Chorus two

Synopsis of Chorus 2

Time has elapsed. Wagner now assumes the role of Chorus to narrate the action. He explains what Faustus has done – visiting Mount Olympus, the home of the classical gods and riding on what seems to be Apollo's chariot. We are told that he will now go on to the Pope's palace in Rome.

Commentary on Chorus 2

Graven in the book of Jove's high firmament Faustus has travelled to see the stars close up by visiting the outer reaches of the universe. The heavens were often referred to as the firmament. See also The Renaissance.

Olympus' top Mount Olympus was the home of the gods of ancient Greek mythology.

Apolloa chariot burning bright This probably refers to the legend of the god Apollo, who was responsible for driving a chariot carrying the sun. He would drive the chariot across the sky each day. Note also the story of Phaeton.

Prove Test or try.

holy Peter's feast In the New Testament, Simon Peter was one of Jesus' closest friends and followers. While he was a disciple, Jesus renamed him Cephas, which Greek for Peter, meaning ‘rock'. Jesus told Peter, ‘Upon this rock will I build my church,' Matthew 16:16-19. He was, therefore, traditionally seen as the first leader of the Church. The Catholic Church allocated particular days each year to celebrate the lives of saints: St Peter's Feast Day is 29 June.

More on Peter: Peter was the first person to communicate the ‘good news', or gospel; this was to a large crowd of people in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14, 32-33, 38). Subsequently, the leaders of the worldwide (or ‘catholic') Church were seen as following in his footsteps and the Pope is seen as occupying Peter's seat of authority.

Investigating chorus 2

  • How does this scene go about describing for the audience events that cannot be shown on stage?
  • Make a list of the other references to people flying in the play
    • How might they apply to Faustus?
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