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Summary of Doctor Faustus Essay

Central Conflict: Doctor Faustus is unsatisfied with the limits of traditional forms of knowledge so he decides that he wants to learn how to practice magic. With the help of his friend Valdes and Cornelius teaching him magic, he starts off his career by summoning a devil named Mephastophilis. He sends Mephastophilis back to his master, Lucifer, with the offer of his soul in exchange for 24 years of service from the devil. Mephastophilis returns with the news that Lucifer accepts Faustus’s offer. He has some doubts at first because he didn’t really know if it was worth sacrificing his soul or not, but Faustus eventually agrees to the deal and signs it with his blood.

With his new powers, he decides to travel to spread his fame. He goes to Rome and plays tricks on the pope by making himself invisible and stealing food. Faustus also travels to courts of Europe and the court of the German Emperor where he made antlers sprout on the head of a knight when he scoffs at Faustus’s powers while impressing Charles V the emperor. Faustus then continues on with his trickery and plays a trick on a horse trader by selling him a horse that turns into a heap of straw when ridden into a river.

Eventually, Faustus bumps into all of those of whom he had tricked at the Duke of Vanholt and casts a spell on them to send them away to amuse the duke. Right before his inevitable death, the night before the expiration of his 24-year agreement, Faustus is overcome by fear and remorse. He attempts to beg for mercy but by then it was already too late. A host of devils appear and midnight to take his soul off to hell.

Protagonist: Although, this character did play a lot of tricks on many other characters in the play, I believe the protagonist is Faustus. His ambition and drive for knowledge, wealth, and power makes him willing pay the ultimate price; the sacrifice of his soul to Lucifer in exchange for supernatural power.

Antagonist: I believe the antagonist is the devil, Mephastophilis. He is Lucifer’s servant and spears and handles the deal with Faustus’s soul. He threatens to transform Robin and Rafe into animals for their stupidity of summoning him.

Chorus: The chorus is a bit vague in the play but there was a character that stood outside the story, providing narration and commentary.

Response: The play was interesting at first but I was disappointed with how it ended because I was expecting it to have a more epic ending. I did like the little moral behind the story though. Faustus abused his powers by being cruel to everyone and playing tricks and when he begs for mercy, it was already too late. In my opinion, I think this play would be hard to pull off in a theatre setting because of all the different settings where Faustus traveled and the story plot isn’t all that interesting either.


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