Sunday, January 07, 2007
Faust Rewrite #4
The Historia Of Faustus
Dr. Faustus' Second Disputation with the Spirit
It was Vespers on the very same day, when the day was just beginning to dim and the twilight would not be far, that Faust summoned once more the gray friar into his chamber and asked the spirit what he, Faust, must do in order to command over him.
Once more the spirit appeared to offer his obedience and subservience in all things and without any conditions or limits, but only if Faust would tender certain articles to him in return. For such is the rhetoric of a devil: To offer all at any time and under any circumstances, and to pretend as though the thing comes with no price and no sacrifice and no effort, and to create the illusion that the thing is a gift given for no reason at all, and to make the recipient think: But why have struggled all this time through my life thinking that everything has a price and that I must work hard and suffer to get what I want and even then in many cases I will not get it, when all this time I needed merely ask this devil for the thing and he would give it to me without any effort of my own? And so as soon as the mere mortal begins to believe that he can receive a thing without paying for it, the devil mentions as if he had forgotten it, or as if it is hardly worth the mention, that there is indeed a small price, and by that time the foolish mortal is so consumed with greed for the thing he believes he can get for free that he is willing to pay any price, even the very price of his immortal soul.
And so it went between the devil and Faust on that afternoon: The devil in the guise of the gray friar promised that his desires would know no want if only the following, hardly mentionable small articles were surrendered by him unto the spirit:
"Firstly," spoke the spirit, "that you, Faust, should name a certain number of years at the expiration of which our pact will be reversed, and I will no longer be thy servant, but thou, Faust, will be my servant; you must promise and swear now that at that time you will become mine own property.
"Secondly, that you will confirm our agreement upon a writ to this effect authenticated in your own blood.
"Thirdly, that you will renounce the Christian faith, renounce the Christian God in all ways and defy and revile all believers in Him.
"Should you observe all these points, I will fulfill every lust of your heart and shall immediately transfer to you all the powers and privileges that I own to do with as you will."
Doktor Faust considered this for a short time, but even as he thought it over, he knew that his own pride, greed and arrogance would never allow him to resist such an offer, and he knew that the spirit knew this as well. So reckless and proud had he become that he could no longer even properly concentrate and imagine the worth of his own soul, which he knew he must lose, but instead created excuses in his own mind and said to himself:
"How do I know what my soul is really worth? How do I know that there is even such a thing as heaven and hell, or even god? For God has never revealed himself until me, but this devil has, is it not a surer thing than any fantasy I may have about a God and heaven I cannot know truly exists? I do not see God or Heaven before me, nor do I see Hell before me, but before me I do see a spirit that is willing to give me a specific, clearly defined thing for a price that is clearly set out beforehand. God has never made such an offer to me. On the contrary, all offers that come from God are unclear and difficult to understand, just as His commandments are difficult to follow and his precept are difficult to understand. This offer, however, is not only clear to understand, it is clearly of a high value."
And so Faust came to terms with the evil spirit.
To be continued…