Comic scenes in “Doctor Faustus” at Royal Holloway, 27 Oct 2015 (Lorna Spicer)

There’s a lot more comedy, particularly slapstick, in this play than I remembered! On reflection it seems to me that the lower characters such as Wagner, Robin etc. are aping Faustus at the beginning in their pursuit of magic (the comic scenes seem to juxtapose his, in my memory) but, despite his seemingly noble intentions to use his association with Mephistopheles to further his knowledge of the cosmos, ultimately his own use of magic also becomes merely comic.  He becomes an entertainer and has given up knowledge for fame and fortune.  Is this part of his tragedy – not just the loss of his soul but the way in which a potentially great man has become diminished?

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