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MonkeyNotes-Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
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Act III: Chorus I

Summary

By means of magic, Faustus is able to transport himself to the remote corners of the universe and to unravel some of its secrets. On one of his journeys, he visits Rome during the festival of Saint Peter.


Notes

The speech of the Chorus summarizes the positive side of Faustus’ bargain: his travels, which cannot be depicted on the stage. So far, the setting of the play has been confined to places in and around Faustus’ study. Now, the Chorus takes the audience beyond this limited setting and moves the action onto a larger scale. It takes Faustus, in the imagination of the audience, to “Olympus’ top,” permitting him to view “the clouds, the planets, and the stars” and to “prove cosmography,/ that measures coasts and kingdoms of the earth” (to verify the accuracy of maps).

The Chorus’ speech offers the magic of language, which transports the audience to a larger setting. In this new setting, Faustus will perform his magical feats. He will also play new roles, such as that of a skillful instigator of action, a successful trickster and an anti- Catholic champion.

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