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Doctor Faustus Short Summary

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Dr. Faustus is a play by Christopher Marlowe. It can be easily mistaken for the Thomas Mann novel sharing the same name. The poem was composed at a time between 1589 and 1592. It is the story about a doctor who decides to study the dark arts and ends up pawning the devil his soul.

A Brief View of the Story

Dr. Faustus sits in his study, wondering what was worthy for him to major in. The man dismisses Theology, Medicine, even Law. Finally, he thinks of magic. Faustus decides to talk to magicians Cornelius and Valdes about what he desires. The two provide guidance. Faustus sees that he is ready to try out his acquired gifts. Faustus starts by summoning Mephistopheles and wants this devil to serve him. However, Mephistopheles is currently under Lucifer and does not intend to rebel against his master. So, Faustus fashions a deal which involves him getting Mephistopheles to serve him for twenty-four years, and his soul to go the other way.

They make this deal, and the man signs it with blood. Several such agreements are taking place in their town involving other residents. Even the servant of Faustus called Wagner had acquired a familiar disguised as an apprentice called Robin.

Faustus starts regretting the decision to give the soul up. The man even starts thinking about repenting. The devils around him inform him of his already damned path. They manage to create distractions for Faustus with some talk and even present a show that involves life’s deadly sins. Mephistopheles woes the man with adventure all over the globe in a chariot. They stop in Rome where Pope Adrian is placing judgment on Bruno, a Pope from Germany. Faustus rescues Bruno and flies him home. He later torments him through stealing his food at a feast.

Robin, in the company of Dick, another devil, had been caught stealing a cup from some tavern. The two cry out to Mephistopheles for help. Furious, the latter transforms the two into animals.

The Germany Emperor is happy because Bruno was saved. Faustus shows off his mastery in sorcery and even humiliates Benvolio in front of everyone. The latter, who is a member of the court, plots to kill him for it. He succeeds in having Faustus’ head chopped off after having him ambushed. Faustus cannot die. Mephistopheles drags Benvolio and those involved away.

Faustus continues angering more people, and it gets to a point where many want revenge. Faustus uses sorcery and calms them all. Coming to his last years, Faustus encounters an older man who feels Faustus should try repenting. He instead has the man tormented by Mephistopheles. On his last day, he brings his sins to the light in front of some scholars. When his time came, the devils arrive to take Faustus soul.

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