Doctor Faustus


Christopher Marlowe

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Doctor Faustus: Scene 11 Summary & Analysis

The Duke and Duchess of Vanholt entertain Faustus (and Mephastophilis) at court. Faustus asks the Duchess what he can conjure that would please her, and she asks him to make a plate of grapes appear, since it is the middle of winter (and grapes are only available in the summer). Mephastophilis leaves and brings back grapes. The Duke is intrigued and asks Faustus how he procured grapes in the middle of winter. Faustus answers that when it is winter in Germany, it is summer in opposite parts of the globe. He sent “a swift spirit that I have” (11, 21) to bring the grapes from afar. Faustus encourages the Duchess to eat the grapes, and she says they are the best she's ever tasted. The Duke and Duchess promise to reward Faustus for his display of magic.
Once again, Faustus' great powers are put to lowly uses. Faustus was once a respected, wise scholar. Now he has gained much knowledge and power, but he spends his time currying favor by fulfilling the whims of the powerful. His sinning has hurt not only others, but also his own character.
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon