A bargain that provides great rewards and apocalyptic consequences for one or more of the bargainers. In such a bargain, those participants can't escape the rewards or the consequences. Named after Doctor Faustus--a mythical figure from the Middle Ages who supposedly sold his soul to the devil for magical (and practical) knowledge.

Christopher Marlowe
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
Act II Scene 1

Faustus

Then there's enough for a thousand souls.
Here, Mephistopheles, receive this scroll,
A deed of gift of body and of soul;
But yet conditionally that thou perform
All articles prescribed between us both.

Mephistopheles

Faustus, I swear by hell and Lucifer
To effect all promises between us made.

Faustus

Then hear me read them.
"On these conditions following:
First, that Faustus may be a spirit in form and substance.
Secondly, that Mephistopheles shall be his servant, and at his command.
Thirdly, that Mephistopheles shall do for him and bring him whatsoever he requireth.
Fourthly, that he shall be in his chamber or house invisible.
Lastly that he shall appear to the said John Faustus, at all times, in what form or shape soever he please.
I, John Faustus, of Wittenberg, Doctor, by these presents do give both body and soul to Lucifer, Prince of the East, and his minister, Mephistopeles; and futhermore grant unto them, that twenty-four years being expired, the articles above written inviolate, full power to fetch or carry the said John Faustus, body and soul, flesh, blood, or goods, into their habitation wheresoever. By me,

John Faustus."

Mephistopheles

Speak, Faustus, do you deliver this as your deed?

Faustus

Ay, take it, and the Devil give thee good on't.

This is the Faustian bargain according to Christopher Marlowe.

Faust goes on-line.

A student at the University of Washington recently struck his own Faustian bargain through the on-line auction service e-Bay. For a reported sum of $400, the 20-year-old Woodinville, Washington resident sold his soul, which he described on the site as “hardly used”, to a Des Moines, Iowa woman. Regarding the sum, the seller indicated that he was happy that the bidding went “past $7.50”.

Before you hurry to the site to get your monetary reward in this life, or to start your own collection, e-Bay reported that following the transaction, the student’s access to the site had been suspended. Said an e-Bay spokesman; "You have to have a piece of merchandise that a seller can deliver to a buyer."

All is not lost. For those in the market, a simple web search returns numerous results. One site, EvilPeople,INC.(tm), advertises that they are “always willing to add to the Unholy Might(tm) of the nether regions, and one of the ways that we can do this is to, well, buy your soul. Since most of you puny mortals have rather materialistic desires, EvilPeople,INC.(tm) is more than willing to provide you with them. And we just want one teensy-weensy little thing in return: YOUR IMMORTAL SOUL.”

The going price is not advertised. The process begins with:

“First, fill out this form.

We will mail you a confirmation notice with a "SoulCode".

You will then fill out the confirmation form and put your SoulCode where indicated and finish filling out what it is that you want in return for your soul.

We will submit this to our patented Soul Evaluation Software and return our decision on whether we want it or not.”

Happy hunting.

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