Comic Scenes of Dr. Faustus (Scene: VI & VII)
Tragedy generally emphasizes human suffering but ends with rigid finality. It also criticizes hubris, self-delusion, and complacency. However, sometimes comic scenes must be included in a tragedy with a dramatic purpose. Dr. Faustus is a tragic play with the mood of dark and serious play, but there were also comic scenes. It is very difficult to hold an audience's attention with hours of serious, deep and emotional content without also having something to lighten the mood. That’s why Marlowe added comic scenes in it. Still, many critics say that Christopher Marlowe did not even write these scenes but instead say that they were written later by other playwrights. Many critics are of the opinion that the comic elements in these scenes are low and vulgar.
The literary term for such comic interludes is known as comic relief. A tragedy is bound to create tension in the mind of the audience and if this tension is not relaxed from time to time, it creates some sort of emotional weakness in the mind of the audience. Hence, comic scenes are a necessity to ease the tension and refresh the mind. There was a pressing demand from the side of Elizabethan audience for such interludes. Hence, playwrights had to introduce such comic scenes as the producers also demanded them for a successful run of the play.
In scene VI and VII, we find only three comic scenes. Science, the beginning of Scene VI, Faustus is alone in his study. Then, Mephistophilis appears and a bond is signed with the blood of Faustus. Mephistophilis gives Faustus a book of magic which contains all the knowledge that Faustus. After that Lucifer orders seven deadly sins (pride, covetousness, wrath, envy, gluttony, sloth and Lechery) to entertain Faustus. Faustus questions each of the seven sins who describe themselves. This situation provides comic relief to the audiences. This scene all along is in a serious tone. But Marlowe is converted the serious scene to comic scene.
At the end of scene VI, Dick and Robin once again provide comic relief. Robin has stolen one of Faustus’ conjuring books and wants to make all the girls in the village dance for him. He also wants to use the book to get drunk. Dick and Robin have no connection with the main theme of the play. But they have importance in this play.
Scene VI, prepares us for Faustus' entry into the comic world by telling us to observe him and Mephistophilis as they stand invisible in the court of the Pope. The Pope is mocked and struck on the head, food is snatched from his hands, eating utensils and serving vessels are dashed to the floor. Bewildered and desperately using his occult powers to save himself from the demon in his presence, the Pope stands duped, busily making the sign of the cross, lacking even the wit of Robin. This scene culminates in the mock incantation of the Friars as they; attempt to appease the ghost "crept out of Purgatory."
Doctor Faustus is not comical and poorly