Handout on Marlowe's Doctor Faustus
- The ars moriendi tradition:
Professor's Remarks: many treatises, psychomachia, works,
Discussion: What do you see in the two woodcuts?
"The devil's temptation to despair"
"The angel's good inspiration against despair"
- As you read the play, look for passages that relate to
one of the temptations listed below. Work in pairs outside of class and come
prepared to make a brief presentation to the class.
- Construction of a chart: Faustus's psychomachia
clearly includes the five temptations and the opposing virtues, but can we
also include other paired oppositions to illustrate his choices?
- What can we say about Faustus's damnation in connection
with the ars moriendi tradition?
Consider the reference to the thief on the cross from the ars
moriendi tradition in relation to Faustus's certainty that he is damned: is
he or isn't he?
What is the role of delight in Faustus's damnation?
See the Old Man's speech, especially the two lines beginning "Yet,
yet" for a connection to the ars moriendi tradition.
- What are the stages of Faustus's journey? Put the
following in the correct order:
The challenge to religious power
The disintegration of power
- What warnings does Faustus receive?
- How is he cheated?
- Do Faustus's achievements measure up to his intentions?
- Why did Marlowe include Wagner, Robin, and Dick? What
scenes illustrate your answer? How would you respond to the claim that the
middle of the play is irrelevant?Why did Marlowe include Wagner, Robin, and
Dick? What scenes illustrate your answer?
- What is up with all the allusions to Helen? How are
these a commentary on Faustus?