[[caption-width-right:344:Veni, veni, Mephistophile!]]

So you're a doctor in [[UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance post-medieval]] [[UsefulNotes/HolyRomanEmpire Germany]] who's getting tired of the dreary drudgery of everyday life. What to do when saving the lives of your patients no longer brings you a feeling of satisfaction and joy? Why, turn to [[BlackMagic satanic magic]] and [[DealWithTheDevil summon a devil]] to use as your own personal slave, of course! [[EvilIsNotAToy We're sure you can guess what happens next.]]

''The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus'' is 16th-century English playwright Creator/ChristopherMarlowe's take on the classic legend of {{Faust}}, or, as he calls him, Dr. John Faustus. Marlowe, who in his own time was considered something of a rebel and an atheist (which is to say, someone who did not practise the faith exactly as the law said it should be practised; the word could apply to someone who was simply sceptical of the scripture as it was given, someone who blasphemed, or even a Catholic), represents Faustus as a typically Renaissance figure, seeking above all things knowledge -- and the expansion of personal wealth and power that knowledge brings. His play is the first version of the story to present the central figure as a character who is somehow magnificent even in the midst of his crimes, exactly because his desires have no limits.

Perhaps the best known part of this play is the famous invocation of Helen of Troy (or, as Faustus calls her, "Helen of Greece"):

-->''Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,\\
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?--\\
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.--''

This play is the TropeNamer for LauncherOfAThousandShips. See also {{Faust}} for further information, including versions of the story by other authors.

!! Christopher Marlowe's ''Doctor Faustus'' contains examples of the following tropes:

* AFormYouAreComfortableWith: Faustus cannot stand Mephistopheles' initial appearance (which isn't specified beyond calling it "too ugly"), ordering him to vanish and reappear in the form of a Franciscan monk.
* AltumVidetur: Faustus frequently quotes Latin phrases and [[AsTheGoodBookSays Bible quotes]] either poorly or completely out of context.
* BadassNormal: Faustus [[UnreliableNarrator claims]] to have cured plagues ''before'' making his pact with the devil.
%%* BlackMagic
%%* BreakTheHaughty
* ButtDialingMordor: Though Faustus himself knows exactly what he's getting into when he starts summoning demons, ThoseTwoGuys that serve him don't. They're larking around, mimicking Faustus's incantations more as a joke than anything else, and end up summoning Mephistopheles himself. Needless to say, he's not happy at all and they get [[BalefulPolymorph transfigured into animals]].
%%* ByronicHero
* ChronicVillainy: Faustus ''almost'' repents frequently throughout the play, but keeps convincing himself that he's too far gone, even when ''an angel'' tells him otherwise. Even as he's about to be sent to Hell for eternity, Faustus [[TooDumbToLive makes a speech begging to be given more time to live so he can repent, even though he could easily just repent then and there and save himself.]]
* ComedicSociopathy: The sequence where Faustus uses his diabolical powers to prank people is both cruel and funny.
* DealWithTheDevil: The TropeCodifier; Faustus sells his soul to Lucifer in exchange for having Mephistopheles at his command.
* DownerEnding: Faustus refuses to see the error of his ways, then dies and goes to Hell for all eternity.
* EvilIsNotAToy: You made a DealWithTheDevil to have magic powers in exchange for taking your soul in a few short years... really, why act surprised? [[WhatAnIdiot What did you THINK was going to happen?]]
* EvilIsPetty: Faustus gains great demonic power and immediately.... punches the Pope. This is the point, Faustus gains great power at a horrific cost and squanders it all away, showing that the problem is not the lack of knowledge or ability but the man wielding it.
* EvilMakesYouUgly: Mephistopheles implies that Lucifer before his fall was superhumanly beautiful, but the first thing Faustus does upon seeing the present-day Lucifer is ask "Who are you that look so terrible?"
* EvilVirtues: Both Faustus and Mephistopheles have a defining one:
** Faustus is filled with '''[[AmbitionIsEvil Ambition]]''' to a fault. His primary reason for his interest in dark magic is because he refuses to accept any limitation on what he can know or do. It doesn't work out.
** Mephistopheles displays a surprising amount of '''[[NobleDemon Honor]]'''. He keeps his bargain to the letter, giving Faustus everything that he promises, without even invoking ExactWords. He even tries to talk Faustus out of the deal, pointing out that if he, a demon, exists, then it's likely that God and Hell also exist and thus Faustus would be making a horrible mistake to take Faustus up on the offer, though he concedes when Faustus points out that one part of a story being true does not prove any other parts true.
** Mephistopheles also has a great deal of '''Loyalty'''. He obeys Lucifer's call consistently and without hesitation, and holds no resentment despite being well aware that Lucifer is responsible for his inability to partake in the infinite joys of Heaven. He doesn't even have any selfish reasons for helping Lucifer-he simply has no desire to defy his master.
* FalseReassurance: Mephistopheles is totally honest, but his words (the famous "why this is hell" speech) are vague enough that Faustus can stupidly interpret them however he wants to.
* FlamingDevil: Mephistopheles' interaction with Faust contains a fair amount of implied homosexuality on the former's part (such as Mephisto stating that Heaven "is not so fair as [Faustus] or any man that breathes on earth"). Stage productions sometimes turn the subtext into text.
* FlatEarthAtheist: Despite just summoning a demon from Hell and proceeding to sell his immortal soul to the Devil, Faustus insists to Mephistophiles' annoyance that Hell and damnation are metaphorical.
* GetTheeToANunnery: Tons and tons. One of the minor characters mentions that he'd use magic to transform into a flea and crawl into women's plackets, quite literally slits in skirts.
* AGodAmI: Faustus says, "A sound magician is a mighty god."
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Marlowe actually calls the characters Good Angel and Bad Angel in the script.
* HealingFactor: Part of Faustus's deal with the devil. In one version, he regrows a torn-off leg and a severed head.
* IdiotBall: After being humiliated by Faustus, the knight Benvolio gets a group of knights together to get revenge. Against the scholar with a demon slave and all the powers of Hell. It goes about as well as you'd expect. Faustus more than qualifies as well (see Badass Normal, Informed Ability, and Misapplied Phlebotinum).
* InformedAbility: You'd think a so-called genius like Faustus could come up with more intelligent uses for his powers than pranks and shows.
%%* KidWithTheLeash: Even though he's an adult.
%%* MagicIsEvil
* MeaningfulName: The demon Faust summons is originally called "Mephostophiles", which is Greek for "Not A Lover of Light". Goethe would later change the name to Mephistophiles, as Mephis is a medical term for extremely bad breath, and "tophiles" sounds like "Teufel", the German word for devil, ultimately making his name [[PunnyName Smelly-Breathed Devil]].
* MisappliedPhlebotinum: Faustus uses Mephisto's phenomenal cosmic powers to pull pranks and get women.
* MundaneUtility: Sure, Faustus has the powers of hell at his disposal, but most of the time he uses it to... make fun of the pope? Get fresh grapes in winter for his lady friend?
%%* NobleDemon: You could make an argument for Mephistopheles.
* {{Pride}}: Faust suffers heavily from hubris. In true Greek style, Faust rejects and questions God, angels and devils thinking himself better and more learned than them
* ReligionIsWrong: The story has Mephistopheles and Hell, but Faustus begins the drama by rejecting religion and Mephistopheles implies that hell and damnation means something different from how Christianity has conceived it.
* SelfInflictedHell: In this particular adaptation, Faustus truly believes there's no way to repent for his sins, despite ''freaking angels'' telling him otherwise. In some versions however, Mephistopheles gloats how he tricked Faustus into going too far to repent.
* SevenDeadlySins: Faustus meets them in AnthropomorphicPersonification form at the beginning.
* SpecialPersonNormalName: Faustus's first name is [[DramaticPause ...]] John.
* SummoningRitual: The play features a scene in which Faust summons Mephistopheles from Hell.
* SycophanticServant: When Faustus is considering rescinding on their bargain, Satan appears to parade the Sins before him and ask whether they're delightful. [[YesMan Faustus agrees, emphatically, that they are]]. Because, under the circumstances, disagreeing would be a terminally bad idea.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Mephistopheles, ironically, seems to be one of the sanest and most honest characters in the entire play. Not to mention his "Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it" speech.
* ThirdPersonPerson: Faustus.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Faustus' students, who provide much of the plays comic relief by using their teacher's magic to [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatPerks dick around]].
* TooCleverByHalf: Faustus' brilliance ends up working against him as he essentially tricks himself into accepting Mephistopheles' deal
* WouldHurtAChild: Before summoning Mephistopheles, Faustus mentions how he would build an altar and church to sacrifice newborns to Beelzebub on. It's unclear if he would actually do it, however.