Doctor Faustus


Christopher Marlowe

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Doctor Faustus

A gifted scholar of humble origins living in Wittenberg, Germany in the 16th century, Doctor Faustus is the tragic hero of Marlowe's play. Having come to what he believes is the limits of traditional knowledge… read analysis of Doctor Faustus


Mephastophilis is the devil Faustus summons when he first tries his hand at necromancy, and he remains at Faustus's side for much of the rest of the play, doing his bidding, answering his questions, distracting… read analysis of Mephastophilis


Wagner is Faustus's student and servant. Although he does not sell his soul to Lucifer alongside his master, he does dabble in the dark arts by borrowing Faustus's spell book. He is fiercely proud… read analysis of Wagner


Marlowe's Lucifer is distant. His interests in Faustus's affairs are usually represented by Mephastophilis, who does his bidding above all else, and who does not have the authority to make a deal for… read analysis of Lucifer


A traditional figure in Greek tragedy, the Chorus delivers the Prologue, a monologue in the middle of the play, and an Epilogue that ends the play. Unlike traditional Greek choruses, though, this chorus is a… read analysis of Chorus
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Good Angel and Evil Angel

A pair of angels who appear onstage every time Faustus wavers in his resolve or considers repenting. They usually deliver contradictory messages, one promising God's forgiveness and the other swearing that Faustus is irrevocably damned… read analysis of Good Angel and Evil Angel


Robin is a stable-hand who steals a spell-book from Doctor Faustus. He reappears in comic scenes throughout the play. His foolish attempts at magic act as a counter to Faustus' serious, ambitious sorcery. However… read analysis of Robin


A horse-trader who buys a horse from Faustus. Faustus warns him not to ride the horse in water. The Horse-courser assumes Faustus is trying to cheat him and rides it in water; the horse… read analysis of Horse-courser

The Pope

Faustus and Mephastophilis visit the pope in his private chambers in Rome. They annoy him and play practical jokes on him. This antagonizing of the head of the Catholic church is an example of Faustus'… read analysis of The Pope

A Knight at Charles' Court

Charles V's knight is skeptical of Doctor Faustus and does not want to see him perform his magic. Faustus makes horns appear on his head in return for his skepticism and snide remarks. (In the… read analysis of A Knight at Charles' Court

Three Scholars

Scholars in Wittenberg who gossip about and bemoan Faustus's interest in necromancy, rise to power, and damnation. They are emblems of a wider public reaction to Faustus's meteoric rise and fall, and also serve… read analysis of Three Scholars

Helen of Troy

In Greek mythology, Helen is the most beautiful woman in the entire world and the cause of the Trojan War (the Trojan prince Paris stole her from her Greek husband Menelaus). The scholars ask Faustusread analysis of Helen of Troy
Minor Characters
Valdes and Cornelius
A pair of magicians Faustus knows, Valdes and Cornelius have encouraged Faustus to try the dark arts in the past. They are more than happy to provide Faustus with reading materials and instruction in the basics of devil-summoning, and thus help instigate Faustus' fall from grace.
Referred to as “Dick” in the B-text of Doctor Faustus, Rafe is a friend of Robin's. The two try to use Faustus' spell book to learn incantations, but generally botch the process.
The Seven Deadly Sins (Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, Lechery)
Lucifer summons up these spirits to entertain Faustus. Faustus is delighted by the show, but doesn't seem to realize that his own sins (including excessive pride, which prevents him from repenting) may turn out to be truly deadly for him.
Emperor Charles V
Charles V is the powerful emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Faustus visits his court and entertains him with magic. While his magic thus brings him into the most powerful court in Europe, Faustus uses his sorcery for mere courtly entertainment.
Old Man
This unnamed man attempts to convince Faustus to repent, telling him that God is ready to forgive him and grant him mercy. He makes Faustus momentarily consider repenting, but Faustus ultimately ignores his advice.
Martino and Frederick
These two men at Charles V's court appear only in the B-text, where they discuss the fame of Doctor Faustus and help Benvolio try to kill Faustus.
A devil whom Faustus sometimes summons, and who sometimes accompanies or assists Lucifer and Mephastophilis.
Duke of Vanholt
Having heard of Faustus' powers, the Duke invites Faustus to his court. There, Faustus delights the Duke and Duchess by making fresh grapes appear in the middle of winter. The Duke promises to pay Faustus for his marvelous trick.
Duchess of Vanholt
The wife of the Duke, the Duchess asks Faustus to make grapes appear in the middle of winter. She is astonished and delighted by Faustus' magic.
Alexander the Great
The great general from Macedon who conquered the entire Mediterranean world, Alexander is summoned by Faustus for the delight of Charles V, who admires Alexander's power.
Alexander's Paramour
Alexander's lover, who appears with Alexander when summoned by Faustus.
Cardinal of Lorraine
A cardinal in the Catholic church, who is with the pope when Faustus and Mephastophilis visit.
Wagner finds this rustic peasant and makes him promise to be his servant, in return for which he will teach him magic.
The vintner is a wine merchant, who demands that Robin and Rafe return or pay for a goblet they have stolen from him. Robin and Rafe summon demons to scare him off, though Mephastophilis is annoyed that he has been summoned by two lowly clowns for this unexciting task.
The pope's rival, who is supported by Charles V. The pope has him as a prisoner, but Faustus and Mephastophilis help him escape back to Germany. Bruno only appears in the B-text.
Two Cardinals
Two cardinals are with the pope when Faustus visits the pope's chambers. In the B-text, Faustus and Mephastophilis disguise themselves as these cardinals.
A carter, or cart-driver, who encounters Faustus on the road. He sells Faustus some hay and is amazed when Faustus eats his entire wagon-load of hay. The carter appears only in the B-text.
A knight who is skeptical of Faustus's magical powers. Faustus, in revenge, gives him a horn on his head.