Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reading Period 6: Supplemental Posts / Lessons

Here are the assignments and discussion topics posted on the Google+ Community:

1. Before he sells his soul to the devil, Dr. Faustus is already feeling pretty irreverent toward God and the Church. When he sends Mephistopheles away to change his shape, he has a peculiar request for a change in attire. What does this mean: 

“I charge thee to return, and change thy shape;
     Thou art too ugly to attend on me:
     Go, and return an old Franciscan friar;
     That holy shape becomes a devil best."

2. Visit the Christopher Marlowe society online, and answer these questions: 

A) Was his hair totally fabulous?
B) What is the name of the restored Elizabethan theater at Bankside, London, that produced Marlowe’s Dido Queen of Carthage in March?
C) What is the motto of the Christopher Marlowe Society? 

3. Try your hand at translating the Latin of Faustus’ incantation. Even if you have to guess! Resist Google Translate at all costs. 

Sint mihi dii Acherontis propitii!  
Valeat numen triplex Jehovoe!
Ignei, aerii, aquatani spiritus, salvete!  
Orientis princeps Belzebub, inferni ardentis monarcha, et Demogorgon, propitiamus vos, ut appareat et surgat Mephistophilis Dragon, quod tumeraris: per Jehovam, Gehennam, et consecratam aquam quam nunc spargo, signumque crucis quod nunc facio, et per vota nostra, ipse nunc surgat nobis dicatus Mephistophilis!

4. I find the astronomical information that Mephistopheles gives to Dr. Faustus to be so interesting. What prevailing scientific thoughts from Marlowe's time are reflected in the "truths" that Mephistopheles shares? 

What was the prevailing opinion of the time in terms of astronomical question? 

    Come, Mephistophilis, let us dispute again,
     And reason of divine astrology.
     Speak, are there many spheres above the moon?
     Are all celestial bodies but one globe,
     As is the substance of this centric earth?

     MEPHIST. As are the elements, such are the heavens,
     Even from the moon unto th' empyreal orb,
     Mutually folded in each other's spheres,
     And jointly move upon one axletree,
     Whose termine 75 is term'd the world's wide pole;
     Nor are the names of Saturn, Mars, or Jupiter
     Feign'd, but are erring 76 stars.

     FAUSTUS. But have they all one motion, both situ et tempore?

     MEPHIST. All move from east to west in four-and-twenty
     hours upon the poles of the world; but differ in their motions
     upon the poles of the zodiac.

5. What specifically is the deal that Dr. Faustus wants to strike with Lucifer? What is the deal that Faustus wants Mephistopheles to make with Lucifer? Check this passage:

Go bear these tidings to great Lucifer:
     Seeing Faustus hath incurr'd eternal death
     By desperate thoughts against Jove's deity,
     Say, he surrenders up to him his soul,
     So he will spare him four and twenty years,
     Letting him live in all voluptuousness;
     Having thee ever to attend on me,
     To give me whatsoever I shall ask,
     To tell me whatsoever I demand,
     To slay mine enemies, and to aid my friends,
     And always be obedient to my will.

6. Here's an interesting 16th Century guy in England: Hans Holbein. He was an artist, painted portraits of important people in Tudor England, including a very famous one of Henry VIII and that one of Thomas More that was repeatedly shown in the documentary we watched. In typical 16th century style, he died of the plague. But before that, he also created a series of woodcuts called The Dance of Death Alphabet. Take a look

7. Watch this clip of the end of Dr. Faustus performed at the Globe Theater: Globe On Screen: Doctor Faustus clip (final scene). Listen to this clip of Dylan Thomas recording: Marlowe — Dr. Faustus's Death Speech (read by Dylan Thomas). Then read Faustus’ last soliloquy out loud to someone. Report who you read it to and what they thought of it! 

FAUSTUS. O Faustus,
     Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
     And then thou must be damn'd perpetually!
     Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,
     That time may cease, and midnight never come;
     Fair Nature's eye, rise, rise again, and make
     Perpetual day; or let this hour be but
     A year, a month, a week, a natural day,
     That Faustus may repent and save his soul!
     O lente, lente currite, noctis equi!
     The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
     The devil will come, and Faustus must be damn'd.
     O, I'll leap up to heaven!—Who pulls me down?—
     See, where Christ's blood streams in the firmament! 
     One drop of blood will save me:  O my Christ!—
     Rend not my heart for naming of my Christ;
     Yet will I call on him:  O, spare me, Lucifer!—
     Where is it now? 'tis gone:
     And, see, a threatening arm, an  angry brow!
     Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me,
     And hide me from the heavy wrath of heaven!
     Then will I headlong run into the earth:
     Gape, earth!  O, no, it will not harbour me!
     You stars that reign'd at my nativity,
     Whose influence hath  allotted death and hell,
     Now draw up Faustus, like a foggy mist,
     Into the entrails of yon labouring cloud[s],
     That, when you vomit forth into the air,
     My limbs may issue from your smoky mouths;
     But let my soul mount and ascend to heaven!
          [The clock strikes the half-hour.]
     O, half the hour is past! 'twill all be past anon.
     O, if my soul must suffer for my sin,
     Impose some end to my incessant pain;
     Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,
     A hundred thousand, and at last be sav'd!
     No end is limited to damned souls.
     Why wert thou not a creature wanting soul?
     Or why is this immortal that thou hast?
     O, Pythagoras' metempsychosis, were that true,
     This soul should fly from me, and I be chang'd
     Into some brutish beast! all beasts are happy,
     For, when they die,
     Their souls are soon dissolv'd in elements;
     But mine must live still to be plagu'd in hell.
     Curs'd be the parents that engender'd me!
     No, Faustus, curse thyself, curse Lucifer
     That hath depriv'd thee of the joys of heaven.
          [The clock strikes twelve.]
     It strikes, it strikes!  Now, body, turn to air,
     Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell!
     O soul, be chang'd into small water-drops,
     And fall into the ocean, ne'er be found!

8. The role of learning and knowledge and education and science is very important in the play. Skipping down past the excerpt you read, to the end of the play... why do you think the last bargain Faustus makes to save himself is to burn his books? 

9. Here is the last line of the play. What does this mean? Terminat hora diem; terminat auctor opus.

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