Chorus 2, Scenes 7-8 Summaries

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Chorus 2

The Chorus appears and describes to the audience Faustus’s continued exploits with Mephistophilis. He is away, says the Chorus, on a journey through the cosmos, riding on a chariot pulled by dragons, in order to learn the secrets of the celestial bodies. He will then go to Rome to see the Pope.

Scene 7

In scene 7, Faustus delightedly recounts to Mephistophilis the places they have seen. They have toured the town of Trier and traveled to Paris and the French countryside, where the rivers Maine and Rhine connect amidst vineyards. Then Faustus describes the buildings and streets of Naples, as well as the tomb of the famous poet Virgil, which is cut impressively through rock. They then move on to Venice and Padua. When Faustus wonders where they will go next, Mephistophilis replies that their next destination, as per Faustus’s prior request, will be the Vatican, in Rome, where they will invade the private chambers of the Pope. 

Mephistophilis tells Faustus about all the brilliant sites and buildings that comprise Rome, presumably fulfilling a request of Faustus’s to be shown the splendors of Europe. He describes the four bridges that the Romans use to cross the Tiber River and the castle upon Ponte Angelo, which sports brass double-cannons. Faustus expresses his devotion to hell in religious terms. He suggests that they explore the city, but Mephistophilis says that a better idea would be to go immediately to see the Pope, who is about to partake in the Feast of St. Peter. Mocking the Pope as a particularly avid drinker and feaster, Faustus agrees to this plan.

Intending to cause mischief, Faustus asks Mephistophilis to turn him invisible, and they enter the Papal chambers. When the Pope, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and various Friars and attendants enter, Faustus makes a series of rude and vulgar utterances, baffling and insulting the Pope as he sits down to feast. Invisible as he is, Faustus’s words seem to come from thin air. Faustus steals the Pope’s food and wine just as they are being served, which causes a great deal of confusion, as the Pope first blames the Friars. The Cardinal of Lorraine suggests that an evil spirit may be behind the disturbances. At this, the Pope suggests a holy dirge be sung, which he hopes will help to banish the spirits, and he crosses himself. 

This act of crossing perturbs Faustus (both because Faustus is now an agent of unholy power, and because Protestants at the time considered the act of crossing oneself to be idolatrous), and he warns the Pope not to do so again. When the Pope crosses himself a second and third time, Faustus smacks the Pope on the side of his head. Mephistophilis expresses concern that the holy leaders in the room may call upon the power of God to exorcise them like evil spirits. Faustus, however, mocks this notion, comparing the present clergy to hogs, cows, and asses. Then the Friars begin to sing a dirge, describing the disturbances and cursing the malicious spirit who caused them. At this, Faustus and Mephistophilis beat up the Friars and fling fireworks around the Papal chambers before leaving.

Scene 8

For scene 8, the narrative returns to the exploits of Robin and Rafe, the two stable hands who in scene 6 set out with the intention of using Faustus’s book of magic for personal ends. 

The two men, having gone out drinking, have stolen a silver goblet from the local pub. The Vintner then appears, asking the men to return the goblet. When Robin and Rafe deny having stolen any goblet, the Vintner first searches Robin, who sneakily passes the goblet to Rafe. The Vintner then searches Rafe, who similarly passes the goblet back to Robin in a humorous exchange. Although the Vintner does not find the goblet, he is still convinced that the two men are responsible for the theft.

Offended at being searched like a thief, Robin threatens the Vintner with unholy magic. Taking up Faustus’s book of magic, Robin utters a series of nonsensical Latin-esque phrases, causing Mephistophilis to appear. The Vintner is terrified at the appearance of the demon and concedes out of fear that the men do not have the goblet. Mephistophilis nonetheless chases the Vintner off. Robin, realizing as Mephistophilis returns that the demon is displeased to have been summoned, apologizes and promises not to use the magic book anymore. Mephistophilis, however, speaks authoritatively and scornfully to the men, asserting that he, a monarch of hell and a claimer of souls, will not be summoned for the pleasure of scoundrels. Robin offers to give Mephistophilis a sixpence for his trouble, and Mephistophilis angrily turns Robin into an ape and Rafe into a dog. The men joke about how they will live happily, despite their new animal forms.

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Scenes 5–6 Summaries

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Chorus 3, Scenes 9–11 Summaries