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

So you're a doctor in [[TheRenaissance post-medieval]] [[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, 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 an AntiHero, 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, of course, 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:

* AerithAndBob Justified. Humans have plain names (Robin, John), and demons [[CaptainObvious do not]].
* 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.
* AntiHero: In fact a ByronicHero, 200 years before Byron.
* BadassNormal: Faustus [[UnreliableNarrator claims]] to have cured plagues ''before'' making his pact with the devil.
* BlackMagic
* DealWithTheDevil: Pretty much the story's entire plot, and quite possibly the TropeCodifier.
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: Okay, so the moral is: if you deal with the devil, things will not end well for you. But, boy–it does look like it might be fun to have all the forces of darkness at your disposal for a little while, doesn't it?
* DownerEnding
* 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?]]
* FalseReassurance: Mephistopheles is totally honest, but his words (the famous "why this is hell" speech) are vague enough that Faust 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.
* AGodAmI: Faustus says, "A sound magician is a mighty god."
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Marlowe actually calls the characters Good Angel and Bad Angel in the script.
* 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.
* 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.
* NobleDemon: You could make an argument for Mephistopheles.
* 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?
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Arguably.
* 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: Faustus. When Faustus is considering rescinding on their bargain Satan appears before him and parades the Sins in front of him and asks him aren't these so delightful and [[YesMan Faustus agrees emphatically]] (as in "please don't kill me") always agree with the scariest person in the room.
* 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]].
* 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.