• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Role of the Chorus and its effect on the audience, as seen in Dr Faustus and Murder in the Cathedral

Extracts from this document...


The role of the chorus and its effect on the audiences as seen in the plays: Dr. Faustus and Murder in the Cathedral. The plays Dr Faustus by Marlowe and MITC by TS Eliot, both involve the Christian concept of divinity where God is the Supreme. In Dr Faustus, Marlowe has exemplified this through the protagonist, Faustus who trancedes from a scholarly person to a cheap trickster with devolved morals and character as the plot unfolds. In his ambitious quest for power and glory through forbidden knowledge in areas like Necromancy and association with Lucifer leads Faustus to ignore that Christian doctrine forbids any human to be at par with God. In doing so he deviates towards the path of corruption. In MITC, the protagonist - the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett represents Faustus' spiritual counterpart. Where Faustus' open defiance of God and love of materialistic pleasures rule his heart, Beckett's selflessness and open rejection of glory through his desire to bring his people back to Godly ways through martyrdom makes Faustus' selling away of his own soul, contrast sharply with Beckett's spiritual-self. ...read more.


The story of Icarus' downfall is brought out in direct comparison to Faustus' life. The Chorus has thus described the downfall of Faustus for he 'becomes swollen with cunning'; pride and arrogance are what lead to his downfall. The chorus then concludes the 1st scene by referring to Faustus as 'the man in his study sits'. As the play ends, the chorus appears again and brings out the moral to the audience; it makes the audience reflect on what has happened in the play. Like a well-informed observer, the chorus makes wise reflections on what has occurred. In doing so, the chorus fulfills it purpose. In pursuit of power beyond human limitation, Faustus devolves into an altogether different person from what he was before he starts learning magic. This leads to one of the main morals of the story which goes to show that power can lead to corruption. Faustus soul is carried away by devils; this invariably makes Faustus earn some amount of sympathy for his damnation. The scholars agree to pray for him and as the clock strikes twelve, the audience is left with a feeling of a bitter end for Faustus. ...read more.


The chorus mediates between the action and the audience. It helps to intensify the action by projecting its emotional consequences, so that the audience sees it doubly by seeing its effect on other people. It has also helped bring out contemporary issues in the play like, the effect of a corrupted law system on the lower sections of society; their plight can be clearly seen in the chorus. The tone of the chorus turns from desperation to despair. There is animal imagery in their speech and they see sure death for Becket as the plot unfolds. The speech of the chorus is somewhat colloquial; it captures the attention of the audience and bridges the gap between the spiritual level of the theme of the play and the everyday experience of the audience. By the end of the play the Chorus has brought out the mercy of Christ through the martyrdom of Becket. This is an essential feature of the theme of the play and leaves the people of Canterbury or rather the chorus to look into themselves for their faults. They 'fear the injustice of men more than the justice of God'. In achieving martyrdom, Becket achieves what he desires, the good of his people and their turning to god's ways. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christopher Marlowe section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christopher Marlowe essays

  1. Comment on the relationship between the comic and serious material in Dr Faustus.

    During this scene Faustus causes horns to appear on the head of a knight who doubts hid magical prowess. Even though the emperor is impressed by Faustus' magic tricks, they are again very little more than glorified illusions. The Emperor promises Faustus that he will be pardoned which gives the

  2. In what ways and with what effects does 'Dr. Faustus' question the acquisition and ...

    and he also realizes that he must sin; If we say that we have no sin, We deceive ourselves, And there's no truth in us. Why then belike we must sin, And so consequently die. Ay, we must die an everlasting death 10 (i.

  1. What does the play show us about attitudes to sin and damnation?

    There are some things in the text that might point to a more unconventional reading. Marlowe could be showing God to be judgmental and someone you can't turn to for comfort. We can explore the attitudes towards damnation by looking at how hell and damnation are represented in the play.

  2. Do Renaissance texts deal primarily with Renaissance concerns, or with universal human emotions and ...

    In this way Spenser not only reinforces this image, but also unites England's monarch with God. The knight (or England) is strengthened by Una's (or Elizabeth's) support, and the battle against Rome continues. The Red Crosse Knight grips Errour by the throat and we see that 'Her vomit full of bookes and papers was' (1.177).

  1. "In Dr Faustus Marlowe is only incidentally concerned with the state of Faustus' soul: ...

    Faustus is considered the most learned man in Germany and sees two choices: to remain where he is today or to make himself even greater and answer that question incorrectly! So, we can see that during the first three scenes Marlowe definitely begins to examine human desire.

  2. 'Compare the ways that Marlowe and Chaucer present the theme of sin in 'Dr ...

    Faustus seems totally unsure in his own head what to do: 'I do repent, and yet I do despair', but his pride eventually becomes his downfall, as even after Mephistopheles warned him of his 'frivolous demands', Faustus pours scorn over him, telling him to 'learn of Faustus manly fortitude'.

  1. Faustus: Renaissance Martyr or Tragic Hero

    He is bored with theology, finding that man is doomed no matter what happens, and he has become a master physician, curing a whole village of a plague. He feels that there is nothing left for him to learn, as is frustrated by this; therefore, he decides to delve into the realm of necromancy and magic.

  2. From what we have seen so far (Act 1, scene 6) in Cristopher Marlowe's

    In Act 1, scene 1, Faustus is looking for something to challenge himself with, and therefore looks at himself in the third person. Faustus believes himself to be extremely knowledgeable already so he rejects his studies. There may be evidence to suggest that Faustus is a weak character viewing dispassionatly, although I do not believe this.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work