Closely interrogating a literary text is key to understanding and interpretating it.
Practice Exercise 1: Textual Analysis
Learning Objective: To use your critical thinking and writing skills to examine similarities and differences between Doctor Faustus and Faust in the existential dilemmas at the beginnings of the plays.
Instructions: Read Act I, Scene I, l. 1 - 64 in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Night, lines 355 - 385 in Goethe's Faust. Look up words you do not know as they may be important to the meaning of the passage.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How do Faust's background, ideals, and goals in life compare to those of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus?
- What has Doctor Faustus achieved at this point? What still eludes him?
- Why has Faust lost “all delight” (l. 370)?
- What sort of personalities do Doctor Faustus and Faust seem to have? (How are they the same? How are they different?)
Now write a well-organized essay of 750 to 1000 words comparing and contrasting these opening scenes, using specific references to these scenes to support your arguments.