Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reading Period 6: September 4 - 10: Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe


You must read the play, "The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus," by Christopher Marlowe, from the beginning to the second appearance of the chorus. This means reading through scene VI. If you are moved to read the whole thing, do it. It's not that long.

At this link, you'll find an annotated version, broken up into scenes, from Bartleby.com.

At this link, you'll find an annotated version all on one page, from Gutenberg.org.

It is very important to look at the notes! There are lots of Latin phrases in this play, including the incantations! Also, there are lots of allusions and literary and historical references -- the notes will be helpful to you in figuring all this out.

Also, make sure you are reading the correct play and not the play by Goethe. It's entirely different -- a very different ending, for example.



Take a look at three different representations of Mephistopheles in costume. Some designers make him look like a devil with horns and face paint. Some portray him as more human. Now pretend you are in charge of costumes for a production of Dr. Faustus. How will you dress Mephistopheles? List the elements of your costume that the actor will need to create your look, and do a sketch to illustrate your idea.


Faustus is thought to be based on Johann Georg Faust, a German alchemist who was part of the German Renaissance. Research and find four other important people in the German Renaissance, and say what they are famous for.


Dr. Faustus was a controversial play in its time. Pretend you are an Elizabethan audience member, and write an angry letter to the theater owner declaring that Marlowe's play is offensive. Then write a letter from the theater owner back to the complaining patron declaring that he/she is full of it.


This quiz covers the content of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe from the beginning up to the second time the chorus comes in. This excerpt is about 1/3 of the play, or scenes 1-6.

1.The chorus, at the beginning of the play, introduce Faustus as a character. What is his history?
A. Born a commoner, educated at Wittenberg, now a Doctor of Divinity, obsessed with necromancy.
B. Born a commoner, educated at Rhodes, now a medical doctor, obsessed with necromancy.
C. Born a nobleman, educated at Wittenberg, now a necromancer.
D. Born a nobleman, educated at Rhodes, now obsessed with human flight.
E. Born in Wittenberg, educated at Rhodes, now living in Tangiers.

2.What Greek myth is referenced in these lines from the chorus, and also in this painting by Herbert James Draper? Till swoln with cunning, of 3 a self-conceit, His waxen wings did mount above his reach, And, melting, heavens conspir'd his overthrow;

A. Troilus and Cressida
B. King Minas and the Minotaur
C. Icarus and Daedelus
D. Pasiphrae
E. Jatayu

3.What duo do you see in Dr. Faustus that you recognize from lots of modern cartoons and cultural references?
A. Mephistopheles and Lucifer
B. The Good Angel and the Bad Angel

C. Valdes and Cornelius
D. First Scholar and Second Scholar
E. Wagner and Clown

4.What book is Faustus reading when he says this: Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in nobis veritas; If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. Why, then, belike we must sin, and so consequently die: Ay, we must die an everlasting death. What doctrine call you this, Che sera, sera, What will be, shall be? Divinity, adieu!
A. Aristotle
B. A necromancy book.
C. Plato
D. The Bible
E. Plutarch

5.Frustrated by Aristotle and the Bible, Faustus declares he wants to call up spirits to bring him things and answer all his questions. What all does he want them to do?
A. Tell him secrets of foreign kings.
B. Build a brass wall around Germany.
C. Bring him gold from India.
D. Dress public school students in silk.
E. All of the above.

6.Faustus sends for Valdes and Cornelius. What do they do?
A. Tell him not to seek unnatural knowledge.
B. Warn him about the dangers of calling up demons.
C. Beg him to teach them about his magical arts.
D. Try to save him from his fate.
E. Encourage him and instruct him in magic.

7.When Mephistopheles first appears, Dr. Faustus sends him away immediately. Why did he send the demon away?
A. He decided he didn't want to summon the demon after all.
B. He wanted a different demon.
C. He wanted the demon to change his appearance to something more becoming.
D. He was too terrified of the demon.
E. He wasn't ready to begin commanding the demon yet.

8.What does Mephistopheles say was the reason he came to Dr. Faustus?
A. Because he was endangering his soul by turning his back on godliness.
B. Because of the Latin incantations.
C. Because of the pentagram on the ground.
D. Because the name Jehovah was anagrammized forwards and backwards in a circle.
E. Because Lucifer told him to come.

9.What does Mephistopheles' answer to Faustus mean? FAUSTUS. How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell? MEPHIST. Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it: Think'st thou that I, that saw the face of God, And tasted the eternal joys of heaven, Am not tormented with ten thousand hells, In being depriv'd of everlasting bliss?
A. He is allowed out of hell when summoned by scientists.
B. He is currently in heaven, having never left.
C. Earth is a geographical feature of hell.
D. Having experienced heaven, anything else is hell.
E. He is only allowed out of hell to collect damned souls.

10.What adjective best describes the following passage from Dr. Faustus? Had I as many souls as there be stars, I'd give them all for Mephistophilis. By him I'll be great emperor of the world, And make a bridge thorough 37 the moving air, To pass the ocean with a band of men; I'll join the hills that bind the Afric shore, And make that country continent to Spain, And both contributary to my crown: The Emperor shall not live but by my leave, Nor any potentate of Germany.
A. Brave
B. Arrogant
C. Humble
D. Hopeful
E. Generous

11.How does Dr. Faustus sign the contract with Lucifer?
A. Blood from his arm.
B. Blood from his neck.
C. Ink from a chuch.
D. Ink from hell.
E. Ashes from the fireplace.

12.What is the first question Dr. Faustus asks Mephistopheles?
A. When will he die?
B. How did Lucifer fall?
C. Who is God?
D. Where is heaven?
E. Where is hell?

13.What did Faustus do that caused Lucifer to show up?
A. He offended Lucifer by calling on Christ.
B. He asked Mephistopheles too many questions.
C. He asked Mephistopheles who made the earth.
D. He called him forth with an incantation.
E. He said he was ready for his soul to be harvested.

14.What entertainment do Beelzebub and Lucifer being to pass the time with Faustus?
A. The ten plagues of Egypt.
B. The damned souls of Aristotle and Plato.
C. The seven deadly sins.
D. Dick and Robin.
E. Good angel and evil angel.


We have our first live meeting in one week! Can't wait to discuss Dr. Faustus with you all in person. Bring with you any questions you may have, any problems, worries, concerns, confusions, delusions, and of course fondue recipes. I'll bring the artificial colors and flavors.

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