The Comic Scenes of Dr Faustus Essay

This essay has a total of 1097 words and 5 pages.

The Comic Scenes of Dr Faustus



When I first began reading Dr. Faustus I did not even realize that there were comic
scenes. Only after being told and after watching the movie did I realize that there were
comic scenes. Many critics say that Christopher Marlowe did not even write these scenes,
but instead say that they were written later by other playwrights.

After realizing that there was in fact comedy in the play, I began to ponder why it was in
the play. My first thought was that they were there to lighten the mood of such a dark
and serious play. Any good playwright knows that you can't hold an audience's attention
with hours of serious, deep and emotional content without also having something to lighten
the mood. With this point of view I realized that it was very possible that Mr. Marlowe
did not in fact write the comic sections of this play (I really wanted to believe that he
wrote them), maybe a later playwright found that the play was too serious. The fact that
I wanted Marlowe to be the author of the whole play (I don't like it when someone comes
along a changes a piece of art, or that people say that someone changed it because it is
just too good to be true) made me dig deeper to try and find something that sounded more
sensible to me.

I would have to say that it was eight lines in scene five that were spoken by
Mephastophilis in response to a question from Faustus. These Lines were (pg.442 lines
110-125):

Mephastophilis. Now Faustus, ask what thou wilt.
Faustus. First will I question thee about hell:
Tell me, where is the place that men call hell?
Mephastophilis. Under the heavens.
Faustus. Ay, but whereabouts?
Mephastophilis. Within the bowels of these elements,
Where we are tortured and remain forever.
Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place; for where we are is hell,
And where hell is, there we must ever be.
And to conclude, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,
All places shall be hell that is not heaven.
Not only is this some very powerful poetry but it seems to say everything about the comic
scenes. After I read this part of the play I began to realize the reason why the comic
scenes are in this play. What Mephistophilis seems to be saying is that everyone that is
not in heaven, is in hell. This means that everyone on earth is in hell. Mephastophilis
says exactly this; "…for where we are is hell…".

How did these lines put the comic scenes into perspective for me? It made me look at the
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