PG TRB – Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus

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Unit I – Chaucerian Age (1400 – 1600)

S. No


P. No



Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales



2.1 Spenser

      2.2 Faerie  Queene – Book-I

      2.3 Epithalamion

      2.4 Prothalamion






Wyatt’s Poems (Selections in Peacock’s English verse, Vol-I)



Surrey’s Poems (Selections in Peacock’s English verse, Vol-I)



Ballads (Peacock – Vol-II)




6.1 Sir Francis Bacon

6.2 Of Truth

6.3 Of Adversity

6.4 Of Studies

6.5 Of Revenge

6.6 Of Ambition

6.7 Of Friendship









Sidney’s An Apologie for Poetrie



The Bible – The Book of Job




Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus



Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy     



Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist



12.1 William Shakespeare

12.2 Macbeth

12.3 The Tempest

12.4 Henry–IV   Part-I

12.5 Measure for Measure

12.6 Antony and Cleopatra







  1. Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus

Christopher Marlowe

            Christopher Marlowe was a poet and playwright at the forefront of the 16th-century dramatic renaissance. His works influenced William Shakespeare and generations of writers to follow. He was born in Canterbury, England, in 1564. While Christopher Marlowe’s literary career lasted less than six years, and his life only 29 years, his achievements, most notably the play The Tragicall History of Doctor Faustus, ensured his lasting legacy.

Early Years:

            Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury around February 26, 1564 (this was the day on which he was baptized). He went to King’s School and was awarded a scholarship that enabled him to study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, from late 1580 until 1587.

            Marlowe earned his bachelor of arts degree in 1584, but in 1587 the university hesitated in granting him his master’s degree. Its doubts (perhaps arising from his frequent absences, or speculation that he had converted to Roman Catholicism and would soon attend college elsewhere) were set to rest, or at least dismissed, when the Privy Council sent a letter declaring that he was now working “on matters touching the benefit of his country,” and he was awarded his master’s degree on schedule.

Marlowe as a Secret Agent:

            The nature of Marlowe’s service to England was not specified by the council, but the letter sent to Cambridge has provoked abundant speculation, notably the theory that Marlowe had become a secret agent working for Sir Francis Walsingham’s intelligence service. No direct evidence supports this theory, but the council’s letter clearly suggests that Marlowe was serving the government in some secret capacity.

            Surviving Cambridge records from the period show that Marlowe had several lengthy absences from the university, much longer than allowed by the school’s regulations. And extant dining room accounts indicate that he spent lavishly on food and drink while there, greater amounts than he could have afforded on his known scholarship income. Both of these could point to a secondary source of income, such as secret government work.

            But with scant hard evidence and rampant speculation, the mystery surrounding Marlowe’s service to the queen is likely to remain active. Spy or not, after attaining his master’s degree, Marlowe moved to London and took up writing full-time.

Early Writing Career:

            After 1587, Christopher Marlowe was in London, writing for the theater and probably also engaging himself occasionally in government service. What is thought to be his first play, Dido, Queen of Carthage, was not published until 1594, but it is generally thought to have been written while he was still a student at Cambridge. According to records, the play was performed by the Children of the Chapel, a company of boy actors, between 1587 and 1593.

            Marlowe’s second play was the two-part Tamburlaine the Great (c. 1587; published 1590). This was Marlowe’s first play to be performed on the regular stage in London and is among the first English plays in blank verse. It is considered the beginning of the mature phase of the Elizabethan theater and was the last of Marlowe’s plays to be published before his untimely death. There is disagreement among Marlowe scholars regarding the order in which the plays subsequent to Tamburlaine were written.

            Some contend that Doctor Faustus quickly followed Tamburlaine, and that Marlowe then turned to writing Edward the Second, The Massacre at Paris, and finally The Jew of Malta. According to the Marlowe Society’s chronology, the order was thus: The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus, Edward the Second and The Massacre at Paris, with Doctor Faustus being performed first (1604) and The Jew of Malta last (1633). What is not disputed is that he wrote only these four plays after Tamburlaine, from c. 1589 to 1592, and that they cemented his legacy and proved vastly influential.

The Plays:

The Jew of Malta:

            The Jew of Malta (fully The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta), with a prologue delivered by a character representing Machiavelli, depicts the Jew Barabas, the richest man on all the island of Malta. His wealth is seized, however, and he fights the government to regain it until his death at the hands of Maltese soldiers.

            The play swirls with religious conflict, intrigue and revenge, and is considered to have been a major influence on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The title character, Barabas, is seen as the main inspiration for Shakespeare’s Shylock character in Merchant. The play is also considered the first (successful) black comedy, or tragicomedy.

            Barabas is a complex character who has provoked mixed reactions in audiences, and there has been extensive debate about the play’s portrayal of Jews (as with Shakespeare’s Merchant). Filled with unseemly characters, the play also ridicules oversexed Christian monks and nuns, and portrays a pair of greedy friars vying for Barabas’ wealth. The Jew of Malta in this way is a fine example of what Marlowe’s final four works are in part known for: controversial themes.

Edward the Second:

            The historical Edward the Second (fully The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer) is a play about the deposition of England’s King Edward II by his barons and the queen, all of whom resent the undue influence the king’s men have over his policies. Edward the Second is a tragedy featuring a weak and flawed monarch, and it paved the way for Shakespeare’s more mature histories, such as Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V.

            It is the only Marlowe plays whose text can be reliably said to represent the author’s manuscript, as all of Marlowe’s other plays were heavily edited or simply transcribed from performances, and the original texts were lost to the ages.

The Massacre at Paris:

            The Massacre at Paris is a short and lurid work, the only extant text of which was likely a reconstruction from memory, or “reported text,” of the original performance. Because of its origin, the play is approximately half the length of Edward the Second, The Jew of Malta and each part of Tamburlaine, and comprises mostly bloody action with little depth of characterization or quality verse. For these reasons, the play has been the most neglected of Marlowe’s oeuvre.

            Massacre portrays the events of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572, in which French royalty and Catholic nobles instigated the murder and execution of thousands of protestant Huguenots. In London, agitators seized on its theme to advocate the murders of refugees, an event that the play eerily warns the queen of in its last scene. Interestingly, the warning comes from a character referred to as “English Agent,” a character who has been thought to be Marlowe himself, representing his work with the queen’s secret service.

Doctor Faustus:

            Marlowe’s most famous play is The Tragicall History of Doctor Faustus, but, as is the case with most of his plays, it has survived only in a corrupt form, and when Marlowe actually wrote it has been a topic of debate.

            Based on the German Faustbuch, Doctor Faustus is acknowledged as the first dramatized version of the Faust legend, in which a man sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. While versions of story began appearing as early as the 4th century, Marlowe deviates significantly by having his hero unable to repent and have his contract annulled at the end of the play. He is warned to do so throughout by yet another Marlowe variation of the retelling–a Good Angel–but Faustus ignores the angel’s advice continually.

            In the end, Faustus finally seems to repent for his deeds, but it is either too late or just simply irrelevant, as Mephistopheles collects his soul, and it is clear that Faustus exits to hell with him.

Arrest and Death:

            The constant rumors of Christopher Marlowe’s atheism finally caught up with him on Sunday May 20, 1593, and he was arrested for just that “crime.” Atheism, or heresy, was a serious offense, for which the penalty was burning at the stake. Despite the gravity of the charge, however, he was not jailed or tortured but was released on the condition that he report daily to an officer of the court.

            On May 30, however, Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer. Frizer was with Nicholas Skeres and Robert Poley, and all three men were tied to one or other of the Walsinghams–either Sir Francis Walsingham (the man who evidently recruited Marlowe himself into secret service on behalf of the queen) or a relative also in the spy business. Allegedly, after spending the day together with Marlowe in a lodging house, a fight broke out between Marlowe and Frizer over the bill, and Marlowe was stabbed in the forehead and killed.

            Conspiracy theories have abounded since, with Marlowe’s atheism and alleged spy activities at the heart of the murder plots, but the real reason for Marlowe’s death is still debated. What is not debated is Marlowe’s literary importance, as he is Shakespeare’s most important predecessor and is second only to Shakespeare himself in the realm of Elizabethan tragic drama.






















Character List:

  • Faustus:
  • Faustus is protagonist of the drama.
  • He is a brilliant sixteenth century scholar from Wittenberg, Germany, whose ambition for knowledge, wealth, and worldly might makes him willing to pay the ultimate price—his soul—to Lucifer in exchange for supernatural powers.
  • His initial tragic grandeur is diminished by the fact that he never seems completely sure of the decision to forfeit his soul and constantly wavers about whether or not to repent.
  • His ambition is admirable and initially awesome, yet he ultimately lacks a certain inner strength.
  • He is unable to embrace his dark path wholeheartedly but is also unwilling to admit his mistake.

  • Mephastophilis:
  • Mephastophilis is a devil whom Faustus summons with his initial magical experiments.
  • His motivations are ambiguous: on the one hand, his oft-expressed goal is to catch Faustus’s soul and carry it off to hell.
  • He actively attempts to dissuade Faustus from making a deal with Lucifer by warning him about the horrors of hell.
  • He is ultimately as tragic a figure as Faustus, with his moving, regretful accounts of what the devils have lost in their eternal separation from God.

  • Chorus:
  • The Chorus stands outside the story, providing narration and commentary.
  • The Chorus was customary in Greek tragedy.

  • Old Man:
  • Old man is an enigmatic figure who appears in the final scene.
  • He urges Faustus to repent and to ask God for mercy.
  • He seems to replace the good and evil angels, who, in the first scene, try to influence Faustus’s behavior.


  • Good Angel:
  • Good Angel is a spirit that urges Faustus to repent for his pact with Lucifer and return to God.
  • Along with the old man and the bad angel, the good angel represents, in many ways, Faustus’s conscience and divided will between good and evil.


  • Evil Angel:
  • Evil Angel is a spirit that serves as the counterpart to the good angel and provides Faustus with reasons not to repent for sins against God.
  • The evil angel represents the evil half of Faustus’s conscience.


  • Lucifer:
  • He is the prince of devils, the ruler of hell, and Mephastophilis’s master.


  • Wagner:
  • He is Faustus’s servant.
  • He uses his master’s books to learn how to summon devils and work magic.

  • Clown:
  • He becomes Wagner’s servant.
  • His antics provide comic relief.
  • He is a ridiculous character, and his absurd behavior initially contrasts with Faustus’s grandeur.
  • As the play goes on, though, Faustus’s behavior comes to resemble that of the clown.
  • Robin:
  • He is an ostler, or innkeeper.
  • He is like the clown, provides a comic contrast to Faustus.
  • Robin and his friend Ralph learn some basic conjuring, demonstrating that even the least scholarly can possess skill in magic.
  • Marlowe includes Robin and Ralph to illustrate Faustus’s degradation as he submits to simple trickery such as theirs.

  • Ralph:
  • He is an ostler, and a friend of Robin.
  • He appears as Dick (Robin’s friend and a clown) in B-text editions of Doctor Faustus.

  • Valdes and Cornelius:
  • They are two friends of Faustus, both magicians, who teach him the art of black magic.

  • Horse-courser:
  • He is a horse-trader who buys a horse from Faustus, which vanishes after the horse courser rides it into the water, leading him to seek revenge.

  • The Scholars:
  • They are Faustus’s colleagues at the University of Wittenberg.
  • Loyal to Faustus, the scholars appear at the beginning and end of the play to express dismay at the turn Faustus’s studies have taken, to marvel at his achievements, and then to hear his agonized confession of his pact with Lucifer.

  • The pope:
  • He is the head of the Roman Catholic Church and a powerful political figure in the Europe of Faustus’s day.
  • The pope serves as both a source of amusement for the play’s Protestant audience and a symbol of the religious faith that Faustus has rejected.

  • Emperor Charles V:
  • He is the most powerful monarch in Europe, whose court Faustus visits.

  • Knight:
  • He is a German nobleman at the emperor’s court.
  • The knight is skeptical of Faustus’s power, and Faustus makes antlers sprout from his head to teach him a lesson.
  • The knight is further developed and known as Benvolio in B-text versions of Doctor Faustus.
  • Benvolio seeks revenge on Faustus and plans to murder him.

  • Bruno:
  • He is a candidate for the papacy, supported by the emperor.
  • He is captured by the pope and freed by Faustus.
  • He appears only in B-text versions of Doctor Faustus.

  • Duke of Vanholt:
  • He is a German nobleman whom Faustus visits.

  • Martino and Frederick:
  • They are Friends of Benvolio who reluctantly join his attempt to kill Faustus.
  • Martino and Frederick appear only in B-text versions of Doctor Faustus.



            The Chorus, a single actor, enters and introduces the plot of the play. It will involve neither love nor war, he tells us, but instead will trace the “form of Faustus’ fortunes”. The Chorus chronicles how Faustus was born to lowly parents in the small town of Rhode, how he came to the town of Wittenberg to live with his kinsmen, and how he was educated at Wittenberg, a famous German university. After earning the title of doctor of divinity, Faustus became famous for his ability to discuss theological matters. The Chorus adds that Faustus is “swollen with cunning” and has begun to practice necromancy, or black magic. The Prologue concludes by stating that Faustus is seated in his study.

Scene 1:

            In a long soliloquy, Faustus reflects on the most rewarding type of scholarship. He first considers logic, quoting the Greek philosopher Aristotle, but notes that disputing well seems to be the only goal of logic, and, since Faustus’s debating skills are already good, logic is not scholarly enough for him. He considers medicine, quoting the Greek physician Galen, and decides that medicine, with its possibility of achieving miraculous cures, is the most fruitful pursuit—yet he notes that he has achieved great renown as a doctor already and that this fame has not brought him satisfaction. He considers law, quoting the Byzantine emperor Justinian, but dismisses law as too petty, dealing with trivial matters rather than larger ones. Divinity, the study of religion and theology, seems to offer wider vistas, but he quotes from St. Jerome’s Bible that all men sin and finds the Bible’s assertion that “the reward of sin is death” an unacceptable doctrine. He then dismisses religion and fixes his mind on magic, which, when properly pursued, he believes will make him “a mighty god”.


            Wagner, Faustus’s servant, enters as his master finishes speaking. Faustus asks Wagner to bring Valdes and Cornelius, Faustus’s friends, to help him learn the art of magic. While they are on their way, a good angel and an evil angel visit Faustus. The good angel urges him to set aside his book of magic and read the Scriptures instead; the evil angel encourages him to go forward in his pursuit of the black arts. After they vanish, it is clear that Faustus is going to heed the evil spirit, since he exults at the great powers that the magical arts will bring him. Faustus imagines sending spirits to the end of the world to fetch him jewels and delicacies, having them teach him secret knowledge, and using magic to make himself king of all Germany.

            Valdes and Cornelius appear, and Faustus greets them, declaring that he has set aside all other forms of learning in favor of magic. They agree to teach Faustus the principles of the dark arts and describe the wondrous powers that will be his if he remains committed during his quest to learn magic. Cornelius tells him that “the miracles that magic will perform / Will make thee vow to study nothing else”. Valdes lists a number of texts that Faustus should read, and the two friends promise to help him become better at magic than even they are. Faustus invites them to dine with him, and they exit.

Scene 2:

            Two scholars come to see Faustus. Wagner makes jokes at their expense and then tells them that Faustus is meeting with Valdes and Cornelius. Aware that Valdes and Cornelius are in famous for their involvement in the black arts, the scholars leave with heavy hearts, fearing that Faustus may also be falling into “that damned art” as well.

Scene 3:

            That night, Faustus stands in a magical circle marked with various signs and words, and he chants in Latin. Four devils and Lucifer, the ruler of hell, watch him from the shadows. Faustus renounces heaven and God, swears allegiance to hell, and demands that Mephastophilis rise to serve him. The devil Mephastophilis then appears before Faustus, who commands him to depart and return dressed as a Franciscan friar, since “that holy shape becomes a devil best”. Mephastophilis vanishes, and Faustus remarks on his obedience. Mephastophilis then reappears, dressed as a monk, and asks Faustus what he desires. Faustus demands his obedience, but Mephastophilis says that he is Lucifer’s servant and can obey only Lucifer. He adds that he came because he heard Faustus deny obedience to God and hoped to capture his soul.

            Faustus quizzes Mephastophilis about Lucifer and hell and learns that Lucifer and all his devils were once angels who rebelled against God and have been damned to hell forever. Faustus points out that Mephastophilis is not in hell now but on earth; Mephastophilis insists, however, that he and his fellow demons are always in hell, even when they are on earth, because being deprived of the presence of God, which they once enjoyed, is hell enough. Faustus dismisses this sentiment as a lack of fortitude on Mephastophilis’s part and then declares that he will offer his soul to Lucifer in return for twenty-four years of Mephastophilis’s service. Mephastophilis agrees to take this offer to his master and departs. Left alone, Faustus remarks that if he had “as many souls as there be stars,” he would offer them all to hell in return for the kind of power that Mephastophilis offers him. He eagerly awaits Mephastophilis’s return.

Scene 4:

            Wagner converses with a clown and tries to persuade him to become his servant for seven

years. The clown is poor, and Wagner jokes that he would probably sell his soul to the devil for a shoulder of mutton; the clown answers that it would have to be well-seasoned mutton. After first agreeing to be Wagner’s servant, however, the clown abruptly changes his mind. Wagner threatens to cast a spell on him, and he then conjures up two devils, who he says will carry the clown away to hell unless he becomes Wagner’s servant. Seeing the devils, the clown becomes terrified and agrees to Wagner’s demands. After Wagner dismisses the devils, the clown asks his new master if he can learn to conjure as well, and Wagner promises to teach him how to turn himself into any kind of animal—but he insists on being called “Master Wagner”.

Scene 5:

            Faustus begins to waver in his conviction to sell his soul. The good angel tells him to abandon his plan and “think of heaven, and heavenly things,” but he dismisses the good angel’s words, saying that God does not love him. The good and evil angels make another appearance, with the good one again urging Faustus to think of heaven, but the evil angel convinces him that the wealth he can gain through his deal with the devil is worth the cost. Faustus then calls back Mephastophilis, who tells him that Lucifer has accepted his offer of his soul in exchange for twenty-four years of service. Faustus asks Mephastophilis why Lucifer wants his soul, and Mephastophilis tells him that Lucifer seeks to enlarge his kingdom and make humans suffer even as he suffers.

            Faustus decides to make the bargain, and he stabs his arm in order to write the deed in blood. However, when he tries to write the deed his blood congeals, making writing impossible.

Mephastophilis goes to fetch fire in order to loosen the blood, and, while he is gone, Faustus endures another bout of indecision, as he wonders if his own blood is attempting to warn him not to sell his soul. When Mephastophilis returns, Faustus signs the deed and then discovers an inscription on his arm that reads “Homo fuge,” Latin for “O man, fly”. While Faustus wonders where he should fly, Mephastophilis presents a group of devils, who cover Faustus with crowns and rich garments. Faustus puts aside his doubts. He hands over the deed, which promises his body and soul to Lucifer in exchange for twenty-four years of constant service from Mephastophilis.

            After he turns in the deed, Faustus asks his new servant where hell is located, and Mephastophilis says that it has no exact location but exists everywhere. He continues explaining, saying that hell is everywhere that the damned are cut off from God eternally. Faustus remarks that he thinks hell is a myth. At Faustus’s request for a wife, Mephastophilis offers Faustus a she-devil, but Faustus refuses. Mephastophilis then gives him a book of magic spells and tells him to read it carefully.

            Faustus once again wavers and leans toward repentance as he contemplates the wonders of heaven from which he has cut himself off. The good and evil angels appear again, and Faustus realizes that “my heart’s so hardened I cannot repent!”. He then begins to ask Mephastophilis questions about the planets and the heavens. Mephastophilis answers all his queries willingly, until Faustus asks who made the world. Mephastophilis refuses to reply because the answer is “against our kingdom”; when Faustus presses him, Mephastophilis departs angrily. Faustus then turns his mind to God, and again he wonders if it is too late for him to repent. The good and evil angels enter once more, and the good angel says it is never too late for Faustus to repent. Faustus begins to appeal to Christ for mercy, but then Lucifer, Belzebub (another devil), and Mephastophilis enter. They tell Faustus to stop thinking of God and then present a show of the Seven Deadly Sins. Each sin “Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, and finally Lechery” appears before Faustus and makes a brief speech. The sight of the sins delights Faustus’s soul, and he asks to see hell. Lucifer promises to take him there that night. For the meantime he gives Faustus a book that teaches him how to change his shape.

Scene 6:

            Meanwhile, Robin, a stable hand, has found one of Faustus’s conjuring books, and he is trying to learn the spells. He calls in an innkeeper named Ralph, and the two go to a bar together, where Robin promises to conjure up any kind of wine that Ralph desires.

Chorus 2:

            Wagner takes the stage and describes how Faustus traveled through the heavens on a chariot pulled by dragons in order to learn the secrets of astronomy. Wagner tells us that Faustus is now traveling to measure the coasts and kingdoms of the world and that his travels will take him to Rome.


Scene 7:

            Faustus appears, recounting to Mephastophilis his travels throughout Europe, first from

Germany to France and then on to Italy. He asks Mephastophilis if they have arrived in Rome, whose monuments he greatly desires to see, and Mephastophilis replies that they are in the pope’s privy chamber. It is a day of feasting in Rome, to celebrate the pope’s victories, and

Faustus and Mephastophilis agree to use their powers to play tricks on the pope. As Faustus and Mephastophilis watch, the pope comes in with his attendants and a prisoner, Bruno, who had attempted to become pope with the backing of the German emperor. While the pope declares that he will depose the emperor and forces Bruno to swear allegiance to him, Faustus and Mephastophilis disguise themselves as cardinals and come before the pope. The pope gives Bruno to them, telling them to carry him off to prison; instead, they give him a fast horse and send him back to Germany.

            Later, the pope confronts the two cardinals whom Faustus and Mephastophilis have impersonated. When the cardinals say that they never were given custody of Bruno, the pope sends them to the dungeon. Faustus and Mephastophilis, both invisible, watch the proceedings and chuckle. The pope and his attendants then sit down to dinner. During the meal, Faustus and Mephastophilis make themselves invisible and curse noisily and then snatch dishes and food as they are passed around the table. The churchmen suspect that there is some ghost in the room, and the pope begins to cross himself, much to the dismay of Faustus and Mephastophilis. Faustus boxes the pope’s ear, and the pope and all his attendants run away. A group of friars enters, and they sing a dirge damning the unknown spirit that has disrupted the meal. Mephastophilis and Faustus beat the friars, fling fireworks among them, and flee.

Scene 8:

            Robin the ostler, or stablehand, and his friend Ralph have stolen a cup from a tavern. They are pursued by a vintner (or wine-maker), who demands that they return the cup. They claim not to have it, and then Robin conjures up Mephastophilis, which makes the vintner flee. Mephastophilis is not pleased to have been summoned for a prank, and he threatens to turn the two into an ape and a dog. The two friends treat what they have done as a joke, and Mephastophilis leaves in a fury, saying that he will go to join Faustus in Turkey.

Chorus 3

            The Chorus enters to inform us that Faustus has returned home to Germany and developed his fame by explaining what he learned during the course of his journey. The German emperor, Charles V, has heard of Faustus and invited him to his palace, where we next encounter him.

Scene 9:

            At the court of the emperor, two gentlemen, Martino and Frederick, discuss the imminent arrival of Bruno and Faustus. Martino remarks that Faustus has promised to conjure up Alexander the Great, the famous conqueror. The two of them wake another gentleman, Benvolio, and tell him to come down and see the new arrivals, but Benvolio declares that he would rather watch the action from his window, because he has a hangover. Faustus comes before the emperor, who thanks him for having freed Bruno from the clutches of the pope. Faustus acknowledges the gratitude and then says that he stands ready to fulfill any wish that the emperor might have. Benvolio, watching from above, remarks to himself that Faustus looks nothing like what he would expect a conjurer to look like. The emperor tells Faustus that he would like to see Alexander the Great and his lover. Faustus tells him that he cannot produce their actual bodies but can create spirits resembling them. A knight (Benvolio) present in the court is skeptical, and asserts that it is as untrue that Faustus can perform this feat as that the goddess Diana has transformed the knight into a stag.


            Before the eyes of the court, Faustus creates a vision of Alexander embracing his lover (in the B text, Alexander’s great rival, the Persian king Darius, also appears; Alexander defeats Darius and then, along with his lover, salutes the emperor). Faustus conjures a pair of antlers onto the head of the knight (Benvolio). The knight pleads for mercy, and the emperor entreats Faustus to remove the horns. Faustus complies, warning Benvolio to have more respect for scholars in the future.

            With his friends Martino and Frederick and a group of soldiers, Benvolio plots an attack against Faustus. His friends try to dissuade him, but he is so furious at the damage done to his reputation that he will not listen to reason. They resolve to ambush Faustus as he leaves the court of the emperor and to take the treasures that the emperor has given Faustus. Frederick goes out with the soldiers to scout and returns with word that Faustus is coming toward them and that he is alone. When Faustus enters, Benvolio stabs him and cuts off his head. He and his friends rejoice, and they plan the further indignities that they will visit on Faustus’s corpse. But then Faustus rises with his head restored. Faustus tells them that they are fools, since his life belongs to Mephastophilis and cannot be taken by anyone else. He summons Mephastophilis, who arrives with a group of lesser devils, and orders the devils to carry his attackers off to hell.

            Then, reconsidering, he orders them instead to punish Benvolio and his friends by dragging them through thorns and hurling them off of cliffs, so that the world will see what happens to people who attack Faustus. As the men and devils leave, the soldiers come in, and Faustus summons up another clutch of demons to drive them off. Benvolio, Frederick, and Martino reappear. They are bruised and bloody from having been chased and harried by the devils, and all three of them now have horns sprouting from their heads. They greet one another unhappily, express horror at the fate that has befallen them, and agree to conceal themselves in a castle rather than face the scorn of the world.

Scene 10:

            Faustus, meanwhile, meets a horse-courser and sells him his horse. He warns him not to ride the horse into the water. Faustus begins to reflect on the pending expiration of his contract with Lucifer and falls asleep. The horse-courser reappears, sopping wet, complaining that when he rode his horse into a stream it turned into a heap of straw. He decides to get his money back and tries to wake Faustus by hollering in his ear. He then pulls on Faustus’s leg when Faustus will not wake. The leg breaks off, and Faustus wakes up, screaming bloody murder. The horse-courser takes the leg and runs off. Meanwhile, Faustus’s leg is immediately restored, and he laughs at the joke that he has played. Wagner then enters and tells Faustus that the Duke of Vanholt has summoned him. Faustus agrees to go, and they depart together.

            Robin and Rafe have stopped for a drink in a tavern. They listen as a carter, or wagon-driver, and the horse-courser discuss Faustus. The carter explains that Faustus stopped him on the road and asked to buy some hay to eat. The carter agreed to sell him all he could eat for three farthings, and Faustus proceeded to eat the entire wagonload of hay. The horse-courser tells  his own story, adding that he took Faustus’s leg as revenge and that he is keeping it at his home. Robin declares that he intends to seek out Faustus, but only after he has a few more drinks.

Scene 11:

            At the court of the Duke of Vanholt, Faustus’s skill at conjuring up beautiful illusions wins theduke’s favor. Faustus comments that the duchess has not seemed to enjoy the show and asksher what she would like. She tells him she would like a dish of ripe grapes, and Faustus has Mephastophilis bring her some grapes. (In the B text of Doctor Faustus, Robin, Dick, the carter, the horse-courser, and the hostess from the tavern burst in at this moment. They confront

Faustus, and the horse-courser begins making jokes about what he assumes is Faustus’s wooden leg. Faustus then shows them his leg, which is whole and healthy, and they are amazed. Each then launches into a complaint about Faustus’s treatment of him, but Faustus uses magical charms to make them silent, and they depart.) The duke and duchess are much pleased with Faustus’s display, and they promise to reward Faustus greatly.

Chorus 4:

            Wagner announces that Faustus must be about to die because he has given Wagner all of his wealth. But he remains unsure, since Faustus is not acting like a dying man—rather, he is out carousing with scholars.

Scene 12:

            Faustus enters with some of the scholars. One of them asks Faustus if he can produce Helen of Greece (also known as Helen of Troy), who they have decided was “the admirablest lady / that ever lived”. Faustus agrees to produce her, and gives the order to Mephastophilis immediately, Helen herself crosses the stage, to the delight of the scholars. The scholars leave, and an old man enters and tries to persuade Faustus to repent. Faustus becomes distraught, and Mephastophilis hands him a dagger. However, the old man persuades him to appeal to God for mercy, saying, “I see an angel hovers o’er thy head / And with a vial full of precious grace / Offers to pour the same into thy soul!”. Once the old man leaves, Mephastophilis threatens to shred Faustus to pieces if he does not reconfirm his vow to Lucifer. Faustus complies, sealing his vow by once again stabbing his arm and inscribing it in blood. He asks Mephastophilis to punish the old man for trying to dissuade him from continuing in Lucifer’s service; Mephastophilis says that he cannot touch the old man’s soul but that he will scourge his body. Faustus then asks Mephastophilis to let him see Helen again. Helen enters, and Faustus makes a great speech about her beauty and kisses her.


Scene 13:

            The final night of Faustus’s life has come, and he tells the scholars of the deal he has made with Lucifer. They are horrified and ask what they can do to save him, but he tells them that there is nothing to be done. Reluctantly, they leave to pray for Faustus. A vision of hell opens before Faustus’s horrified eyes as the clock strikes eleven. The last hour passes by quickly, and Faustus exhorts the clocks to slow and time to stop, so that he might live a little longer and have a chance to repent. He then begs God to reduce his time in hell to a thousand years or a hundred thousand years, so long as he is eventually saved. He wishes that he were a beast and would simply cease to exist when he dies instead of face damnation. He curses his parents and himself, and the clock strikes midnight. Devils enter and carry Faustus away as he screams,

“Ugly hell gape not! Come not, Lucifer! / I’ll burn my books—ah, Mephastophilis!”


            The Chorus enters and warns the wise “only to wonder at unlawful things” and not to trade their souls for forbidden knowledge.

  1. Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus


  • ‘Lucifer’ is the other name for……………… (PT – 2012)

      (A) Eve                        (B) Satan                     (C) Adam                    (D) Angel


  • ‘Doctor Faustus’ is termed as a …………… play. (PT – 2012)

      (A) morality                 (B) satirical                 (C) historical               (D) revolutionary


  • Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’ is based on a ……………… story. (PT – 2012)

      (A) German                 (B) French                   (C) Roman                  (D) Italian


  • Faustus begins and ends with the words of……………… (PT – 2006)

      (A) the Good Angel     (B) the Chorus             (C) Faustus                 (D) the Scholars


  • In the play Faustus, Faustus makes a pact with the devil through……. (PT – 2006)

      (A) Beelzebub              (B) Wagner                  (C) Mephistophilis       (D) Cornelius


  • Faustus is a drama in ……………… (PT – 2006)

      (A) blank Verse                                               (B) prose                                                         (C) rhyming couplets                             (D) blank verse and prose


  • Faustus wants sweet …………. to make him immortal with a kiss. (DIET – 2016)

      (A) Venus                    (B) Minerva                 (C) Helen                    (D) Juno


  • Faustus is advised by his friends ………… and …….. to study necromancy. (PG – 2015)

      (A) Horace and Tony                                      (B) Abraham and Chaplain                            (C) Ferdinand and Joan                                  (D) Valdes and Cornelius


  • When Faustus signs the treaty with Lucifer, the words that appear on his arm are……

(PG – 2015)

      (A) Homofuge                         (B) Consummatum est (C) Veni mephistophile (D) Vis-à-vis


  • Before his damnation, what is the last wish made by Faustus concerning his soul?

(PG – 2013)

  1. A) may his soul go to heaven (B) he wishes, he had no soul, like the animals

      (C) may his soul rest in peace                                                                                                 (D) he should not have rebirth


  • Marlowe through Doctor Faustus gives an old ……………… a glowing Renaissance setting. (PG – 2012)

      (A) Mesolithic legend                                      (B) Neolithic tale                                             (C) Medieval legend                                            (D) Middle Paleolithic tale


  • Faustus was an adaptation of ………….. (PG – 2003)

      (A) Homer                   (B) Virgil                     (C) Goethe                  (D) Plato


  • “Was this face that launched a thousand ships………”. Here ‘the face’ refers to the face of……………. (PG – 2004)

      (A) Rosalind                                                    (B) Helen of Troy                                            (C) Venus                                                  (D) Duchess of Vanholt


  • Faustus conjures up Alexander the Great in the court of ………….. (Engg – 2016)

      (A) German Emperor                                      (B) Greek Emperor                                         (C) Egyptian Emperor                            (D) French emperor


  • In the Prologue, who introduces the story of Doctor Faustus?

      (A) The chorus                                                            (B) Faustus                                                      (C) Lucifer                                                       (D) Good and Bad Angels


  • Where was Mephistophilis when Robin and Rafe summoned him?

      (A) Egypt                     (B) America                 (C) Constantinople      (D) Rome


  • Faustus signs this contract with the devil in blood. What problem does he encounter?

      (A) He doesn’t have enough blood                  (B) His blood congeals

      (C) The blood smears on the page                  (D) He passes out


  • After Faustus finishes signing the contract, two Latin words appear inscribed on his arm: ‘Homo fuge’. What is the translation of these words?

      (A) Fly, man                                                    (B) Property of devil

      (C) Thou art damned                                      (D) Empty soul


  • What reason does Mephostophilis give for not answering the question about the nature of the world?

      (A) He does not feel like it                  

      (B) Answering questions was not part of the contract

      (C) He will be punished if he answers

      (D) It is against their kingdom

  • One of Marlowe’s earliest published works was his translation of the epic poem ‘Pharsalia’, written by which Roman poet?

      (A) Lucan                    (B) Virgil                     (C) Ovid                      (D) Horace

  • Marlowe’s poem ‘The Passionate Shepherd to His Love’ begins with the line “Come live with me and be my love”; which other English author wrote a famous poem beginning with this line?

      (A) Thomas Kyd                                              (B) William Shakespeare

      (C) John Donne                                              (D) John Dryden


  • Doctor Faustus is a scholar from ……………

      (A) England                 (B) Germany               (C) France                  (D) Italy

  • Faustus has a servant named ……………….

      (A) Wagner                  (B) Meme                    (C) Robin                    (D) Ralph


  • Faustus is a scholar at the University of ……………….

      (A) Bern                      (B) Paris                      (C) Cologne                (D) Wittenburg

  • To which Greek mythological character is Faustus compared in the Prologue?

      (A) Hercules                (B) Perseus                  (C) Icarus                    (D) Theseus

  • What fields of learning does Faustus consider before he turns to magic?

      (A) Chemistry, biology, and physics 

      (B) Logic, medicine, law, and theology

      (C) Navigation, astronomy, rhetoric, and theology

      (D) Grammar, history, science, and Latin

  • As a magician, Faustus hopes to become equal to the magician ……….

      (A) Agrippa                 (B) Cornelius               (C) Mephistophilis       (D) Valdes

  • When Mephostophilis first enters, Faustus says that he is too ugly and demands him to return as something else. How does Faustus ask him to appear?

      (A) In the shape of a Franciscan friar                                                                                     (B) In the shape of a beautiful woman

      (C) As a winged creature with horn                                                                                                    (D) As a handsome young man      

  • What is the name of the ruler of hell in Doctor Faustus?

      (A) Moloch                  (B) Mephistopheles      (C) Lucifer                   (D) Beelzebub


  • How does Faustus sign his compact with Lucifer?

      (A) In his own blood                                        (B) In the blood of a virgin

      (C) In ink produced in hell                              (D) He doesn’t

  • Who agrees, under duress, to become Wagner’s servant?

      (A) Faustus                  (B) The clown              (C) Beelzebub              (D) Helen of Troy

  • What does Mephistopheles refuse to tell Faustus?

      (A) If Faustus will be damned                         (B) How many planets there are

      (C) Where hell is located                                 (D) Who made the world

  • What trick does Faustus, while invisible, play on the pope?

      (A) He makes a Bible burn in the pope’s hands

      (B) He exposes the pope’s baldness

      (C) He fools the pope into believing a statue is talking to him

      (D) He steals dishes of food and disrupts the pope’s banquet

  • Which historical figure does Faustus conjure up for the German emperor to see?

      (A) Helen of Troy                                            (B) Jesus Christ                                               (C) Joan of Arc                                          (D) Alexander the Great


  • Which character is publicly skeptical of Faustus’s powers?

      (A) Charles V                                                  (B) Benvolio

      (C) The horse-courser                                     (D) The hostler

  • Who tries to persuade Faustus to repent and to ask god for mercy?

      (A) An Old man           (B) Wagner                  (C) The Scholar from Wittenberg University   (D) The Knight


  • How does Faustus humiliate the knight?

      (A) He turns his skin green

      (B) He makes him unable to speak

      (C) He makes antlers sprout from the skeptic’s head

      (D) He hypnotizes him and makes him strip naked

  • What happens to the horse that Faustus sells to the horse-courser?

      (A) It turns into a dragon

      (B) It dies immediately

      (C) It lives a long and healthy life

      (D) It turns into a heap of straw when it goes in the water

  • What does the horse-courser think he is removing from Faustus’s body?

      (A) His shirt                 (B) His leg                   (C) His cloak               (D) His hand


  • What does Faustus fetch for the Duchess of Vanholt?

      (A) A male slave          (B) A griffin                 (C) A dish of grapes    (D) A horse

  • According to Mephistopheles, where is hell?

      (A) Everywhere that heaven is not                  (B) Deep below the earth’s surface

      (C) Inside Faustus’s soul                                 (D) Directly beneath heaven

  • What famous beauty does Mephistopheles present to Faustus?

      (A) Joan of Arc                                                            (B) Eleanor of Aquitaine

      (C) Catherine the Great                                              (D) Helen of Troy

  • What happens to Faustus at the end of the play?

      (A) He repents and is saved                                        (B) He kills himself

      (C) He becomes emperor of Germany                        (D) He is carried off to hell

  • Faustus hopes to make the spirits erect a wall of brass around………….

      (A) France                   (B) England                 (C) Scotland                (D) Germany


  • In Marlowe’s play, what was the name of the Jew of Malta?

      (A) Solomon                (B) Lazarus                 (C) Shylock                  (D) Barabas


  • Lucifer parades the Seven Deadly Sins ……….

      (A) to prove his power to Faustus                   (B) to make Faustus happy

      (C) to divert Faustus from thoughts of God    (D) to get eternal bliss

  • Which among the following statements is not correct? Faustus appeals ………. in the last scene?

      (A) to the mountain to cover him                     (B) to the earth to swallow him

      (C) to the God to change him into a beast      (D) to the stars to draw him into the clouds


  • Who says, “A sound magician is a demi God, Here tire my brains to get a deity”?

      (A) Mephistophilis       (B) Valdes                   (C) Lucifer                   (D) Faustus


  • When, is it estimated, was ‘Dr Faustus’ first performed?

      (A) 1590                      (B) 1593                     (C) 1604                       (D) 1594


  • What does Faustus promise to the devil in exchange for great knowledge, riches and power for a period of 24 years?

      (A) his body                 (B) his house               (C) his soul                  (D) his horse

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