Doctor Faustus


Christopher Marlowe

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Doctor Faustus: Scene 7 Summary & Analysis

Faustus enters with Mephastophilis. Faustus recounts how they have traveled throughout Europe and asks Mephastophilis if they are now in Rome, where he had ordered Mephastophilis to bring him. Mephastophilis answers that they are in the pope's “privy chamber,” (7, 24). Faustus is eager to see the monuments of the city of Rome. Mephastophilis suggests that they stay in the pope's room, instead, and play some tricks on the pope. Faustus agrees and Mephastophilis casts a spell that makes Faustus invisible.
Upon arriving in Rome, Faustus seeks to expand his cultural and intellectual horizons, visiting the city's monuments. But Mephastophilis easily persuades him to use magic for cheap tricks and pranks at the expense of the pope. Faustus's lofty ambitions are sliding a bit as he uses his power to indulge his baser instincts.
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Knowledge, and Power Theme Icon
In the B-text, the pope enters along with attendants and Bruno, a rival for the office of pope who was supported by the German emperor. The pope humiliates and ridicules Bruno for opposing him. Mephastophilis and Faustus disguise themselves as two cardinals and the pope gives Bruno to them to be executed. Instead, they help Bruno escape to Germany. When the actual two cardinals return to the pope, he asks them whether Bruno has been executed but they are confused and swear they were never given Bruno. All of this is only in the B-text and does not occur in the A-text.
This scene from the B-text furthers the unflattering portrayal of the pope in the A-text. The pope is characterized as power-hungry and more concerned with himself than the church. Marlowe's audiences would have gladly seen this critical portrayal of the leader of the Roman Catholic church, which was seen as standing in opposition to the new Renaissance ideals of individual ambition (exemplified by both Faustus and Bruno) and also, more importantly, as being hostile to England.
The Renaissance Individual Theme Icon
In the A-text, the pope enters with a cardinal and some friars, ready to eat at a banquet. Faustus and Mephastophilis, invisible, curse loudly and snatch dishes from the table. The pope and the friars think that a ghost is harassing them. The pope crosses himself, and the friars sing a dirge to drive the spirit away. Faustus and Mephastophilis beat the friars, fling fireworks everywhere, and then leave.
Faustus' use of magic has now deteriorated to pulling cheap pranks. In fulfilling his desires, he seems to have lost some of his noble motivations, and his own sinning seems to have affected himself, hurting his character. (Still, Protestant members of Marlowe's audiences might not have thoroughly enjoyed some slapstick comedy at the expense of the pope.)
Temptation, Sin, and Redemption Theme Icon
Literary Devices