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MonkeyNotes-Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
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Act IV, Scene 6

Summary

Dick and Robin arrive at the inn. Robin says that he owes eighteen pence but hopes the hostess has forgotten all about it. The hostess welcomes them. After instructing the servants to serve beer, she goes away. The men at the inn exchange gossip about Faustus. Each of them has been deceived by him. The carter has lost a complete load of hay, which Faustus himself devoured. The horse dealer has been sold a bundle of hay, instead of a horse. (He brags, nevertheless, of pulling Faustusí leg off.) Robin has been changed into an ape by one of Faustusí devils. They decide to seek out Faustus, but first they will go into another room for some more drinks.


Notes

The horse dealer is allowed a scene in which he gloats over his supposed victory over Faustus. He is seen talking to other victims of Faustusí magic. The horse dealerís story makes more sense when it is balanced against the carterís story of Faustus eating the hay. The horse dealer recounts how he got the better of Faustus by dismembering him. Robin, too, recounts his transformation into an ape.

Marlowe here makes an indirect reference to the legend of Circe, another magician, who transformed men into dumb animals. This legend is traditionally associated with the dangers of strong drink. These four characters drink more and more until they work themselves into a state of false bravado. In the next scene they appear in the presence of Faustus and the Duke and Duchess of Vanholt. They are once again reduced to an animal-like state in which they are deprived of language.

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