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MonkeyNotes-Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
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Act III, Scene 3

Summary

At an inn, Robin and Dick have stolen a cup. Robin says he will “conjure” the innkeeper so that they can escape. The innkeeper comes after them, asking about the cup. Robin denies the accusation of theft indignantly. The innkeeper searches first Robin and then Dick, but fails to find the cup. When Robin calls upon devils, to his surprise, Mephistophilis appears. The innkeeper runs away.


Notes

Mephistophilis’ quick appearance seems to contradict his earlier assertion to Faustus that conjuring does not always lead to a devil’s arrival. In revenge for having been summoned “but in jest,” Mephistophilis says that Dick will be changed into an ape and Robin into a dog.

Thematically, the action parodies what has gone before in the previous scene. Faustus’ supernatural thieving from the banquet of the Pope is echoed by Robin’s less significant theft of a cup from an inn. Interestingly, the vintner appears to be a much more dignified figure than the Pope. The attempts of Robin and Dick to hide the cup from the unlucky vintner lead them to resort to conjuring. Their conjuring, once again, is a parody of Faustus’ own association with devils and the black arts.

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