Doctor Faustus


Christopher Marlowe

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Doctor Faustus: Prologue Summary & Analysis

The Chorus enters and delivers the Prologue. He begins by assuring the audience that the play will deal with neither epic, nor heroic, nor courtly matters, but merely with “the form of Faustus' fortunes, good or bad” (Prologue, 8).
The chorus's modest claims contrast with Faustus's soaring ambition. The tragedy will focus upon the fortune of a single individual.
The Renaissance Individual Theme Icon
The Chorus summarizes Faustus's biography, including his humble origins, precociousness as a student, interest in necromancy, and eventual fall from grace, comparing him to Icarus, whose “waxen wings” (Prologue, 20) melted when he flew too close to the sun.
Faustus's humble origins exemplify the Renaissance individual's ability to rise to power from nothing. But at the same time, the allusion to the myth of Icarus brings to light the folly of excessive ambition for an individual.
The Renaissance Individual Theme Icon
Literary Devices