Synopsis of scene 7
Faustus describes to Mephastophilis the journeys he has made through Germany, France and Italy and the places he has seen. They are now in Rome to observe the Pope himself at close hand. Faustus asks Mephastophilis to make him invisible to those in the Pope's chambers, and is then able to trick and tease the clerics with clownish antics. A group of friars attempt to rid the Pope of the ‘demon' with a ceremony to curse a ghost/devil, but with a spectacular lack of success.
Commentary on scene 7
Trier A German city on the River Mosel.
environed round Bordered, or surrounded
Campania The area of Italy of which Naples is the principal city.
Maro's golden tomb The tomb of the Roman poet Publius Virgilius Maro, who was buried in Naples in 19 BCE.
sumptuous temple Possibly a reference to St Mark's basilica in Venice.
But tell me now, what resting place is this? An example of how indications of a scene change or other stage directions are often built into the dialogue of the play.
his Holiness The formal way of addressing the Pope.
privy chamber Audaciously, Faustus is to stay in the Pope's private rooms – although he will, of course, be invisible. This is another example of the play's anti-clericalism and anti-Catholicism.
within whose walls such store of ordinance are The castle amply stocked with a year's worth of weaponry suggests:
- The fabulous wealth of the city
- Its status as a military stronghold as well as a religious centre.
Besides the gates … brought from Africa This refers to an obelisk by St. Peter's Church in Rome. It was actually brought to the city by the emperor Caligula.
Styx … Acheron … Phlegethon These are three of the four rivers of Hades the ancient Greek underworld, often used as a synonym for Hell.
bald pate Refers to the tonsure of monks and friars.
summum bonum … is belly-cheer' Another satirical attack on the clergy whose summum bonum (highest good) should not be filling their stomachs.
Sound a sennet This stage direction is for a trumpet call.
an you spare If you eat sparingly.
purgatory In Catholic teaching, Purgatory is the state in which the souls of the deceased, which are not yet fit for Heaven, are purified by various means.
we shall be cursed with bell, book and candle – A reference to an act of excommunication, performed by higher clergy using a bell, the Bible and a church candle.
Anon you shall hear a hog grunt, a calf bleat, and an ass bray Faustus ridicules the friars' ceremony and the excommunication rite.
dirge A piece of music sung at a funeral.
Maledicat Dominus! The Lord curse him. The play's audience would be familiar from the Mass with the phrase Benedicat Dominus (the Lord bless him), of which this is an ironic inversion.
et omnes sancti And all the saints. The play's audience would be familiar with this phrase from the Mass
Investigating scene 7
- Compare this scene with the aspirations and emotions expressed by Faustus in earlier scenes
- To what extent has he fulfilled those ambitions?
- What do you learn about Faustus from the tricks he plays on the Pope and friars?
Rome ' the capital of Italy and the Roman Empire, traditionally founded by Romulus in 753 BC
The supreme governor of the Roman Catholic Church who has his headquarters in Rome, in Vatican City. In certain circumstances, his doctrinal utterances are deemed infallible.
A member of the clergy.
A man belonging to a Christian religious group who, instead of living within an enclosed religious house, travelled round teaching the Christian faith, and sustaining himself by begging for charity.
An evil spiritual force, also known as a devil, which opposes God and seeks to separate human beings from him. In the Gospels and Acts they are portrayed as inhabiting or oppressing individuals.
Calling on / use of supernatural power to bring trouble or harm to something / someone.
Originally a large public building in the Roman Empire which provided the model for Christian churches. Also title given to particular great churches, such as St Peter's in Rome.
To do with the clergy.
Used as a general term, describes Christian groups which accept the ancient creeds such as the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.
One of the twelve disciples of Jesus, originally called Simon but given the name Cephas by Jesus.
1. Term for a worshipping community of Christians.
2. The building in which Christians traditionally meet for worship.
3. The worldwide community of Christian believers.
(12-41AD) A Roman Emperor renowned during his four year reign for cruelty, extravagance and tyranny.
God of the Underworld (Roman name, Pluto); a Greek word for the world of the dead, where they await final judgement.
A word that has essentially the same meaning as another one.
Jesus describes hell as the place where Satan and his demons reside and the realm where unrepentant souls will go after the Last Judgement.
The shaving of all or part of the head which is a distinguishing mark of a priest or monk.
Member of male religious community.
A genre which ridicules some one or something. It can be poetry, drama or fiction.
The collective term for priests and ministers of the church (as opposed to the non-ordained laity).
In traditional Roman Catholic doctrine, an 'antechamber' to heaven, a place between Heaven and Hell, where the souls of those dead who are not damned, but not yet fit for heaven, go to be purged (purified) of their sins.
The spirit which gives life to a human being; the part which lives on after death; a person's inner being (personality, intellect, emotions and will) which distinguishes them from animals.
In many religions, the place where God dwells, and to which believers aspire after their death. Sometimes known as Paradise.
The public exclusion of a Christian from participation in the life, sacraments and ministry of the Church.
The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament scriptures inherited from Judaism, together with the New Testament, drawn from writings produced from c.40-125CE, which describe the life of Jesus and the establishment of the Christian church.
A title of respect. Used in the Old Testament as a title for God. Also used of Jesus Christ.
The central religious service of the Roman Catholic Church, incorporating praise, intercession and readings from scripture. The central action is the consecration of the bread and wine by the priest.
Relating to irony, in which a comment may mean the opposite of what is actually said.