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Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus : Day One. ENGL 203 Dr. Fike. Comments on Response Papers. Do not leave your response papers until the last possible minute. Focus: Say more about less material. Focus + critical question = doable paper. Example of a good focus: the Pardoner and the Host.

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Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus : Day One

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comments on response papers
Comments on Response Papers
  • Do not leave your response papers until the last possible minute.
  • Focus: Say more about less material.
  • Focus + critical question = doable paper.
  • Example of a good focus: the Pardoner and the Host.
  • Example of a good critical question: Why is the Host so angry at the Pardoner?
  • A thesis is just one sentence; it contains and is about the focused topic.
  • Underline your thesis.
  • If something is in the thesis, the body of the paper must support it.
  • Do not underline or italicize your title.
  • Do not begin with all previous thought (“Since the beginning of time…”).
  • Do not summarize the plot.
  • Do not start a paragraph with a fact about an event or with a quotation.
  • Do not use contractions.
  • Do not set off quotations that consist of 3 or fewer lines of poetry. Use / to mark line breaks instead. Be sure to put a space on either side of the /.
  • Write about literature in present tense.
  • Citations: Give the least information that the reader needs to find the source of your material. For example, if the author and work are in a signal phrase, do not put them in the citation.
  • Works Cited lists: have one and do it right.
w c list
W.C. List

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales.

New York: Penguin Putnam Inc, 2003.

What is wrong with this entry?

correct version
Correct Version

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales.

Trans. Nevill Coghill. New York:

Penguin, 2003. Print.

arrange this information into a correct entry
Arrange This Information into a Correct Entry
  • A poem called “The Wanderer,” which appears in Frank Kermode and John Hollander’s The Oxford Anthology of English Literature.
  • The poem appears in the first of two volumes on pages 100-04.
  • The anthology was published in New York by Oxford University Press in 1973.
correct version1
Correct Version

“The Wanderer.” The Oxford Anthology of

English Literature. Ed. Frank Kermode

and John Hollander. Vol. 1. New York:

Oxford UP, 1973. 100-04. Print.

  • What is the relationship between anti-feminist literature and the Wife’s “Prologue”?
  • How does courtly love inform her “Tale”?
  • What aspects of medieval dogma does she overturn?
  • What sign systems does the Pardoner subvert? Key term?
  • How does he relate to the characters in his “Tale”?
  • What important aspect of periodicity relates to the setting of the Pardoner’s “Tale”?
  • Evaluate the claim that the Pardoner shows signs of a spiritual life.
renaissance handout
Renaissance Handout
  • You may want to use this document instead of the next part of the slide show.
  • Today’s slide show combines information on the Renaissance, key concepts, and an introduction to Marlowe’s play.
the renaissance
The Renaissance
  • Renaissance: From rinascita (Italian: rebirth).  Therefore, the Renaissance = an _________ rebirth. 
  • Also called the _________ Modern Period.
  • Dates:
    • In Italy:  1420-1600.
    • In England it arrived later:
      • Either 1485-1660 (Henry VII-the accession of Charles II)
      • Or 1509-1660 (Henry VIII-Charles II)
  • Attempts to free the individual from two medieval institutions; medieval habits of mind gave way to newer attitudes, beliefs, disciplines.
    • Feudalism
    • The Church
      • Medieval view:  Life should be lived for the future.
      • Renaissance view:  emphasis on the here and now + openness to classical antiquity.
cosmology ptolemy to copernicus
Cosmology:  Ptolemy to Copernicus
  • Geocentric vs. heliocentric.
  • Donne's “The First Anniversary." 
confusion resulted
Confusion Resulted

And new philosophy calls all in doubt

The element of fire is quite put out;

The sun is lost, and th'earth, and no man's wit

Can well direct him where to look for it.

And freely men confess that this world's spent,

When in the planets, and the firmament

They seek so many new; then see that this

Is crumbled out again to his atomies*.                     * Tiny particles

'Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone;

All just supply, and all relation:

Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot,

For every man alone thinks he hath got

To be a phoenix, and that then can be

None of that kind, of which he is, but he.

--lines 107-20

the protestant reformation
The Protestant Reformation
  • Martin Luther published his 95 theses in 1517.
  • John Calvin published his Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1532.
  • The role of King Henry VIII in 1535: declared himself “Supreme Head” of the Church of England. In other words, he broke with the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Church of England, via media
  • King Edward VI (1547-1553)
  • Queen Mary (1553-1558): Bloody Mary
  • Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603)
key details
Key Details
  • The Marian Persecution
  • John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments
  • 1588: Defeat of the Spanish Armada
  • Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Book I: anti-Catholicism + Prince Arthur’s defeat of the giant Orgoglio may echo the English navy’s defeat of the Armada.
  • Definition: the influence of Mediterranean learning on European thinkers.
  • Valued ancient texts for their own sake, not for their usefulness to Christianity.
  • Classical study, not religion, was now considered the highest expression of human values and the best way to develop a free and responsible individual.  Opposed the medieval tendency to denature ancient learning—i.e., to treat it allegorically.
what humanists believe
What Humanists Believe
  • Not the “secular humanists” whom we talk about today; humanists were Christians.
  • They believed in optimism and anthropocentrism:
    • Rejected the doctrine of original sin, stressing instead man’s innate ethical sense and ability to improve himself.
    • Means of doing this:
      • Education
      • Reason
      • Free inquiry
  • Greatest English humanist: Thomas More, author of Utopia.
qtd from wikipedia
Qtd. from Wikipedia
  • “The crisis of Renaissance humanism came with the trial of Galileo, which forced the choice between basing the authority of one's beliefs on one's observations, or upon religious teaching. The trial made the contradictions between humanism and traditional religion visibly apparent to all, and humanism was branded a ‘dangerous doctrine.’
  • “Renaissance humanists believed that the liberal arts (music, art, grammar, rhetoric, oratory, history, poetry, using classical texts, and the studies of all of the above) should be practiced by all levels of wealth. They also approved of self, human worth and individual dignity.
  • “Noteworthy humanists scholars from this period include the Dutch theologist Erasmus, the English author Thomas More, the French writer Francois Rabelais, and the Italian scholar Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.”
  • Foxe: The public side of the ars moriendi tradition.
  • Spenser and Marlowe: The private side of the tradition.
  • Note: The ars moriendi does not originate in the Renaissance.
the ars moriendi tradition
The Ars Moriendi Tradition
  • In the late 15th to early 18th centuries: many treatises were published in England on the subject of dying well.
  • The dying person, or moriens, is a central figure in a psychomachia (soul struggle)
    • Demons tempt him with unbelief, pride, impatience, avarice, and despair.
    • (Here “avarice” refers to an inappropriate attachment not only to things but also to people.)
    • But angels, saints, and good counselors tell him that Christ, who has saved far greater sinners, will save him too.
psychomachia soul struggle
Psychomachia = Soul Struggle
  • The contest for the dying person’s soul centers on deeds in life:
    • Demons remind him of his wicked deeds
    • Angels/saints/good counselors cite scripture and the Fathers to affirm God’s mercy and forgiveness.
example from the faerie queene
Example from The Faerie Queene
  • I.ix.46:

Why then doest thou, ô man of sin, desireTo draw thy dayes forth to their last degree?Is not the measure of thy sinfull hireHigh heaped vp with huge iniquitie,Against the day of wrath, to burden thee?Is not enough, that to this Ladie mildeThou falsed hast thy faith with periurie,And sold thy selfe to serue Duessa vilde,With whom in all abuse thou hast thy selfe defilde?

other facts
Other Facts
  • The moriens may see the crucified Christ on the cross.
  • Ars moriendi merged with ars vivendi: in order to die well, you must live well; the best preparation for a holy death is a righteous life.
  • “‘Live rightly, die, die…’ I listened.”

--Conrad, Heart of Darkness

  • What word does Kurtz not get to say?
woodcuts from ars moriendi book
Woodcuts from Ars Moriendi Book
  • “The devil’s temptation to despair”:
  • “The angel’s good inspiration against despair”:
latin scrolls
Latin Scrolls
  • Behold your sins:
    • Middle left: Behold your sins:
    • Middle: you have perjured yourself
    • Upper right: you have fornicated
    • Lower right: you have lived avariciously
    • Lower middle: you have killed.
  • The document in the upper left is a list of the dying man’s sins.
latin scrolls1
Latin Scrolls
  • Angel: “By no means despair.”
  • Demon: “There is no victory for me.”
  • Re. Saul of Tarsus: “I reckon the Lord knew that the only way to make a Christian out of that one was to knock him off his horse” (Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being 354-55).
  • “‘Today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23-43).
  • “Mary Magdalen is frequently portrayed carrying a jar of precious spikenard oil for annointing the body of Christ” ( See Mark 14:3 and John 12:3 and 5.
  • “The mix-up was made official by Pope Gregory the Great in 591: ‘She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary [of Bethany], we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark,’ Gregory declared in a sermon. That position became church teaching, although it was not adopted by Orthodoxy or Protestantism when each later split from Catholicism.”
  • Source:
deathbed psychomachia
Deathbed Psychomachia
  • The demons say, “You’re damned.” The good guys say, “You’re saved.” And the presence of Saul, the thief, Peter, and Mary Magdalene (not a whore but declared to be one by Pope Gregory)—four of the great pardoned sinners in the New Testament—reminds the moriens that if THEY can be saved, his own salvation is nothing to worry about. Thus the image depicts despair successfully resisted.
application to doctor faustus
Application to Doctor Faustus
  • Group work: Apply each of the deathbed temptations from the ars moriendi tradition to Doctor Faustus’s situation. Do one per group:
    • Unbelief
    • Pride
    • Impatience
    • Avarice
    • Despair
possible answers
Possible Answers
  • Unbelief: He believes in God but does not BELIEVE God.
  • Pride: Academic pride: F believes that he is too far gone to be saved. Hubris. Same quality as Lucifer and Icarus. Great Chain of Being (next slide).
  • Impatience: F is impatient with conventional academic knowledge; however, he wants time to slow down just before his death.
  • Avarice: Guilty of both kinds: F loves the things of the world and is improperly attached to the feminine.
  • Despair: Loss of hope. Two kinds of hell pain: the pain of the senses and the pain of damnation (despair). Hell is both a physical place and a state of mind.
great chain of being
Great Chain of Being
  • Everything in creation is in a hierarchy (cf. Ulysses’s speech in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida):
    • God
    • Angels
    • Man—rational soul (reason)
    • Animals—sensitive soul (sensation, passion)
    • Plants—vegetable soul (growth, reproduction)
    • Rocks
    • Satan
  • Types of soul:
  • Note re. man, animals, plants: man has sensitive and vegetable functions, but plants have only vegetable souls.
other connections
Other Connections
  • Consider the reference to the thief on the cross (page 886/386) from the ars moriendi tradition in relation to Faustus's certainty that he is damned:  is he or isn't he?
  • See the Old Man's speech, especially the two lines beginning "Yet, yet" for a connection to the ars moriendi tradition (892/392).    
further application doctor faustus chart
Further Application:Doctor Faustus Chart
  • Temptations
    • Unbelief vs. faith
    • Pride vs. humility
    • Impatience vs. patience
    • Avarice vs. charity
    • Despair vs. hope
  • Bad friends vs. faithful colleagues
  • Mephostophilis vs. Old Man
  • Bad Angel vs. Good Angel
  • Justice vs. grace, mercy, forgiveness
  • Vice, parlor tricks vs. virtue, good works
  • Terrible death vs. peaceful death
  • Eternal torment in hell vs. salvation in heaven
  • Lucifer vs. Christ
questions for next time and response papers
Questions for Next Time and Response Papers
  • What is Faustus saying in his opening speech?
  • What is the order of events?
  • What is the role of delight and/or of habit in Faustus’s damnation?
  • What warnings does Faustus receive?
  • How is Faustus cheated? What point follows?
  • How do Faustus’s achievements measure up to his intentions? What points follow?
  • Why did Marlowe include Wagner, Robin, and Dick? Is the middle of the play irrelevant?
  • Why does Marlowe include all the allusions to Helen of Troy?
  • What is up with Faustus’s weird comment on page 897/397?

Expect to spend our next class period discussing these questions in small groups and as a whole class. Today has been to lecture as next time will be to discussion/student participation.

what is faustus saying in his opening speech
What is Faustus saying in his opening speech?
  • He is going through a catalog of academic subjects, stating that each one no longer satisfies his thirst for knowledge.
    • Analytics
    • Medicine
    • Law
    • Theology
  • He concludes that magic is the proper object of his study, for it will bring “a world of profit and delight, / Of power, of honour, of omnipotence,” as well as universal command, even power over nature.
put these events in the correct order
Put these events in the correct order.
  • The disintegration of power
  • The challenge to religious power
  • The contract
  • The reckoning
  • The decision
what is the order of events
What is the order of events?
  • Here is the proper order of events:
    • The decision
    • The contract
    • The challenge to religious power
    • The disintegration of power
    • The reckoning
what is the role of delight and or of habit in faustus s damnation
What is the role of delight and/or of habit in Faustus’s damnation?
  • Whenever Faustus waivers in his commitment to the contract with the devil, Mephostophilis brings him things that delight the senses.
  • Delight is thus a really negative thing in this play, versus the sort of positive delight that Sidney mentions (as we will see next time).
  • Best example: The pageant of the seven deadly sins. However, the word “delight” repeats multiple times. Each time, it signals that M is using pleasure to keep F from thinking about salvation.
what warnings does faustus receive
What warnings does Faustus receive?
  • These are the main ones:
    • Good angel (851/351)
    • Jehovah’s name “anagrammatized” (855/355).
    • Mephostophilis warns him about hell (856-57/356-57).
    • F’s blood congeals (860/360)
    • Consummatum est (860/369)
    • Homo fuge (860/369)
    • The Old Man cautions F about habit on 892/392: “If sin by custom grow not into nature.”
how is faustus cheated what point follows
How is Faustus cheated? What point follows?
  • Read the contract on 861/361. M does not hold up his end of the bargain:
    • He denies F’s request for a wife, calling marriage a “ceremonial toy” (862/362). Liar: marriage is an institution ordained by God. Instead, M provides courtesans (prostitutes).
    • Asked who made the world, M refuses to answer (865/365).
  • Points:
    • The contract has been voided. No one is damned by contract anyway.
    • Therefore, F’s damnation is tragic, not just.
    • His reason lets him down (a critique of humanism’s emphasis on reason?).
    • This is hamartia in the original sense of the term: mistake or error in judgment.
how do faustus s achievements measure up to his intentions what points follow
How do Faustus’s achievements measure up to his intentions? What points follow?
  • His original intention is have M help him “slay mine enemies and aid my friends” (857/357).
  • Instead he plays tricks on people, which Wagner, Robin, and Dick parody.
  • He never kills anyone. He does survey the universe from a dragon’s back. He does entertain his friends. He is eloquent. He has a conscience. Is he thus worthy of our pity? Do we like him?
  • He has the resources to surpass Alexander the Great but does not; therefore, conjuring Alexander is ironic—it is a mere parlor trick.
why did marlowe include wagner robin and dick is the middle of the play irrelevant
Why did Marlowe include Wagner, Robin, and Dick? Is the middle of the play irrelevant?
  • The first part shows F’s determination to make a pact with the devil. The middle part has F using his magic to perform nonsensical pranks. The final part finds him awaiting the end of his life when he will be carried off to eternal damnation. This three-part structure reflects that of the Faust Book (1587).
  • The middle part of the play charts F’s decline, his affirmation of bad habits of act and thought. It shows his moral deterioration. You don’t get to heaven or hell by contract; you have to deserve one or the other. Signing the contract is an error, not a fatal act. The play’s middle section is necessary to justify F’s fate.
  • Being a moral clown becomes a habit for F, and all the pranks illustrate the dark side of “paying it forward”: I screw you; you screw someone else. Note that a pattern is observable: Devil  Meph  Faustus  Wagner  Robin  Dick: each affects the character directly to his right.
why does marlowe include all the allusions to helen of troy
Why does Marlowe include all the allusions to Helen of Troy?
  • She will make him immortal in hell.
  • F is the modern Troy in terms of being sacked.
  • This is not Helen; it is a demon made up to look like her. She/it sucks forth his spirit on 893/393 (some kind of bodily intercourse with a demon) in much the same way as his 24-year run has debased him.
  • Her presence here signifies indulgence in appetite—another example of delight. F’s dalliance is like going to a brothel right before you die rather than setting your spiritual house in order—incredibly inappropriate.
  • She is the final measure of F’s habitual action and state of mind. He is not damned until he ignores the Old Man’s advice: this signifies his inability to turn to God.
what is up with faustus s weird comment on page 897 397
What is up with Faustus’s weird comment on page 897/397?
  • Re: lines 155ff.: Right after F mentions that “Christ’s blood streams in the firmament” (it is available, he thinks, to everyone but him: very prideful!), he sounds like a classical man espousing mere fate. And in a strange juxtaposition of thoughts, he appeals for salvation to the very fate that he says damned him in the first place (“You stars that reigned at my nativity, / Whose influence hath allotted death and hell”).
  • “Clouds” is the most interesting word here because it echoes F’s mention of them on 851/351 (“Nor can they raise the wind or rend the clouds”) as well as the Chorus’s earlier remark on 868/368 (“He views the clouds, the planets, and the stars”). See also the Pope’s mention of “clouds” on 872/372. In other words, the natural world, which has been the object of his attention during the twenty-four years, is now his only hope of release from damnation.
  • So although the reference to the thief (886/386) suggests that grace may be embraced even at the last moment, a pattern of wrong living and particularly a state of despair render F unable to make the right choice when it really counts. “Hell strives with grace for conquest in [his] breast” (892/392), and hell wins. END