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

Significance of comic and farcical scenes in Marlowe's Dr. Faustus

Extracts from this document...


Significance of comic and farcical scenes in Marlowe's Dr. Faustus Dr. Faustus, decidedly a tragic play, contains a number of comic scenes. It is a matter of sheer conjecture whether Marlowe wrote these scenes himself or allowed someone else to write them in deference to the prevailing taste of the times, because, Marlowe in the Prologue to Tambularine had contemptuously discarded buffoonery or clownage as being inappropriate for the dignity of tragic drama. The comic scenes of Dr. Faustus are significant in many respects. Now we may have a brief examination of the comic scenes. The first comic scene (Act - I, Scene II) occurs between Wagner, the servant of Dr. Faustus and between two scholars. Wagner here parodies the mediaeval scholastic process of reasoning adopted by scholars whose discussions he has often heard at his master's residence. The scholars ask him as to the whereabouts of Faustus. Wagner tries first to puzzle them by his answers. Then he says, "God in heaven knows where Faustus is." ...read more.


This scene no doubt produces laughter, but it is important also to indicate the degeneration of Faustus. Faustus would sell his soul to Mephistophilis for infinite power while the clown would sell his soul to the devil for good food. Both transactions are ridiculous - the first even more than the second because the first is far less realistic. The next comic scene is the scene of seven deadly scenes in Act - II, Scene - II. The seven deadly scenes namely Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Anger and Sloth were very important in mediaeval and later Christian theology. They played an important role in many works of mediaeval and Renaissance literature. The various sins do certainly amuse us by the manner which they describe their respective characteristics. Pride "disdains" to have any parents; Covetousness would like the house and all the people in it to be turned into gold; Wrath wounds himself with his daggers when there is nobody else to attack; Envy is begotten of a "chimney-sweeper and an oyster-wife"; Gluttony has bacon, beef, claret as his ancestors. ...read more.


It has a touch of comedy but it also indicates that Faustus, who could become "Emperor of Emperors", has now turned into a mere trickster. The scene (Act - IV, Scene - IV) of Faustus's dealing with a horse-courser is the last comical scene. The manner of talking the horse-courser provides laughter. But indicates to the extreme point of the degeneration of Dr. Faustus. The man who can have billions of dollars by his necromantic power now deceives a horse-courser only for forty dollars. A great scholar has turned into a trickster. The comic scenes, however, indicate some defects in the play. "The abundance", according to a critic, "of the comic scenes here weakens the dramatic quality". Many time the comic scenes are not up to the mark. In the harassment of the Pope, comedy degenerates into farce. The practical jokes played on the horse-courser is sheer-clownage and unworthy of a somber and great play such as Doctor Faustus. Despite all these facts, however, these comic scenes are significant. It may be said that the various comic scenes serve to fill the interval between Faustus's attainment of magical power and the damnation, which overtakes him after the gap of twenty-four years. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Other Authors 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 GCSE Other Authors essays

  1. How does Ayub Khan-Din portray conflict in the play East is East

    "The last thing he wants to be doing is squatting down on his knees in his condition". This quote shows religious conflict, as it was because of Sajit's religion that he was circumcises to begin with. Additionally, it adds humour to the situation by implying that Sajit cannot possible kneel

  2. How does Shaw draw the audience's attention to issues of social class in Act ...

    However, nearing the end of the play after learning how to speak correctly from Higgins, Eliza's grammar and accent improve immensely. Bernard Shaw did this to show his audience that even though things such as language tend to define a specific social class, we can all change and move out of our individual class.

  1. What Do The Audience Learn About Sheila Birling In Act 1?

    As she tells her story she seems strong-willed as she says, while distressed, "I went to the manager at Milwards and I told him.... I'd persuade mother to close our account." This shows that she is willing to take risks and threaten people to get what she wants.

  2. With Close Reference to two or three episodes, investigate the relationship between Sherlock Holmes ...

    close friends their friendship is very strange as they have a very competitive side to it. The bizarre relationship between Watson and Holmes is shown especially when Holmes is listening to Watson saying what he thinks of the stick, letting Watson think he's getting it all right when actually Holmes has a completely different answer.

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