Chorus in Faustus

416 Words2 Pages
The Chorus informs the audience that the dramatist in this play will not deal with the subject of war or present scenes of love or “the pomp of proud audacious deeds.” The play will deal instead with “Faustus’ fortunes, good or bad.” Faustus, the audience is told, was born in Germany. Though he was of low social origin, he was brought up in the city of Wittenberg. He blossomed into (became) a great scholar who brought grace to the fruitful garden of scholarship. He acquired proficiency in theology. Because of his arrogance as a scholar, he tried to go beyond human limitations and so met with his downfall. He took to (started to like) the study of “cursed necromancy,” or black magic. Magic and the power it promises became more precious to Faustus than the salvation of his soul through religion. During the Elizabethan age, the term “Chorus” was applied to a single person who spoke the prologue and epilogue to a play, and sometimes introduced each act as well. The Chorus also provides occasional passages of explanation or commentary at the beginning, middle, or end of the play. Marlowe is mainly interested in presenting Faustus, his dreams and aspirations, his initial resolve, his subsequent doubts and his tragic and untimely death. His play opens with a Chorus speech. It gives the necessary exposition to the play’s action. The prologue presents Faustus and the circumstances of his birth, his upbringing at Wittenberg, his blossoming into a brilliant scholar, his proficiency in theology, his pride in his own abilities, and his attempt to become godlike, which leads to his tragic downfall. The Chorus underlines Faustus’ tragic flaws. Faustus’ “cunning” (misused knowledge) and “self-conceit” (pride in his own abilities) hold the keys to his tragedy. Words like “falling,” “glutted,” “surfeits” and “sweet” point to the sensual nature of Faustus’ pursuit of knowledge.
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