"Resolve me of all ambiguities": Doctor Faustus and the Failure to Unify
Sheffield Hallam University
Andrew Duxfield. " 'Resolve me of all ambiguities': Doctor Faustus and the Failure to Unify". Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 16 (October, 2007) 7.1-21<URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/si-16/duxfdrfs.htm>.
Excelling all whose sweet delight disputesFaustus's descent from the study of "heavenly matters of theology" to the gluttonous partaking of "a devilish exercise" seems calculated to excite the disapproval of a pious audience. Arieh Sachs, who interprets the play as an exploration of Protestant theology with an orthodox moral, asserts that
In heavenly matters of theology;
Till, swoll'n with cunning of a self conceit,
His waxen wings did mount above his reach,
And melting, heavens conspired his overthrow.
For, falling to a devilish exercise,
And glutted more with learning's golden gifts,
He surfeits upon cursèd necromancy(Prologue.18-25)
In general, the scheme of values in which the action of Doctor Faustus takes place is the fundamental Christian outlook which prevailed in the western world from the decline of Roman secularism to the disintegration of the dogmatic tradition long after the play was written.For Sachs, any interpretation of the play which considers Faustus as a figure to be admired by the audience simply overlooks the religio-historical context in which the play was produced:
To suggest that because Faustus does not seem to commit an infraction of what the modern liberal and utilitarian mind sees as morality he is an admirable character and does not deserve his punishment is to put the play in a context entirely alien to it.Robert Ornstein similarly dismisses the idea of Faustus as an admirable humanist:
Marlowe's religious thought may be heterodox in some respects, but his ethics are sound. We are always aware that Faustus the aspiring Titan is also the self-deluded fool of Lucifer.Faustus's folly is often the main justification for orthodox readings of the play; the audience, the argument goes, cannot possibly have identified with a character who is simultaneously immensely proud of his intellect and sufficiently ignorant to pursue such a hopeless endeavour as a pact with Lucifer. Joseph T. McCullen argues that Faustus's downfall comes about as a direct result of his "culpable ignorance", and that the Elizabethan conception of wisdom, which emphasises the importance of self-knowledge and the application of ideas to practical causes (disputing alone is not only considered insufficient, but specious and pedantic), would leave little room for a contemporary audience to consider Faustus as anything other than a fool. As Mike Pincombe states, "For all Faustus's learning, he is still a dilettante when it comes to wisdom." This argument is not without ammunition; Faustus knowingly signs away his soul, despite Mephistopheles's words of experience which warn him to "leave these frivolous demands, / which strike a terror to my fainting soul!"(I.3.83-4). As if this was not enough, he then takes his academic scepticism to an absurd degree, challenging the description of hell offered by Mephistopheles, himself visible proof of its existence, with the retort "Come, I think hell's a fable". (II.1.130). Indeed, despite the reputation he appears to wield in the academic world, we are given ample cause to question Faustus's abilities as a scholar; the syllogism that he constructs in the first soliloquy provides an example:
Jerome's Bible, Faustus, view it well.From the evidence that Faustus provides, his assertion is logically sound, but, through either ineptitude or wilful negligence, the biblical quotations upon which it is built are taken entirely out of context, a fact observed by David Bevington:
[He reads] Stipendium peccati mors est. Ha!
The reward of sin is death. That's hard.
[He reads] Si pecasse negamus, fallimur
Et nulla est in nobis veritas
If we say that we have no sin,
We deceive ourselves and there's no truth in us.
Why then belike we must sin,
And so consequently die.(I.1.38-48)
The first should read "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6.23); the second, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1.8). An Elizabethan audience, used to hearing disputations on Biblical texts, would presumably have been quicker than we to detect Faustus's fallacies.Faustus's erroneous syllogism, from an orthodox viewpoint, could be seen as representative of his greater plight; it is a lack of understanding of Christian faith and the forgiveness of God that leads him to reject it.
Faustus: But I must tell you one thing before you have him: ride him not into the water, at any hand.Barely a moment seems to have passed when the horse-courser returns in a state of fury, and reflects on what has happened since he left:
Horse- Courser: Why, sir, will he not drink of all waters?
Faustus: O, yes, he will drink of all waters, but ride him not into the water. Ride him over hedge, or ditch, or where thou wilt, but not into the water.(IV.1.122-9)
But yet, like an ass as I was, I would not be ruled by him, for he bade me should ride me into no water. Now I, thinking my horse had had some rare quality that he would not have had me known of, I, like a venturous youth, rid him into the deep pond at the town's end. I was no sooner in the middle of the pond but my horse vanished away and I sat upon a bottle of hay, never so near drowning in my life.(IV.1.148-55)The horse-courser has been given sound and unequivocal advice; just like Adam and Faustus, he ignores it, or rather actively seeks to act contrary to it, under the assumption that some great knowledge is to be discovered. One might well argue that the sceptical curiosity displayed here, particularly in a Renaissance context of growing efforts in the humanist pursuit of secular wisdom, is something to be understood, and maybe even applauded.
Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is admirable, complete and possesses magnitude; in language made pleasurable, each of its species [verse and song] separated in different parts; performed by actors, not through narration; effecting through pity and fear the purification of such emotions.The chief goal of tragedy is the therapeutic cleansing of residual feelings of pity and fear, achieved through a substantial but short-lived excitement of those emotions. This effect is not simply achieved by staging a spectacle of catastrophic misfortune, but is dependent upon careful and sensitive characterisation:
So it is clear first of all that decent men should not be seen undergoing a change from good fortune to bad fortune - this does not evoke pity or fear, but disgust. Nor should depraved people be seen undergoing a change from bad fortune to good fortune - this is the least tragic of all: it has none of the right effects, since it is neither agreeable, nor does it evoke pity or fear. Nor again should a very wicked person fall from good fortune to bad fortune - that kind of structure would be agreeable, but would not excite pity or fear, since the one has to do with someone who is suffering undeservedly, the other with someone who is like ourselves (I mean, pity has to do with the undeserving sufferer, fear with the person like us); so what happens will evoke neither pity nor fear.Nearly two thousand years later - in Marlowe's lifetime - echoes of Aristotle's definition of the genre can be heard in Philip Sidney's An Apology For Poetry:
So that the right use of Comedy will (I think) by nobody be blamed, and much less of the high and excellent Tragedy, that openeth the greatest wounds, and showeth forth the ulcers that are covered with tissue; that maketh kings fear to be tyrants, and tyrants manifest their tyrannical humours; that, with stirring the affects of admiration and commiseration, teacheth the uncertainty of this world, and upon how weak foundations gilden roofs are buildedSidney here invests tragedy with a more didactic and utilitarian purpose than does Aristotle, perhaps not surprisingly given the nature of the work in which the quotation appears, but the means that bring about the end - the stirring of admiration and commiseration - are synonymous with those in the Aristotelian definition.
Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribedit can also be said that all of the action occurs in one "place".
In one self place, for where we are is hell,
And where hell is must we ever be(II.1.124-6)
By him I'll be great emperor of the world,Perhaps the most significant of Faustus's unifying ideas, however, is among the first that spring to his mind when he begins to muse on the power he is to wield; sandwiched between excited anticipations of limitless acquisition and potency is a more cerebral consideration:
And make a bridge thorough the moving air
To pass the ocean with a band of men;
I'll join the hills that bind the Afric shore,
And make that country continent to Spain,
And both contributory to my crown.(I. 4. 104-9)
How am I glutted with the conceit of this!Much has been made of the disparity between Faustus's exclamations of intent and his eventual achievements as a servant of Lucifer. As highlighted earlier, he does not engage in any of the forecast empire-building, does not seem to extend his travels any further than the boundaries of Europe, makes little further reference to the amassing of wealth, and, rather than learning all of their secrets, seems content to serve as a court performer for foreign kings. The one item on Faustus's diabolical agenda that he does pursue, however, is the resolution of all intellectual ambiguity. His eagerness to be granted all encompassing knowledge is exemplified by the swiftness of his progression from delivering the bond to appealing to Mephistopheles for forbidden wisdom:
Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,
Resolve me of all ambiguities,
Perform what desperate enterprise I will?(I. 1. 78-81)
MEPHISTOPHELES: Speak, Faustus. Do you deliver this as your deed?Shortly afterwards, when Mephistopheles presents Faustus with a book that facilitates the manipulation of the weather and the raising of armies, he seems decidedly more keen on asking for books "wherein I might behold all spells and incantations", "where I might see all characters and planets of the heavens, that I might know their motions and dispositions" and "wherein I might see all plants, herbs and trees that grow upon the earth" (II. 1. 156-75. My italics). Faustus's conduct after having made his deal with Lucifer may show his prophesies of untold wealth and ubiquitous political power to have been little more than self glorifying hyperbole, but it also shows that the pursuit of complete knowledge – the resolution of ambiguities – is the one ambition voiced prior to the pact to which he actually devotes his newfound powers.
FAUSTUS [giving the deed]: Ay. Take it, and the devil give thee good on't.
MEPHISTOPHELES: Now, Faustus, ask what thou wilt.
FAUSTUS: First will I question with thee about hell.
Tell me, where is the place that men call hell?(II. 1. 112-7)
The dialecticians' all-out investment in probability testified to their belief that certainty is either trivial or unattainable: for "there is nothing which may not be disputed, and debated on all sides with great virtuosity. In all these matters, therefore, probabilities are examined, since necessities cannot be".To dispute well, then, is logic's chiefest end, a dissatisfactory state of affairs for a man who wishes to be resolved of all ambiguities. Similarly frustrating for Faustus is that his knowledge in the various university disciplines is of no use outside of the confines of that discipline; Faustus may "level at the end of every art" (I. 1. 4), but this will only give him an understanding of discrete disciplines, and not an understanding of the world itself. There is an echo of this frustration later in the same speech, when he says
Emperors and kingsWhile this reference is political rather than academic, the implications are the same; to rule in several provinces, or to have a mastery of distinct academic disciplines, is to fall short of the human potential that can be unleashed by magic, a potential which Faustus tellingly describes in terms of "the mind of man". Through magic, Faustus believes he can transcend the fragmentariness of human thought and understand all.
Are but obeyed in their several provinces,
Nor can they raise the wind or rend the clouds;
But his dominion that exceeds in this [magic]
Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man.(1. 59-63)
Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, with its obvious allusion to Dee as conjuror, tended to undermine the Elizabethan RenaissanceYates's conception of Faustus as anti-Dee, or even anti-Renaissance, propaganda is, of course, dependent upon a reading of the play as a Morality rather than a Tragedy, as discussed earlier in the article; indeed, for evidence of her interpretation of the play as a damning indictment of its protagonist, Yates delves little deeper than a literal reading of the prologue and epilogue. Despite this, there is certainly merit in the association of Faustus with John Dee, or at least with the magical philosophy to which Dee subscribed. Faustus, for instance, promises to "be as cunning as Agrippa was" (I. 1. 119). Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, a German cabalist, astronomer and alchemist who produced his body of work in the early part of the sixteenth century, was regularly associated with the historical Johan Faust in an attempt to denigrate his reputation, so the allusion here is not surprising. Yates points out, however, that it is not only Faustus with whom a modern audience would associate Agrippa, as Dee "publicly proclaimed in his mathematical preface to Euclid that he was following Cornelius Agrippa" Agrippa, then, provides a link between Faustus and Dee, or at least between Faustus and the type of alchemical practice that was best characterised in Elizabethan England by him. The connection alluded to by Yates is further established when Faustus, immediately after bidding divinity adieu, announces:
These metaphysics of magiciansThe geometrical references made by Faustus here call to mind the content of Euclid's Elements, a fundamental text in mathematics, a subject largely undistinguished from magic in Elizabethan England, to the first English translation of which John Dee added his Mathematical Preface. The first pages of the text itself are strewn with illustrations of geometric shapes accompanied by algebraic annotation (lines, circles, letters). Furthermore, Dee's interest in the cabala (Yates labels him a Christian Cabalist), the occult practice which assigns mystical values to Hebrew letters and numbers, thus enabling esoteric biblical re-interpretations and the unlocking of powerful secrets by the re-arranging of text, is reflected in the conjuration scene, when Faustus commentates on the procedure for summoning diabolical spirits:
And necromantic books are heavenly,
Lines, circles, signs, letters and characters –
Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.(I.1. 51-4)
Within this circle is Jehovah's name,More generally, of course, Faustus' conjuring of Mephistopheles, and power gained through the manipulation of obedient spirits, could be seen as a direct reference to the most famous of Dee's activities, the summoning of angels. While Dee was insistent that his angelic conversations constituted white magic and did not involve contact with any sort of malignant spirit, they were generally the subject of great suspicion; while Yates's assertions lack full substantiation, it is certain that John Dee is the most well known practitioner of anything approximating to the magic of Faustus in Elizabethan England.
Forward and backward anagrammatised(I. 3. 8-9)
though there are striking similarities between the Pimander [Hermetic text containing the creation myth] and Genesis, there is one fundamental difference: in the Hermetic treatise, man once was, and through his intellect can become again, like God. His original divine powers remain within him to be regenerated and used.In Hermetic thought, man was invested with divinity at the time of creation. As in Judaeo-Christian tradition, that state of bliss is now lost, but, crucially, can be recovered through profound intellectual contemplation. Central to this concept is the oneness of everything; the entire universe is a product of God's intellect, and thus is essentially a part of God:
all that is, he contains within himself like thoughts, the world, himself, the All. If in that event you do not make yourself equal to God, you cannot know God: because like is intelligible only to like.One cannot experience oneness with God, then, unless one can achieve a godlike understanding of the oneness of the universe. The remarkable advice on how to come to this understanding is as follows:
Consider yourself immortal and capable of understanding everything: all art, all science, the character of every living being. Mount to the highest heights; descend to the lowest depths. Assemble within yourself all the sensations of creation, and be fire and water, dryness and moisture. Imagine that you are everywhere at once – on earth, in the sea, in the sky – that you are not yet born, that you are young and old, that you are dead and beyond death. "If you embrace in thought all these things at once, time, place, substances, qualities, quantities, you will comprehend God."It is difficult to read this passage without calling to mind Faustus's pride, his demands for books revealing all knowledge in different subjects, his frustrated attempt to learn who made the world, and his determination to be resolved of all ambiguity. Similarly, in a passage describing the ubiquity of the human soul, there is a remarkable consistency with the uses to which Faustus plans to put his spirits:
Command your soul to take itself to India, and there, sooner than your order, it will be. Command it to pass over the ocean, and in an instant it will be there, not as if it had to voyage from one place to another , but as if it had always been there. Command it to fly to heaven, it has no need of wings: nothing can obstruct it, neither the fire of the sun, nor the air, nor the revolution of the heavens, nor the other celestial bodies.Faustus's less spiritually motivated plans bear a notable resemblance: "I'll have them fly to India for gold / And ransack the ocean for orient pearl" (I. 1. 84-5). The latter part of the passage becomes pertinent when one considers the story of Icarus that is used in the prologue to represent the folly of Faustus's overreaching; the waxen wings which Icarus uses to fly to the heavens, and the fire of the sun which melts them and sends him plummeting to earth, are irrelevant to one who understands the universe, his oneness with God, and the freedom of his soul.
Despite their magical basis, even the orthodox King Philip II had almost 200 Hermetic works – among them Dee's Monas Heiroglyphica – in his library at Escorial. In his History of the World, Sir Walter Ralegh repeatedly refers with admiration to Hermes and the Hermetica, and a theologian like Philippe Du Plessis-Mornay also found much in the texts to include in his A Woorke concerning the Trewnesse of the Christian Religion. These are merely a few examples chosen from literally hundreds that reflect the dispersion and influence of these writings.Hermetic ideas filtered heavily into Neo-Platonist thought, and even into theological doctrine. Hermeticism was taken very seriously by powerful Europeans; although he was never quite fully invited into the fold, John Dee's advice was often sought by the English court on matters of importance, and among the weighty tasks entrusted to him was the selection of an astrologically favourable date for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Occult thought was popular in intellectual Elizabethan society; Dee himself was a member of the circle surrounding Henry Percy, "the wizard earl", which boasted a number of the great minds of the day, including the mathematician Thomas Hariot and, French claims, John Donne, Walter Ralegh and Christopher Marlowe. However seriously one takes the assertion of a direct association between Marlowe and Dee (there is little more evidence for it than Marlowe's own reputed association with Hariot), it is evident that Hermetic ideas, ideas that privilege unification above all else, carried significant cultural capital in the time Doctor Faustus was written.
FAUSTUS: But tell me, have they all one motion, both situ et tempore?Upon delving further into the issue, Faustus has more cause to be disappointed:
MEPHISTOPHELES: All jointly move from east to west in four-and-twenty hours upon the poles of the world, but differ in their motion upon the poles of the zodiac.
FAUSTUS: Tush, these slender trifles Wagner can decide.
Hath Mephistopheles no greater skill?(II. 3. 44-9)
FAUSTUS: Well, resolve me in this question: why have we not conjunctions, oppositions, aspects, eclipses all at one time, but in some years we have more, in some less?Faustus's initial question raises the major problem that scholars had with the Ptolemaic geocentric universe, and Mephistopheles's answer, which translates as "because of unequal movement with respect to the whole", is utterly unconvincing; the explanation is nothing other than the kind of fudge that Faustus would expect to hear in the ambiguous academic disputes he wishes to escape from (a point highlighted by Mephistopheles's decision to articulate it in Latin). His disillusionment is only compounded when he is flatly refused an answer to the most fundamental of philosophical questions: who made the world? Perhaps we should not be surprised that it is after this disappointment that Faustus's ambitions seem to diminish to the extent that they are satiated by trivial pleasures.
MEPHISTOPHELES: Per inequalem motum respectu totius.
FAUSTUS: Well, I am answered. Tell me who made the world.
MEPHISTOPHELES: I will not.(II. 3. 61-6)
FAUSTUS: Come, I think hell's a fable.Faustus's audacious challenging of Mephistopheles's understanding of hell may seem to be simply a symptom of his pugnacious character, but he has in fact been trained to take an oppositional stance to any proposition, however absolute it may seem. Despite having bemoaned the incapacity of logic to accommodate a unified understanding of the world, he finds himself slipping into an indulgence of an old university pastime of disputation precisely when Mephistopheles is offering him knowledge that is inaccessible to the rest of humankind; the practise of dialectic is so deeply ingrained in him that he casually comments that hell might not be so bad, provided he can spend his time there walking and disputing. One might wonder, if he were granted access to universal knowledge, whether Faustus could find it within himself to accept it without questioning; without masking it once more in ambiguity.
MEPHISTOPHELES: Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.
FAUSTUS: Why, think'st thou then that Faustus shall be damned?
MEPHISTOPHELES: Ay, of necessity, for here's the scroll
Wherein thou hast given thy soul to Lucifer.
FAUSTUS: Ay, and body too. But what of that?
Think'st thou that Faustus is so fond
To imagine that after this life there is any pain?
Tush, these are trifles and mere old wives' tales.
MEPHISTOPHELES: But, Faustus, I am an instance to the contrary,
For I am damnèd and am now in hell.
FAUSTUS: How? Now in hell? Nay, an this be hell, I'll willingly be damned here. What? Walking, disputing, etc.? (II. 1. 127-139)
Now that the gloomy shadow of the earth,This evocative description of the arrival of darkness, as well as marking the occasion for the conjuration, again highlights the dual nature of the world; night has not simply descended, but has leapt from the Antarctic. When it is dark here, it is light elsewhere. The motif of bifurcation is sustained throughout the play; in direct contrast to his will for unification, Faustus's mental turmoil is represented by the regular visitations of angels representing good and evil, and his agonising final soliloquy plays out his anguished dilemma between up and down: "O, I'll leap up to my God, who pulls me down?" (V. 2. 69) In the words of Dollimore, Faustus "is located on the axes which cripple and finally destroy him."
Longing to view Orion's drizzling look,
Leaps from th'Antarctic world unto the sky
And dims the welkin with her pitchy breath,
Faustus, begin thine incantations(I. 3. 1-5)
 This quotation, and all subsequent quotations from the play, are taken from Doctor Faustus: A- and B- Texts (The Revels Plays), Edited by David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen, (Manchester: MUP, 1993), and come from the A- Text version of the play.
 A. Sachs, "The Religious Despair of Doctor Faustus", Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 63 (1964), 625-647, 627.
 Ibid., 633.
 R. Ornstein, "The Comic Synthesis in Doctor Faustus", ELH, XXII, iii (1955), 165-72, p. 172.
 J. T. McCullen, "Dr. Faustus and Renaissance Learning", MLR, 51, (1956), 6-16, p. 9.
 M. Pincombe, Elizabethan Humanism: Literature and Learning in the later Sixteenth Century, (London: Longman, 2001), 169.
 D. Bevington, "Marlowe and God", Explorations in Renaissance Culture, 17, (1991), 1-38, p. 4.
 The B text gives Faustus a task of some import by having him manufacture the escape of Bruno, the Imperial candidate for the papacy (III, 1–2). This more weighty endeavour is offset in this text, however, by the considerably greater attention paid to whimsical clownery that he engages in through Acts 3 and 4.
 The title page of Bevington and Rasmussen's dual text Revels edition attributes the play to "Christopher Marlowe and his collaborator and revisers".
 The date of Doctor Faustus has been a controversial issue throughout its critical history, with scholars favouring either a date of 1588/9 or 1592/3. For the most significant recent development in the debate, see R. J. Fehrenbach's 2001 essay "A Pre-1592 English Faust Book and the Date of Doctor Faustus", Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, 2:4 (2001, Dec), 327-35.
 Aristotle, Poetics, Translated by Michael Heath, (London: Penguin, 1996), 10.
 Ibid, 20-1.
 P. Sidney, An Apology for Poetry, Ed. Geoffrey Shepherd, (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1965), 117-8.
 J. C. Maxwell, "The Sin of Faustus", in John Jump (ed.), Doctor Faustus: Casebook Series, 90.
 N. Brooke, "The Moral Tragedy of Doctor Faustus", The Cambridge Journal, 5 (1952), 662-88, p. 665.
 See Maxwell's "The Sin of Faustus" and W. W. Greg, "The Damnation of Faustus", in Marlowe: A Collection of Critical Essays, Ed. Clifford Leech, (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1964), 92-107. Locating a specific moment of peripeteia in the play is somewhat hazardous. If one agrees with Greg and Maxwell that Faustus's irrevocable damnation is finally confirmed at the kiss with Helen, then there is little difficulty. However, if one agrees with critics such as Sachs, whose argument is that the play exhibits Calvinist tendencies, and that Faustus, as a despairing reprobate, is damned from the start, then peripeteia disappears from the play.
 D. Bevington, From Mankind to Marlowe, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1962), 254-5.
 See, for example, R. Ornstien, "The Comic Synthesis in Doctor Faustus", ELH, XXII, iii (1955), 165-72, and W. French, "Double View in Doctor Faustus", West Virginia University Philological Papers, 17 (1970), 3-15.
 D. Riggs, The World of Christopher Marlowe, (London: Faber and Faber, 2004), p. 82. Riggs here quotes Lisa Jardine's translation of a passage in Lorenzo Valla's Dialecticae disputationes, taken from her "Lorenzo Valla: Academic Skepticism and the New Humanist Dialectic" in M. Burnyeat, Ed., The Skeptical Tradition, (Berkeley: U of California P, 1983), 253-86, p. 272.
 F. A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, (London: Routledge & Kegan, 1979), 120.
 Ibid., 120.
 Ibid., 120. For an analysis of the relationship between the magic of Agrippa and Marlowe's play, see G. Roberts, "Necromantic Books: Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus and Agrippa of Nettesheim", in Christopher Marlowe and English Renaissance Culture, Edited by Darryl Grantley and Peter Roberts, (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1996), 148-71.
 F. A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy, 79-93.
 For a biography of Dee which focuses primarily on his ongoing attempts at angelic communication, see Benjamin Woolley's The Queen's Conjurer: The Life and Magic of Dr Dee, (London: Flamingo, 2002).
 For a brief introduction to Hermeticism, see P. French, John Dee: The World of an Elizabethan Magus, (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972), 62-88.
 P. French, John Dee, 74.
 Ibid., p. 75. This, and the following two quotations, are from a passage in French's chapter on Hermeticism in which he quotes and paraphrases in English from A. D. Nock and A. J. Festugiere's French translation of the Hermetic corpus, La Révélation d'Hermès Trismégiste, 4 Vols., Paris (1950-4), Tract XI, 147-57. The Hermetic Corpus was not available in English until the publication of Everard's translation in 1650, but Latin versions were in plentiful supply during Marlowe's lifetime. Ficino's Latin translation of 1470 reached 16 editions before 1600, and John Dee certainly owned a copy. (see P. French, John Dee, pp. 55, 68-9).
 Ibid., 75-6.
 Ibid., 75.
 The emphasis on unity in Hermetic philosophy is evinced in some of John Dee's work; his Monas Heiroglyphica (one symbol) centres around a symbol which he names 'the London seal of Hermes' and also refers to as the 'monad', and through the contemplation of which he claims one can gain universal understanding and thus a regeneration to divine status. Similarly, much of his angelic summoning focused on an attempt to rediscover and decipher the enochean language, the tongue in which God communicated with Adam, in the belief that understanding the language of paradise would be the key to conceiving of the universal truth. See B. Woolley, The Queen's Conjurer, 176-7, 198, 201 & 238.
 P. French, John Dee, 69.
 Ibid., 171.
 J. Dollimore, "Doctor Faustus: Subversion through Transgression", in Christopher Marlowe, Ed. Richard Wilson, (London: Longman, 1999), 235-45, p. 238.
 P. French, John Dee, 156.
 For a discussion of the variety of eschatological concepts current in the period, and the reflection of the confusion this variety brings in the play, see K. Poole, "Dr. Faustus and Reformation Theology", in Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion, Eds. Garrett A. Sullivan Jr., Patrick Cheney and Andrew Hadfield, (Oxford: OUP, 2006), 96-107.
 F. Yates, The Occult Philosophy, p. 119.