English 401
The Faust Theme


English 401
The Faust Theme

Practice Exercise 1: Textual Analysis, Units 1 & 2

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:

  1. How do Faust's background, ideals, and goals in life compare to those of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus?
  2. What has Doctor Faustus achieved at this point? What still eludes him?
  3. Why has Faust lost “all delight” (l. 370)?
  4. 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.


Last modified: Tuesday, 5 November 2013, 4:13 PM MST