Doctor Faustus Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 16 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Doctor Faustus.
This section contains 536 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Doctor Faustus Summary & Study Guide Description

Doctor Faustus Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.

Dr. Faustus is the classic play by Christopher Marlowe. In this play, Dr. Faustus makes a deal with the devil to receive great knowledge in exchange for his soul. Dr. Faustus lives an amazing life with a devil by his side to help him learn and conjure up anything he could possibly want. At the end of the contract he made with the devil, however, Dr. Faustus begins to have second thoughts about giving his soul to the devil. Dr. Faustus is based on a German legend that is taken to a new level by the brilliant playwright, Christopher Marlowe.

Dr. Faustus cannot decide what subject he would like to become an expert in. Eventually, he decides magic. This chosen profession leads Dr. Faustus to meet a couple of shady characters who encourage his decision. As part of his work in magic, Dr. Faustus conjures a devil. Dr. Faustus wants this devil, Mephistophilis, to be his servant, but Mephistophilis insists he is the servant of the devil, Lucifer, only. For this reason, Dr. Faustus tells Mephistophilis that he will enter into a deal with Lucifer in which he will give him his soul in twenty-four years if he will let Mephistophilis be his servant. Lucifer immediately accepts this deal with a contract written in Dr. Faustus’s blood.

Dr. Faustus begins to have second thoughts about his contract. However, Mephistophilis puts on a show for him that includes the Seven Deadly Sins, making Dr. Faustus realize that choosing Lucifer over God is the more entertaining choice. Mephistophilis then takes Dr. Faustus on a tour of the world, ending in Rome. Faustus teases the Pope by stealing items from his banquet.

Dr. Faustus is welcomed into the home of the Emperor of Germany where he is asked to conjure some of the Emperor’s historical heroes. Dr. Faustus does as he is asked, but a naysayer in the crowd annoys him. For this reason, Dr. Faustus puts horns on the man’s head until the Emperor asks him to remove them.

As time passes, other men in his employ begin turning to dark magic. This includes Robin and Ralph who use the magic to steal drinks from a local vintner. When they are caught by a devil, they are turned into animals. Dr. Faustus also uses his magic to trick people. A horse-courser buys a horse from Dr. Faustus, but when he rides it in water, the horse turns into a pile of hay.

When the time indicated in the contract comes to an end, Dr. Faustus begins to rethink the deal he has made. An old man comes to Dr. Faustus and tells him to repent and save his soul, but Dr. Faustus knows it is already too late. For this reason, Dr. Faustus allows Mephistophilis to torture the man. In the final moments of his life, Dr. Faustus asks a group of students to pray for him. Dr. Faustus himself repents his actions, but only as far as it affects the end of his life. When midnight strikes, Dr. Faustus is taken away by Lucifer and a few of his devils. The students later find Dr. Faustus body torn to pieces.

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This section contains 536 words
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