(All line numbers are for the Signet edition.)

Study Questions over Doctor Faustus

Act I

1. What does the Muse choose as his theme? (1-8)

2. Describe Faustus’s background as a man of the Renaissance and of the Restoration. (9-28)

3. Whom is Faustus compared to in his pride? 19-21)

4. What are the first three fields of learning that Faustus rejects? Why does he reject them? (I.i)

5. Why does he reject divinity? How is the Reformation attitude revealed? (I.i.40-50)

6. How is necromancy going to help Faustus escape the Scale of Being (Chain of Love)? (I.i.21-24, 59-60)

7. How does the Bad Angel appeal to Faustus in I.i.71-75?

8. How does Faustus’s soliloquy in I.i.75 ff. show the Renaissance spirit?

9. Compare I.i.102 with I.i.35.

10. Explain I.i.113-14.

11. How does I.ii comment on the main plot?

12. Whom is 1 Scholar referring to in I.ii.31-34?

13. Why does Faustus think Mephistophilis appears? (I.iii.29-35, 44)

14. What is the real reason that Mephistophilis appears? (I.iii.45 ff.)

15. How does Faustus’s concept of Hell suggest the Renaissance spirit? (I.iii.58-59)

16. What do Faustus and Lucifer have in common? (I.iii.66-67)

17. If Faustus doesn't believe in hell, who does? How does Mephistophilis describe hell? (I.iii.75 ff.)

18. What is the result of Faustus’s sin and death dilemma? (I.iii.84-99)

19. Compare Faustus’s intentions stated in I.iii.101-13 with the use he actually makes of his powers.

20. How does the comic scene (I.iv) parallel and comment upon the main plot?

Act II

21. What causes the Good Angel and the Bad Angel to appear early in this act?

22. What does Faustus identify as his God? (II.i.12)

23. What quality of Faustus is apparent in II.i.26?

24. Why does Mephistophilis say Lucifer wants Faustus’s soul? (II.i.40-43)

25. What hinders the signing of the contract? (II.i.63)

26. What two Latin sentences does Faustus utter when the pact is sealed? (II i.75-82) Their meanings? Their significance?

27. What are the terms of the contract? (II.i.95-116)

28. What is Faustus’s first question and how does Mephistophilis answer?

29. Is Faustus persuaded by Mephistophilis assurance? (II.i.135-45)

30. Why won’t Mephistophilis provide Faustus a wife?

31. What does Mephistophilis offer Faustus instead of a wife? How does this enticement reveal the Renaissance spirit? (II.i.154-67)

32. What sight tempts Faustus to repent? (II.ii.1-3)

33. What movement is reflected in Mephistophilis’s response? (II.ii.4-9)

34. What is the issue that brings the Good and Bad Angels at this point?

35. Why can’t Faustus repent? (II.ii.18)

36. What recalls Faustus from despair and thoughts of suicide? What movement is reflected? (II.ii.20-35)

37. Mephistophilis answers questions about the universe, but not who made it. Why not? (II.ii.70-80)

38. What brings the Angels this time? (II.ii.85)

39. What threat does the Bad Angel make if Faustus repents? (II.ii.87)

40. When Faustus cries out to Jesus, who appears and what does Lucifer tell Faustus? (II.ii.91)

41. Compare II.i.160 and II.ii.93. What is the implication?

42. What “sight” does Faustus refer to in II.ii.112-13 and II.ii.178?

43. Why does Faustus want to “see hell and return again safe”? What movement is reflected? (II.ii.180)

44. What does Lucifer give Faustus to pacify him? (II.ii.183) Are you beginning to see a pattern?

45. What is the function of scene II.iii?


46. How many days does Faustus explore the universe? (III.14)

47. After exploring the universe, where does Faustus command Mephistophilis to take him? Why? (III.i.24, 55-58)

48. What idea persuades him to stay? What movements are represented? (III.i.77-89)

49. What is the first trick Mephistophilis and Faustus play on the Pope? (III i.115-22, 162 ff.)

50. What pranks do they play at the banquet? (III.ii.12, 63, 68, 74, 87,108)

51. What is the significance of the comedy scene III.ii?

Act IV

52. What does Benvolio do to anger Faustus? (IV.ii.25, 52-54)

53. Whom does Charles V want Faustus to raise? (IV.ii.29, 53 ff.)

54. How does Charles prove to his own satisfaction that the vision is real? (IV.ii.36, 55-71)

55. How does Faustus punish Benvolio? (IV.ii.75-77)

56. Why does Benvolio think that he has killed Faustus? Why isn’t Faustus dead? (IV.iii.43, 71-76))

57. Why does the horse turn to straw when the horse trader rides him into water? (IV.v)

58. What is the significance of Faustus’s soliloquy in IV.v.24-30?

59. What is the relationship between the comic subplot and the main plot in IV.vi?

60. How is Faustus using his powers now? How can these pranks be explained? (IV.vii)

Act V

61. Why does Wagner suspect that Faustus’s death is near? What puzzles him then? (V.i.1-10)

62. Whom do the Scholars want Faustus to produce? What is their reaction? (V.i.13, 28-35)

63. Describe the conflict between mercy and despair in Faustus’s encounter with the Old Man. (V.i)

64. What threat prevents Faustus’s repentance at this crucial time? (V.i.73)

65. When Faustus tells Mephistophilis to torment the old man, what prevents Mephistophilis from obeying? (V.i.84-86)

66. What is Faustus’s last request of Mephistophilis? (V.i.89-115)

67. What is the significance of Faustus’s taking Helen as a lover?

68. How has Faustus’s attitude changed by scene V.ii?

69. What does Faustus say has prevented his confessing earlier and asking for prayers? (V.ii.74-77)

70. What assurance does Mephistophilis give Faustus in V.ii.94-105?

71. Why must the Good Angel leave Faustus now? (V.ii.106-120)

72. How has Faustus’s concept of hell changed now? (V.ii.123-35)

73. What escapes does Faustus plead for between 11:00 and midnight? (V. ii.140 ff.)

74. What is the significance of Faustus’s offer to burn his books? (V.ii.197)

75. We can only guess the fate of Faustus’s soul. What about his body? (V.iii.6-7, 17-19)

76. Explain the Chorus’s commentary, V.iii +.

77. What major movement of the 16th century is confirmed by the play?