Synopsis of the epilogue

The Chorus asks the audience to consider the lesson of Faustus' story.

Commentary on the epilogue

Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight A reference to the crooked path that Faustus has chosen to take. This echoes biblical teaching that, like a gardener, God will cut off branches that do not bear fruit John 15:1-2 John 15:6. See Fruit, pruning.

Apollo with laurel crown, photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen available through Creative CommonsApollo's laurel bough Apollo was the god of poetry and laurel crowns were offered to those who composed fine poetry (from which derives the term Poet Laureate). Faustus received his laurels for his magic and they have now been consumed in hell-fire.

Exhort The word carries the triple meanings of encouragement, teaching and warning.

Only to wonder at Only to think about (rather than to take part in).

forward wits Ambitious or eager intellects.

Terminat hora diem, terminat author opus The hour ends the day and the author ends his work. The preceding scene is marked by the passing of time and closes with the end of Faustus' life. It is, however, likely that this common motto was added by the publisher rather than by Marlowe himself.

Investigating the epilogue

  • What does the Chorus suggest are the chief lessons to be learned from the story of Faustus?
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