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Doctor Faustus | Study Guide

Christopher Marlowe

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Act 3, Chorus

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of the Act 3 Chorus of Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus.

Doctor Faustus | Act 3, Chorus | Summary



Assuming the role of the chorus, Wagner explains that Faustus has dedicated himself to the pursuit of limitless knowledge. He has mastered astronomy, gained power to match that of the Olympian gods, and is now out gathering knowledge of geography. He next stops in Rome with the aim of seeing the pope and taking part in the day's holy Feast of Saint Peter.


In the true spirit of the Renaissance, Faustus has flung himself headlong into acquiring the knowledge he seeks. Faustus now travels in a dragon-drawn chariot. As described in the prologue, he is soaring to dangerous heights like mythic Icarus. The dragon is a Christian symbol of evil, paganism, and Satan. Faustus's ambition is unrestrained.

The day he chooses to visit Rome and the pope is significant. The Feast of Saint Peter (also known as the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul) is an annual public holiday in the Holy City. It honors two of the original disciples of Christ credited with establishing the Christian church and its teachings. Peter is considered the first pope. This feast day would have deep significance for the current pope.

The B-Text designates the speaker for this scene as the chorus, not Wagner.

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