faust study questions

An online version of the play is available here (including a Kindle version) or you can download a .pdf version here.As or after you finish reading Marlowe’s play, complete these 25 study questions to check for understanding.

1- Where is the play set?

2- What does Faustus study in college? (i.e., what is his “major”?)

3- What four sorts of books does Faustus sort through and then discard in the opening scene? Why does he discard each type?

4- What is the one type of book that still holds interest for Faustus?

5-What are some of the goals or uses Faustus has in mind when he first imagines summoning demons?

6- In scene two, how do the other scholars at the university react to rumors of Faustus’s necromantic dealings?

7- What problem does Faustus encounter when he first summons Mephistopholis? (i.e., why does he require the demon to leave the stage and then re-enter?)

8- What does Mephistopholis tell Faustus when Faustus starts feeling cocky about his ability to “command” the spirits to appear before him?

9- After talking to Mephistopholis, Faustus is left alone on stage at the end of scene three. What are some of the plans he has for using his demonic servants? (i.e., what are some of the things he wants to achieve?)

10- According to Mephistopholis, why does Satan want Faustus’s soul? What good will it do Satan to have souls?

11- What are the five conditions Faustus sets down in the contract?

12- When does the contract expire?

13- Mephastophilis refuses to tell Faustus who made the world. Why do you suppose he refuses?

14- What seven figures does Lucifer use to distract Faustus from his prayers?

15- Of the seven figures, Faustus scorns all of them except one. Which one does he react to positively with the exclamation, “Oh, this feeds my soul!”

16- What do Faustus and his companion steal from the Pope? How might this be symbolic?

17- Why is Mephastophilis so upset by Rafe and Robin’s summoning? What does Mephastophilis do to Rafe and Robin and the Vinter as punishment?

18- When Faustus goes before the Holy Roman Emperor in Germany, the Emperor wants Faustus to raise up famous spirits of the dead for conversation. Faustus cannot do that, so what does he do instead?

19- What do Faustus and Mephastophilis do to the rude knight at the emperor’s court?

20- In scene eleven, what trivial task does Faustus appoint to Mephastophilis when he visits the Duke’s pregnant wife?

21- In scene twelve, when Mephastophilis threatens to arrest Faustus’ soul for treason and rend it, to whom does Faustus appeal for mercy? Why is this ironic?

22- How does Mephastophilis distract Faustus from his thoughts of repentance? [I.e., who or what does he bring as the ultimate distraction? How does this choice of temptations correspond to Faustus’s reactions to each of the seven deadly sins earlier?

23- In scene thirteen, Faustus tells the scholars that he cannot call upon God or repent. Why not?

24- What large object dominates the stage during the last scene? Why does this object’s relentless motion cause so much despair in Faustus?

25- What happens to Faustus at the end of the play–perhaps a bit predictably?