Short summary - The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus
Christopher Marlowe

The choir enters the stage and tells the story of Faust: he was born in the German city of Roda, studied in Wittenberg, received a doctorate. «Then, filled with bold conceit, / He rushed to the forbidden heights / On the wings of wax; but the wax melts - / And the sky doomed him to death. "

Faust in his office reflects on the fact that, no matter how he succeeds in earth sciences, he is only a man and his power is not unlimited. Faust was disappointed in philosophy. Medicine is also not omnipotent; it cannot give people immortality; it cannot raise the dead. Jurisprudence is full of contradictions; laws are absurd. Even theology does not answer the questions tormenting Faust. Only magic books attract him. «A powerful magician is like God. / So, refine your mind, Faust, / Seeking the divine to achieve power. " The good angel persuades Faust not to read cursed books full of temptations that will bring the wrath of the Lord to Faust. An evil angel, on the contrary, incites Faust to engage in magic and comprehend all the secrets of nature: «Be on earth, as Jupiter is in heaven - / Lord, master of the elements!» Faust dreams of making spirits serve themselves and become omnipotent. His friends Cornelius and Valdez promise to initiate him into the secrets of magical science and teach him to conjure spirits. At his call is Mephistopheles. Faust wants Mephistopheles to serve him and fulfill all his desires, but Mephistopheles obeys one Lucifer and can serve Faust only on the orders of Lucifer. Faust renounces God and recognizes the supreme ruler of Lucifer - the lord of darkness and the lord of spirits. Mephistopheles tells Faust the story of Lucifer: once he was an angel, but showed pride and rebelled against the Lord, for this God cast him from heaven, and now he is in hell. Those who rebelled against him with the Lord are also sentenced to hellish torment. Faust does not understand how Mephistopheles now leaves the realm of hell, but Mephistopheles explains: «Oh no, here is hell, and I am always in hell. / Il think, I, the ripened face of the Lord, / Taste eternal joy in paradise, / I won’t be tormented by a thousandfold hell, / Bliss irretrievably lost? »But Faust is firm in his decision to reject God. He is ready to sell his soul to Lucifer for twenty-four years «living, having tasted all the blisses» and having Mephistopheles his servant. Mephistopheles goes to Lucifer for an answer, and Faust meanwhile dreams of power: he longs to become a king and subjugate the whole world.


Servant Faust Wagner meets the jester and wants the jester to serve him for seven years. The jester refuses, but Wagner calls the two devils Baliol and Belcher and threatens that if the jester refuses to serve him, the devils will immediately drag him to hell. He promises to teach the jester to turn into a dog, into a cat, into a mouse or a rat - into anything. But the buffoon, if he wants to turn into anyone, then into a small frisky little flea to jump where he wants, and to tickle the cute little women under the skirts.

Faust hesitates. A good angel persuades him to quit magic, repent and return to God. An evil angel inspires him with thoughts of wealth and glory. Mephistopheles returns and says that Lucifer ordered him to serve Faust to the grave if Faust writes a testament and a deed of gift on his soul and body with blood. Faust agrees, he sticks a knife into his hand, but his blood runs cold in his veins, and he cannot write. Mephistopheles brings a roasting pan, Faust’s blood warms up, and he writes a will, but then the inscription «Homo, fuge» («Man, save yourself») appears on his hand; Faust does not pay attention to her. To amuse Faust, Mephistopheles leads the devils, who give Faust crowns, rich clothes and dance in front of him, then leave. Faust asks Mephistopheles about hell. Mephistopheles explains: «Hell is not limited to one place, / There are no limits to it; Where are we, there is hell; / And where there is hell, we must be forever. " Faust cannot be believed: Mephistopheles talks to him, walks the earth - and is all this hell? Such hell is not afraid of Faust. He asks Mephistopheles to give him in marriage the most beautiful girl in Germany. Mephistopheles leads the devil to her in a female form. Marriage is not for Faust, Mephistopheles offers to bring the most beautiful courtesans to him every morning. He hands Faust a book where everything is written: both how to obtain wealth and how to summon spirits, it describes the location and movement of the planets and lists all the plants and herbs. Marriage is not for Faust, Mephistopheles offers to bring the most beautiful courtesans to him every morning. He hands Faust a book where everything is written: both how to obtain wealth and how to summon spirits, it describes the location and movement of the planets and lists all the plants and herbs. Marriage is not for Faust, Mephistopheles offers to bring the most beautiful courtesans to him every morning. He hands Faust a book where everything is written: both how to obtain wealth and how to summon spirits, it describes the location and movement of the planets and lists all the plants and herbs.

Faustus curses Mephistopheles for depriving him of heavenly joys. The good angel advises Faust to repent and trust in the mercy of the Lord. The evil angel says that God will not take pity on such a great sinner, however, he is sure that Faust will not repent. Faust really lacks the spirit to repent, and he starts a debate with Mephistopheles about astrology, but when he asks who created the world, Mephistopheles doesn't answer and reminds Faust that he is cursed. «Christ, my redeemer! / Save my suffering soul! »Exclaims Faust. Lucifer rebukes Faust for breaking the word and thinking about Christ. Faust swears that this will not happen again. Lucifer reveals to Faust the seven deadly sins in their true guise. Before him are Pride, Greed, Rage, Envy, Gluttony, Laziness, Debauchery. Faust wants to see hell and come back again.

The choir says that Faust, wanting to learn the secrets of astronomy and geography, first goes to Rome to see the pope and take part in the celebrations in honor of St. Peter.

Faust and Mephistopheles in Rome. Mephistopheles makes Faust invisible, and Faust is amused by the fact that in the refectory, when the pope treats Cardinal Lorraine, he grabs dishes and dishes from his hands and eats them. The Holy Fathers are perplexed, the pope begins to be baptized, and when he is baptized for the third time, Faust gives him a slap in the face. The monks betray his curse.

Robin, the groom of the inn where Faust and Mephistopheles stayed, is stealing a book from Faust. He and his friend Ralph want to learn how to work miracles on it and first steal the goblet from the innkeeper, but Mephistopheles intervenes, whose spirit they inadvertently called up, they return the goblet and promise to never steal magic books again. In punishment for insolence, Mephistopheles promises to turn one of them into a monkey, and the other into a dog.

The choir says that, after visiting the courtyards of the monarchs, Faust, after long wanderings in heaven and earth, returned home. The fame of his scholarship reaches the emperor Charles the Fifth, and he invites him to his palace and surrounds him with honor.

The emperor asks Faust to show his art and summon the spirits of great people. He wants to see Alexander the Great and asks Faust to have Alexander and his wife rise from the grave. Faust explains that the bodies of the long-dead persons turned to dust and he cannot show them to the emperor, but he will call spirits that will take on the images of Alexander the Great and his wife, and the emperor will be able to see them in the color of the years. When the spirits appear, the emperor, in order to verify their authenticity, checks whether the wife of Alexander has a mole on his neck, and, having discovered it, penetrates Faust with even greater respect. One of the knights doubts the art of Faust, as a punishment, horns grow on his head, which disappear only when the knight promises to continue to be more respectful with scientists. The time allotted to Faust is drawing to a close.

For forty coins a horse young lady buys a horse from Faust, but Faust warns him not to drive him into the water in any case. The horse young lady thinks that Faust wants to conceal some rare quality of a horse from him, and first of all drives him into a deep pond. Having barely sailed to the middle of the pond, the young lady discovers that the horse has disappeared, and under it instead of the horse - an armful of hay. Miraculously without drowning, he comes to Faust to demand his money back. Mephistopheles tells the young lady that


Faust is fast asleep. A young lady drags Faust by the leg and tears it off. Faust wakes up, screams and sends Mephistopheles behind the constable. The young lady asks to let him go and promises to pay forty more coins for this. Faust is satisfied: the leg is in place, and the extra forty coins will not hurt him. Faust invites the Duke of Anhalt. The Duchess asks to get her grapes in the middle of winter, and Faust immediately hands her a ripe bunch. Everyone is amazed at his art. The Duke generously rewards Faust. Faust mumbles with students. At the end of the feast, they ask him to show them Elena Troyanskaya. Faust fulfills their request. When the students leave, the Old Man arrives, who tries to return Faust to the path of salvation, but to no avail. Faust wants the beautiful Elena to become his lover. By order of Mephistopheles, Elena appears before Faust, he kisses her.

Faust says goodbye to students: he is on the verge of death and condemned to burn forever in hell. Students advise him to remember God and ask him for leniency, but Faust understands that he has no forgiveness and tells students how he sold his soul to the devil. The hour of reckoning is near. Faust asks students to pray for him. Students are leaving. Faust has only one hour left to live. He dreams that midnight would never come, that time would stop, that it would be an eternal day, or at least midnight would not come any longer, and he would have time to repent and be saved. But the clock strikes, thunder rumbles, lightning flashes, and the devils lead Faust.

The choir encourages viewers to learn a lesson from the tragic fate of Faust and not strive to learn the reserved areas of science that seduce a person and teach him to do evil.