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MonkeyNotes-Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
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Act I, Scene 2

Summary

Two Scholars inquire with Wagner the whereabouts of Faustus, whom they have not seen for some time at the university. Wagner tries to evade the two Scholars, who have asked him a simple question. Eventually, the Scholars learn that Faustus is at dinner in the company of Valdes and Cornelius, who are notorious for their active interest in the study of the black arts. The Scholars decide to inform the Rector of the University about this matter in an effort to dissuade Faustus from practicing magic.


Notes

This short scene is the comic counterpart to the preceding scene, in which Faustus has made up his mind to practice magic. Wagner has picked up the jargon of his master and other Scholars. On being asked where his master is, he says that his master, being “corpus naturale” (a natural body), might have moved away from his place by now. It is amusing to hear him say that the two Scholars have come so close to “the place of execution.” Besides its literal meaning, it also refers to a dining-hall where people do “execution” upon meat. Wagner then claims to have won a victory in his verbal debate with the Scholars.

A reference is made by the two Scholars to Faustus’ excellent reputation as a teacher and logician. The First Scholar speaks of him as a man who used to “make our schools ring with sic probo.” The First Scholar is right in his conjecture that nothing can now reclaim Faustus.

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