Christopher Marlowe – Doctor Faustus (ctd.)

Cornelius and Valdes arrive and tell Faustus about all the wonderful things he is going to achieve once he learns black magic from them. Interestingly enough, they tell him that the spirits are going to obedient to him like “Indian Moors” to their Spanish lords, which goes to show that early modern era had no concept of our modern racial categories and anybody with swarthier complexion could be lumped in the category of “the Moor”. (There is this whole debate going on about how black Othello really was.) There are a lot of allusions to contemporary people and events, which I think shows how much Marlowe wanted to win his audience. Sometimes a mediocre joke gets a lot of laughs just because it is current, which is also visible in the next scene, where two nameless scholars debate the fate of Faustus. They try to get some information from Wagner passing by, but Wagner engages in complicated jokes instead, half of them playing with the language of scholarly disputes (how can I know where he is if he is alive and therefore able to move), and half of it parodying the speech mannerisms characteristic of the Puritans. But finally he does tell them that Faustus is dining with Cornelius and Valdes. “Oh, it is just as we feared”, say the scholars. “Let us go to the Rector (the university president), “maybe he will talk some sense into Faustus”.


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