Plot résumé : As the play opens, two sales-people, Valdes and Cornelia, approach Doctor Faustus with information about magic. Faustus takes this information and returns to his office. The Good Angel - who acts as a narrator throughout the play - tells the audience about Faustus' childhood and younger days, before the scene returns to Faustus' office.
Faustus is bored. He has reached the limits of knowledge available to him and is at an intellectual dead-end. In frustration he calls Cornelia and Valdes who introduce him to the powers of magic. Using this power he summons Mephistophilis, a devil, and offers to make a pact with him. Faustus offers to give Lucifer his soul in return for 24 years on earth, during which he will enjoy unlimited knowledge and the use of Mephistophilis as his servant. The Good Angel attempts to convince Faustus not to do so, but is outwitted by the Evil Angel who tempts Faustus with promises of wealth and physical pleasure. Mephistophilis agrees to the deal and forces Faustus to sign the pact in blood.
As soon as he has signed the pact, Faustus begins to have doubts about what he has done. To stop him from repenting, Lucifer appears to persuade Faustus that hell is a place of sensual delight. As proof of this, Lucifer shows Faustus the Seven Deadly Sins, ending with Lechery who seduces Faustus and distracts his mind by pulling him into a frantic rave orgy.
The Good Angel appears and tells the audience about Faustus’ travels and adventures during the years of his pact with the devil. As the years pass, Faustus increasingly uses his power for personal pleasure and gratification, rather than for the pursuit of knowledge. We see Faustus arrive in Rome, where he uses Mephistophilis’ powers to make himself invisible and to disrupt a banquet held by the new Pope. Then the Good Angel explains how Faustus has used his power and knowledge to gain influence with leading politicians and statesmen and to build up a wealthy business empire. We see Faustus opening a new branch of his world-wide fast-food Empire.
Finally, Faustus is invited by the President of the European Commission to perform some magic for her. He conjures up the spirits of Alexander the Great and his Lover, but he is taunted by one of the EU officials, Benvolio, who does not believe in Faustus’ power. Out of spite, Faustus and Mephistophilis humiliate Benvolio in front of the President. Benvolio wants revenge, and attacks and tries to kill Faustus. However, protected by his pact with the devil, Faustus cannot be harmed and in a fit of anger he lashes out and kills Benvolio and his assistant Frederick.
Shocked by what he has done, and realizing that his 24 years are drawing to an end, Faustus returns to Wittenberg, where he spends his last days drinking with the students. The Good Angel tries to persuade him that it is not too late to repent, but Mephistophilis threatens to destroy him if he turns to God. To distract Faustus from his approaching death, Mephistophilis conjures up the spirit of Helen of Greece. Captivated by her beauty (“Is this the face that launched a thousand ships…?”) he is seduced into spending his last night on earth with her, rather than repenting for his sins.
On his last day of life, Faustus, despairing at what he has done and frantic for a way out of the pact, tells the truth to the students, who promise to pray for him. However, his heart has become too hardened by his years of self-indulgence and he is unable to pray for mercy. Deserted finally by the Good Angel and tormented by Mephistophilis and the Evil Angel, Faustus realizes at last that his earthly power was worth nothing and in a dramatic final speech he sees his last hour of life slip painfully away.