monster, like a troll. The carter, the horse-trader, and the clowns continue todrink ale. Full of false courage, they decide to find themagician and give him a rough time about his missing leg. ^^^^^^^^^^DOCTOR FAUSTUS: ACT IV, SCENE VII Faustus has been summoned to the Duke of Vanholt's castle,where he's busy showing off his magic arts. He asks theDuchess, who is pregnant, if there is any special food shecraves. The Duchess admits she has a yen for grapes. Only it'sJanuary, she sighs. Snow covers the ground, and the grapes havelong since vanished from the vines.
Faustus replies graciously that grapes are no trouble at all.He sends Mephistophilis whizzing around the globe to warmerclimates. The spirit returns in a twinkling of an eye with aripe cluster of grapes. This scene asks you to exercise some historical imagination.In the twentieth century, we have electric freezers for storingsummer fruits and vegetables during the winter. But theElizabethans didn't. In their eating habits, the Elizabethanswere strictly subject to the seasons. With that point in mind,what do you think of Faustus' latest trick? Is it just somegood-natured hocus-pocus that you shouldn't take too seriously?Or is Faustus doing something rather impressive by thumbing hisnose at the calendar? The issue at stake, as you've probably guessed, is Faustus'dignity. Either he retains the heroic stature he had in theearly scenes, or he deteriorates as he wades deeper and deeperinto evil--and into the illusions of Lucifer's hell. You can make an argument for Faustus' steady decline thatruns something like this. In Act II, Faustus wanted knowledgeand questioned Mephistophilis about the stars. In Act III,Faustus opted for experience and enjoyed the delights of travel.But by Act IV, Faustus has become obsessed with food. All hecan think about is something to eat--hay for himself, "dainties"for pregnant women, and so on. In other words, Faustus beganwith noble aims, but under the influence of demons, he's gonesteadily downhill. This leads you back to the play's Christianmoral. The rowdy crew from the tavern descends on the castle ofVanholt. They bang on the gates and loudly call for Faustus toshow himself. The Duke is shocked and wants to call the police.But Faustus says no. Let the louts be admitted. We'll all havea good laugh at their expense. The noisy, snow-splattered group invades the quiet stonehalls of the castle. They are drunk, and the horse-trader callsloudly for beer. Then he starts ribbing Faustus about hissupposed wooden leg. (Remember, the trader boasted in thetavern about the way he injured Faustus by pulling off his leg.The horse-trader, the carter, and the clowns all believe Faustusis crippled.) The trader wants to humiliate Faustus by publicizing his
deformity. Stop denying you have a wooden leg, he explodes. Iknow I pulled your leg off while you were asleep. Faustus liftshis robe to reveal two very healthy limbs. The tavern crewbreaks into noisy protests. Faustus decides it's time tosilence the fools.