Part I-Detailed Summary of Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlow



The play begins with Chorus introducing the humble origin and birth of Faustus, the tragic hero. It narrates how he grew in knowledge and excelled all but he was punished for got a bit too ambitious for which he resorted even to magic. Faustus is in his study room talking to himself that he despite earning so much repute of a great doctor he is still a man: "Yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man". He wants to earn fame. Faustus gets interested in magic and wants to reach beyond the maximum for man:

"All things that move between the quiet poles

Shall be at my command: emperors and kings

Are but obeyed in their several provinces".

Good angel warns Faustus of the blasphemy of magic while the bad angel encourages him. But Faustus is almost lost in the dream of becoming a demigod through magic: he would use the spirits.

"I'll have them fly to India for gold,

Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,

And search all corners of the new-found world

For pleasant fruits and princely delicates".

Faustus calls for his German friends, Valdes and Cornelius are magicians. He seeks their advice if he should study magic and they ask him to study magic for becoming eminent and high. They teach him the basics of magic while the peak is no difficultly for Faustus' cunning mind.

Outside Faustus' house, Wagner is confronted by two scholars asking for Faustus and from Wagner's reply they are certain that Faustus is gone into the hands of evil.

In the night Faustus performs the evil recitations of magic and Mephistophilis appears there. Faustus is unable to attend its ugly face and commands it to change its form to Friar. Then Faustus asks him:

"I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live,

To do whatever Faustus shall command,

Be it to make the moon drop from her sphere,

Or the ocean to overwhelm the world."




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