Dr John Faustus

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  • 1. Dr John Faustus
    • Background:
    • Rose from poverty to become a respected theologist in an established university
    • Was tempted by the prospect of the power that black magic would give.
    • In exchange for the servitude of a devil (Mephastophilis), he signed away his soul (in blood) to Lucifer, the devil.
    • Was given several chances to repent and be redeemed, but in the end still fell into despair and continued on his doomed path.
    • At the end of the book, we see Faustus being carried away by devils to Hell.
  • 2. A Brief Summary (part 1)
    • (Scene 1) In a monologue, Faustus reveals that he is tempted by black magic, and resolves to study it. (appearance of Good/Evil angels)
    • (Scene 3) Faustus begins to conjure. Mephastophilis (a devil) appears. He reveals that he would only be commanded by Faustus if Faustus served Lucifer (also known as Satan, the Devil)
    • (Scene 5) Faustus recognises that he is doomed if he pursues this route. (appearance of Good/Evil angels) However, he does not give up, and signs a contract selling his soul to the devil, in return for the servitude of Mephastophilis for 24 years.
  • 3. A Brief Summary (part 2)
    • (Scene 7) Faustus wavers between despair and a desire to repent. When Faustus mentions God, Lucifer appears, and reveals to him the seven deadly sins.
    • (Scene 8ff) Faustus and Mephastophilis play slapstick pranks on several people (the Pope among them)
    • (Scene 11) Faustus produces a bunch of grapes when they were not in season for a pregnant lady who craved them.
  • 4. A Brief Summary (part 3)
    • (Scene 12) Faustus’ students request to see the world’s most beautiful woman, and Helen of Troy appears. Seeing this, an Old Man urges Faustus to repent. However, Faustus despairs yet again, renews his pledge to Lucifer, and asks for Helen as his lover.
    • (Scene 13) The 24 year lease Faustus signed with Lucifer in his blood is almost up. He begs scholars to pray for him. He has a vision of Christ’s blood but still does not repent. His time runs up, and devils appear to carry him to Hell.
  • 5. Comparison between characters in era : Elizabethan
    • excelled in theology (was religiously ‘sound’)
    • as a doctor, helped cure many cities of the plague (his ‘bills’ could wards off the plague should they be hung at the gates of the city
    • was well-respected in university circles (scholars in the later part of the book seek him)
    • Originally loyal his monarch (Kind Duncan)
    • was a brave, valiant warrior. (at the start of the book, he returns from yet another victory. The King rewards him by making him Thane of Cawdor, suggesting the respect and honour he receives from others.)
    Was originally a protagonist Dr Faustus Macbeth
  • 6.
    • By the riches, wealth, knowledge, and above all, immortality Black Magic was rumoured to give.
    • Mephastophilis, also later showed him Helen, and the book of all knowledge, which he could provide, or take away, should Faustus prove disloyal to Lucifer
    • By the three witches (known as agents of the devil, also referred to as such by Banquo), who promised him power indirectly: ‘foresaw’ greater futures for Macbeth, and making him wonder how he was going to be able to reach those positions of power. (ie, by murder of the current King, as suggested by Lady Macbeth.)
    Tempted (by the promise of power – and indirectly, by the devil Dr Faustus Macbeth
  • 7.
    • also in a dilemma as shown by the good angel/evil angel scene (representing his conscience and his desires) (Act 1 Scene 5 Line 14+)
    • an old man was also shown, towards the end of the book where Faustus realises that he is doomed, to give up his worldly desires, confess his sins, turn to God and beg for forgiveness. (scene 12 line 34)
    • Doubted the grace of God, and God’s power to forgive and save himself from the clutches of Lucifer.
    • was consumed with guilt after he killed King Duncan so that he could gain the throne
    • Before killing Kind Duncan, was in a dilemma.
    Had a choice and a chance to repent Dr Faustus Macbeth
  • 8. Helen of Troy - not directly evil, but was used by Mephastophilis to tempt Faustus to turn back to the devil when he was about to be convinced by the old man to repent. Faustus was infatuated with Helen and turned back to the devil so that Mephastophilis would allow him to have Helen. (Scene 12 Line 40ff) Lady Macbeth - (scene 7) When Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he has changed his mind, as his conscience troubles him during his banquet with King Duncan (among other guests), but Lady Macbeth bullies him (by insulting at cajoling him at turn) to return to her original plan to kill King Duncan so that Macbeth could succeed as King. Women in their lives – both whom they quite possibly loved, and both who caused them to turn back to evil when they were in a dilemma Dr Faustus Macbeth
  • 9. Conclusions on the Elizabethan Era
    • Had a very religious (probably Christianity: Protestantism/Catholicism?) (speaker will elaborate)