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Write a detailed analysis of the prologue and how it introduces us to the themes of the play - Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

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Shibdeep Kaur Sekhon 21st January 2003 Write a detailed analysis of the prologue and how it introduces us to the themes of the play. The play "Dr. Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe begins with a prologue in which a chorus communicates directly to the audience about the action of the play they are about to observe. A chorus is very different to the customary dialogue of the play. The fact that the chorus addresses the audience directly, it attracts the audience's attention. It begins by telling us, the audience, what the play is not about. "Not marching now in the fields of Thrasimene, / ... / In courts of kings where state is overturned ..." ...read more.


A chorus is always believed when he suggests to the audience about possible themes or storylines as there is no reason for not believing him. The chorus also provides the audience with a little aid to give them an idea of what to expect; "To patient judgements we appeal our applaud." He appeals to the audience that they need to be patient because the play is much more sophisticated than usual therefore they should make their judgements at the end and not beforehand. The chorus notifies the audience of Faustus' background; "... his parents base of stock, / In Germany, within a town called Rhodes ... his kinsmen brought him up." ...read more.


Faustus has overeaten with knowledge and finds he can eat to greater success with the study of "necromancy." There is also reference to religious imagery which evident through the word "heavens" which evokes the audience to think about the idea of good verses evil that dominates the play. The audience are reminded of the "waxen wings" of Icarus implying that Faustus will also suffer a downfall because he has given in to temptation. Although enough information is revealed in the prologue that the audience have a brief idea of what to expect and what the themes of the play are, it is not enough to ruin their anticipation. Yet the prologue functions as a convention to whet their appetite in the similar way to a blurb at the back of a book cover and a trailer at the beginning of a film. ...read more.

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