Scene 1 Notes from Dr. Faustus

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Dr. Faustus Scene 1

Faustus is in his study preparing his teaching materials. Although a professor of divinity, he seeks to plumb the depths of every academic discipline. He examines Aristotle and logic; he has already mastered it. Galen and medicine too. Faustus, although a reputed physician, is dissatisfied with medicine because he cannot make men live forever. Justinian and law is deemed too petty. When it comes down to it, divinity is most worthy of his great mind. He reads from Jerome's bible.

"The reward of sin is death." That's hard.
"If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and there's no
truth in us." Why then, belike we must sin and so consequently die.
Ay, we must die an everlasting death.
What doctrine call you this, Che sera sera,
"What will be shall be?" Divinity, adieu!
Scene 1, p. 4

He finds the bible passages difficult to accept. Why must men sin and inevitably die? He casts off the bible and embraces books on black magic.

"O what a world of profit and delight,
Of power, of honour, and omnipotence
Is promis'd to the studious artisan!"
Scene 1, pg. 5

Faustus concludes that the practice of magic will bring him what he wants in life-to be a god. He asks his servant, Wagner, to summon his friends, Valdes and Cornelius, so that he can consult with them about magic.

Topic Tracking: Sin & Repentance 1
Topic Tracking: Duality of Man 2

While Faustus waits for his friends, the Good Angel and the Evil Angel appear (on stage, Faustus is oblivious of their presence). The Good Angel reproves Faustus for reading magic books and beckons him to read the bible instead. The Evil Angel encourages Faustus in his pursuit of power over through the practice of magic. Meanwhile, Faustus entertains thoughts of what he will do with such powers-he would pursue wealth and knowledge; he would revive Germany and reign over all its provinces.

Topic Tracking: Duality of Man 3
Topic Tracking: Sin & Repentance 2

Upon the arrival of Valdes and Cornelius, Faustus accepts their previous offer to study magic together. He expresses his personal attraction to magic, which he fancies over philosophy, law, physics, and the dreadful subject, divinity. With Faustus' great mind, proclaims Valdes, they will be able to harness the powers of black magic and have the world at their feet. Cornelius adds that since Faustus is already gifted in all that magic requires, he will desire to know nothing else once he gets a taste of what magic can do. Convinced, Faustus asks that they go to some grove so he could learn and practice this craft. Valdes and Cornelius agree to instruct him in the basics so that he can try some on his own later. Faustus is eager to try it out that very night.

Topic Tracking: Hubris 2

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