Scene six

[Note. In some editions of the play, this scene appears part way through Scene Five, immediately after Mephastophilis' speech beginning ‘Tut, marriage is but a ceremonial toy' and ending ‘Ready to execute what thou desir'st'. In the edition on which this guide is based, these are lines 149-60, but line numbering will differ slightly between editions.]

Synopsis of scene 6

Robin has stolen one of Faustus' magic books and plans to use its spells for sexual purposes. His fellow ostler Rafe reminds him of their everyday duties but agrees that, once these are finished, he will join Robin in conjuring up women.

Commentary on scene 6

I mean to search some circles for my own use Robin plans to make the same kind of magic circles as Faustus creates, although, since he lacks Faustus' learning, he is unlikely to be successful.

now will I make … stark naked before me Robin plans to use magic for ignoble purposes. The same could be said of some of Faustus' conjuring in the course of the play.

He keeps such a chafing with my mistress about it A customer is complaining about slow service from the ostlers.

roaring Dangerous.

bear Tolerate or put up with; also, perhaps, bear the weight of his body in the sexual act and eventually, bear his child.

intolerable Robin's comic mistake for ‘incomparable'.

'ippocras Hippocras was a wine flavoured with spices.

Rafe, if thou hast … as often as thou wilt Robin promises Rafe that with his magic he will obtain anyone to whom that Rafe wants to make love.

horsebread Feed or bran, to which an ostler would have ready access.

Investigating scene 6

  • Since scene 6 is a comic interlude, it has much in common with scenes 2 and 4. What is the effect of using prose instead of blank verse in these scenes?
    • Does the style used make the mood more, or less, informal?
    • Does it make the comedy more, or less, effective?
  • Think about the semantic fields used in this scene. Record the diction used in loose categories such as: Work / Love / Food
    • What is the effect of these fields on the structure of the scene?
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