Doctor Faustus Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is Faustus's background?

Faustus is born to poor parents in Rhodes, Germany. When he grows up, he goes to Wittenberg to study divinity.

2. What is the meaning behind the allusion of "waxen wings" in line 21 of the Prologue?

The "waxen wings" allude to the myth of Icarus in which Daedalus, Icarus's father, makes wings of wax and feathers in order for the two of them to escape the island of Minos. However, Icarus flies too close to the sun, the wax on his wings melt, and he falls to earth. "Waxen wings" serves as a foreshadowing symbol of Faustus's fall and damnation.

3. Describe Faustus's studies, according to the Chorus in the Prologue.

Faustus studies divinity at the University in Wittenberg, a well-known and respected university. He does well financially through his studies.

4. What changes does Faustus make in his studies, according to the Chorus in the Prologue?

Faustus neglects his study of theology in favor of studying magic and necromancy, the magical art of raising the dead.

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