The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus-Christopher Marlowe
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The Inevitable Day Poem by Christopher Marlowe

“The Inevitable Day” poem is an extract from Christopher Marlowe’s famous play “The Tragic History of Life and Death of Doctor Faustus”. This poem is the final speech that Faustus gives at the verge of his death in Act IV Scene V of the play.

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus-Christopher Marlowe
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus-Christopher Marlowe

The Inevitable Day Poem Analysis

Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is one of the most fascinating characters of English drama and it is for the first time that the dramatist explores the world of soul-selling, black magic, and conjuring the devil Lucifer itself in his play.

Doctor Faustus who is an eminent scholar has sold his soul to Lucifer, the Master of Hell in return for infinite wealth and knowledge for the unknown. He has summoned the devil Mephistophilis and has sold his soul in exchange for 24 years of knowledge and boundless magical powers.

The poem appears in the last scene of the play when devils appear on stage to take away the soul of Doctor Faustus to hell divulging the audiences in sheer terror and pity.

In the first four lines “Now hast thou but one bare hour to live”, Faustus exclaims in utter shock that he has just one more hour to live and then he must be damned eternally to the realms of hell.

At this very last hour of his life, Faustus recollects how he has wasted his life following useless dreams and repents to God for forgiveness and mercy.

He says that ‘time may cease, and midnight never come’ whereby he wishes that the clock may stop ticking and this ‘one bare hour’ may be transformed into a year, a week or even a day for him to repent.

Faustus’s one last hope is the holy blood of Jesus Christ which can save his life from eternal perpetuity of the flames of hell. He further wishes that he was a ‘brutish beast’ or a soulless creature unaware of his surroundings who don’t have any purpose in life but merely lives to die and dissolve into the elements of nature.

At the final hour, Faustus curses himself and Lucifer for taking away the joys of heaven from him. As the clock struck twelve, Faustus cries out in anguish and wishes his body to turn into thin air or be transformed into drops of water and dissolve into the waters of the ocean and never be found by the devils.

The last four lines of the poem are remarkable and at the same time dramatic. Faustus realizes what he has done and that he is responsible for his own doom. He earnestly pledges God not to look down on him for the choices he has made in his life and he repents. He fears the gaze of the Hell and asks the ‘adders and serpents’ to let him breathe for a few moments more.

The last lines of the speech are extraordinary in the context that Faustus here has completed his quest and has attained all the knowledge of Heaven, Hell, God, Devil, and sins which was one his sole purpose.

Faustus is still unable to repent and blames the stars at the time of his birth for his present situation. He claims that he had no hand in it and that his future was planned much before his birth.

He finally understands that knowledge which was once his greatest power is the reason for his downfall. In the end, disheartened and loathed with self-pity he burns all his treasured books as a symbol of his final sacrifice.

Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is a typical demonstration of a modern-day man who is highly ambitious and wants to control everything that is beyond his reach but fails to understand the simplicity and the true pleasures of life.

Click here for the free pdf of the poem: The Inevitable poem by Christopher Marlowe

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