Doctor Faustus scene analysis and key quotes

A summary and analysis on each scene of Doctor Faustus and key quotes

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  • Created on: 18-06-12 17:53
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Doctor Faustus Key Quotes
Reference to Greek mythology; Ovid, Metamorphosis, Icarus and Daedalus try to escape Crete but
Icarus flies too close to sun, wings melt, drowns in sea.
"His waxen wings did mount above his reach"
"He surfeits upon cursed necromancy"
Faustus imagines giving himself over wholly to each field of knowledge but they all seem useless to
him ­ Aristotle teaches goal of logic is "to dispute well", can gain nothing further from him, turns to
medicine but decides it's not worth studying because he has already achieved fame for his cures,
next step would be to achieve immortality. Faustus reads incomplete fragments of the Bible to suit
his cause, stops before God's forgiveness.
"These metaphysics of magicians/ And necromantic books are heavenly!" ­ Faustus
"The reward of sin is death. That's hard." - Faustus
"A sound magician is a mighty god./ Here, Faustus, try thy brains to gain a deity." - Faustus
"'Tis magic, magic that hath ravished me" - Faustus
"If learned Faustus will be resolute" - Valdes
"Valdes, as resolute am I in this/As thou to live" - Faustus
Wagner teases Scholars with a parody of scholarly discourse. Uses literal interpretations of their
remarks and playful manipulations of logic and theology. Scene serves to shows us warmth,
friendship and community Faustus lost by taking up black magic, suggests how petty scholarship is
and provides audience with relaxation and variety.
"I fear he is fall'n into that damned art" ­ First Scholar
"let us go and inform the Rector, and see if he...can reclaim him"
Faustus's opening soliloquy picks up imagery of the elements, creating a sinister and threatening
atmosphere, begins with invocation to darkness. Spirit's intolerably ugly appearance could be
represented various ways, 1624 edition shows Faustus conjuring up a monster. Faustus fails to
understand the significance of not having complete power over Meph.
"fear not, Faustus, but be resolute" - Faustus
"Such is the force of magic and my spells" - Faustus
"No more than he commands must we perform" - Mephistopheles
"When we hear one rack the name of God...We fly in hope to get his glorious soul" - Mephistopheles
"Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer, Conspired against our God with Lucifer, And are forever
damned with Lucifer" - Mephistopheles
"Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it" - Mephistopheles

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Think'st thou that I...Am not tormented with ten thousand hells/In being deprived of everlasting
bliss?" - Mephistopheles
"Oh Faustus, leave these frivolous demands" ­ Mephistopheles
"Had I as many souls as there be stars,/I'd give them all for Mephistopheles" - Faustus
In spite of physical destitution, Robin or `Clown' is alert and pragmatic, incongruity, capable of
defending himself verbally despite being uneducated. Scene mimics preceding scene, conjuring
devil, striking a bargain.…read more

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Mephistopheles" "sweet Mephistopheles"
"Hath Mephistopheles no greater skill?" ­ Faustus
"go, accursed spirit, to ugly hell!...Is't not too late?"
"Faustus vows never to look to heaven" ­ Faustus
Wagner's language dignified and glamorous, polysyllables, richly visualised images and elegant
Scene opens to give us a sense of exotic, glamorous foreign travel. Iconoclastic mockery of
self-important figures. Humour ­ confusion and helpless anger of the churchmen, bathos of Friar's
formal cursing.…read more

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Wagner as chorus reminds audience of Faustus's approaching death, back in Wittenberg he leads a
drunken and self-indulgent life, and it puzzles Wagner that he seems to find death of no concern. F
may believe he's safe from damnation, Meph told him ordinary life on earth counts as hell.
"methinks that if death were near He would not banquet and carouse and swill" ­ Wagner
After the prosaic simplicities of low comic scenes, language returns to former rich intensity.…read more



A short synopsis of each scene provides a good overview of the play; interesting quotes have been identified for each of these scenes as well which is helpful.

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