Christopher Marlowe – Doctor Faustus (ctd.)

Another amusing interlude, this time with a horse-courser, or horse-trader. He wants to by Faustus’ horse for forty dollars, Faustus wants fifty, the horse-courser appeals to Mepahstophilis (whom he takes for Faustus’s servant), Faustus sells him the horse for forty dollars but warns him he should never ride him into the water.  The happy horse-courser leaves. Faustus left alone muses darkly about his impending doom, but finds solace in the story of the thief saved by Jesus on the cross and decides to go to sleep to quieten his conscience. The horse-courser reappears, crying. He thought Faustus forbade him to ride the horse into the water because he didn’t want him to know about some wonderful quality of the horse. So the horse-courser did exactly what he was told not to do and found himself in the middle of the pond sitting on a bale of hay. Now he yells at sleeping Faustus, trying to wake him and get his money back. When Faustus does not react, the horse-courser pulls his leg and finds it has come off. Faustus now pretends to wake up and M. threatens to take the horse-courser to the constable. The constable begs them not to call the police and he is going to give them forty dollars more. He runs home to fetch money. Faustus reattaches his leg. Wagner comes on stage to give Faustus invitation from the duke of Vanholt and Faustus says he is going to go there immediately. The most interesting thing in this scene is that the horse-courser calls Faustus “Doctor Lupus”, which is apparently the allusion to Roderigo Lopez, a physician to Queen Elizabeth who was executed for plotting to poison her in 1594. Marlowe died in 1593, so unless he was prescient, it means at least this line was written by somebody else.

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