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Do you think that the lines of the Chorus which end Doctor Faustus sum up satisfactorily the meaning of the play?

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Introduction

Do you think that the lines of the Chorus which end Doctor Faustus sum up satisfactorily the meaning of the play? The Chorus provides several subjective and realistic appraisals of the play in different sections, providing a clear and concise explanation of the characters and the events. The epilogue is no different to any of these previous interventions. However, the question remains as to whether the chorus 'sums up satisfactorily the meaning of the play?' This can be answered in one of two ways, depending on whether you consider the epilogue as a summary of the play and the dangers posed, or as a brief explanation of the plays moral message. If the Chorus is used as a summary of the play then it fails to meet the required criteria and therefore cannot be considered as satisfactory. This is because the play is in no way explained and the audience is not clearly reminded of the plays beginning, this is only hinted at - 'Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight'. ...read more.

Middle

For example, in the opening scene we find Faustus debating which area of study he should apply himself to as he was capable of any achievement, this is no idle boast which is seen in his description as 'Apollo's laurel bough' and a 'learned man'. However, as his quest for knowledge and answers leads him to Rome he is convinced my Mephostophilis to play a prank on the Pope, also whenever Faustus begins to question his loyalty to Lucifer he is 'treated' to a show of fireworks or a to colourful parade. It is this descent into mindless indulgence and transient enjoyment from the genius of Faustus that is really being described as the 'hellish fall'. The language used to describe the collapse of Faustus' morals is also very violent, for example 'burned is Apollo's laurel bough', the burning image reflects many peoples vision of hell and is also associated with a great deal of pain. Also, the fact that the 'branch' has been 'cut' implies that it was not an act that Faustus had any control over, that he was merely an object to be toyed with and eventually ruined. ...read more.

Conclusion

This suggestion encourages us to look but not to touch, as this act can have fatal consequences. However, this idea is juxtaposed with the suggestion that it is not entirely Faustus' fault, that he was merely a pawn in Lucifer and Mephostophilis game, which tells me that the blame for Faustus' downfall can be attributed to him as well. I think that lack of clarity means that there is no simple answer, that there are too many factors, from Faustus to Wagner to Lucifer himself. I believe that in order to properly summarise the downfall and plight of Faustus, more than a mere eight lines are required. The character of Faustus is far too complex to be captured in a few short lines. However, the Chorus succeeds in capturing the moral message of the play, that even a scholar such as Faustus can fall into depravity and lewdness, that a persons own pride can lead to inexcusable actions, given the wrong advice. After all who can say that they are safe from the temptations of evil? ...read more.

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