, Blood
Page Number: 5.1.52-56
Explanation and Analysis:

Sweet Mephastophilis, entreat thy lord
To pardon my unjust presumption;
And with my blood again I will confirm
My former vow I made to Lucifer. (60-63)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker), Mephastophilis, Lucifer
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 5.1.70-73
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene 13 Quotes

On God, whom Faustus hath blasphemed? Ah my God—I would weep, but the devil draws in my tears! gush forth blood, instead of tears—yea, life and soul! O, he stays my tongue! I would lift up my hands, but see, they hold them, they hold them! (27-31)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker)
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 5.2.28-33
Explanation and Analysis:

O I'll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down?
See, see where Christ's blood streams in the firmament!
One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah my Christ. (69-71)

Related Characters: Doctor Faustus (speaker)
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 5.2.73-75
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Doctor Faustus LitChart as a printable PDF.
Doctor Faustus PDF

Blood Symbol Timeline in Doctor Faustus

The timeline below shows where the symbol Blood appears in Doctor Faustus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 5
The Bargain Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...Lucifer has accepted the deal, and that Faustus must sign an agreement with his own blood to finalize the deal. (full context)