Its Never Too Late Essay, Research Paper
Could Faustus have saved his soul had he repented to God before facing his impending damnation? Coming from a Christian upraising and parochial schooling, I would have to think that Faustus could have saved himself. I was always under the assumption that sincere repentance could be given at any time in one s life for salvation. God is not an angry and merciless being. Being born with original sin, salvation may be gained no matter what the faults of any mortal. In fact, Christ taught of love and forgiveness to those who sinned, some of who ultimately repented; Christ even taught of compassion for those who didn t know any better. In Marlowe s story, God s willingness to accept Faustus s faults is seen voiced through the character of the Good Angel: Faustus repent, yet God will pity thee! (Scene 5, ll 186). (The word yet here means: still, even now) Even after Faustus had renounced God, conjured up evil spirits, and signed his soul away to the devil in a contract of his own blood, God was still willing to accept his penance, and, as the Good Angel put it, take pity on him.
At the hour of his time of death, though, had Faustus waited too long for God to accept his plea of forgiveness? Faustus obviously contemplates the idea of repenting and whether or not he wishes to, but in this instance, it seems more ego-centric; he wants to repent in order to have more time on earth. Let this hour be but/ A year, a month, a week, a natural day,/ That Faustus may repent and save his soul (Scene 13, ll 61-63). Yes, Faustus does want to save his soul, but even stronger than that is his desire to not leave the earth, his body, or his riches and placement in life. We also see later his willingness to repent to God, but his ultimate fear (the ego) is reflected in doing so.
The devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.
O, I ll leap up to my God! Who pulls me down?
See, see where Christ s blood stream in the firmament!
One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah my Christ
Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ;
Yet will I call on him O spare me, Lucifer!
Where is it now? Tis gone: and see where God
Stretcheth out his arm, and bends his ireful brows!
Mountains and hills, come, come and fall on me,
And hide me from the heavy wrath of God. (Scene 13, ll66-75)
Here, Faustus does not believe that even if he does repent God will carry him into salvation. He is afraid of what God might say, or do if he were to ask for forgiveness. So in the end, Faustus decides to claim Lucifer as his God and not to repent to Christ.
Faustus was definitely wrong in his assessment of God as an unforgiving being. Marlowe shows earlier, before his death, that repentance would have indeed saved his soul. Faustus contemplates repenting and asks if it is too late, Good Angel: Never too late, if Faustus will repent. (Scene 5, ll 250). All Faustus had to do was repent and his death may come, but his soul would be saved. Never is it too late!
So to answer the question, Would Faustus had been saved had he repented at the hour of his damnation? Yes! Everyman s fate lie in his own hands as did Faustus s; repent and enjoy the eternal heavens or do nothing and endure the horrors of hell forever. It s a shame Faustus thought it a lost cause to repent at the moments before his death, because, after all, It s never too late.