Choruses – what is the importance of these speeches in Dr. Faustus?

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Choruses – what is the importance of these speeches in Dr. Faustus? The essential function of the chorus speeches are as a commentary, an omnipotent voice which observes Faustus’s actions, clarifies his character and by foreseeing his change in fortunes, heightens the anticipation of the audience. Also, rather like dressing Mephastoples in a Friar costume, the chorus speeches are a practical device used by Marlowe to communicate aspects of the play which are simply impossible to perform on stage. Thus, they have particular significance from a 16th century perspective, as the theatre would not have had the elaborate lighting and stage sets to demonstrate a change in scenery as audiences are used to today. The chorus speeches…show more content…
Indeed this imposing style of commentary is mirrored in the second chorus, which introduces Faustus’s actions in Rome. The opening chorus refers to Roman Mythology, ‘Where Mars did mate the Carthaginians’, perhaps alluding to Faustus’s ambitions to be as powerful as the gods. Similarly, the second chorus mentions ‘Mount Olympus’, the home of the gods in Greek Mythology, which may impress the audience as they hear of Faustus’s ‘travelog’, while at the same time, reminding them that he is being to ambitious and not matter how hard he tries, he will never be as powerful as God. Despite this dramatic language, its is important that Faustus is presented, in the opening chorus, as someone who is from ‘’base of stock’. In this way, Marlowe is making the point that anyone can ‘’over-reach’’ and suffer a similar fate to Faustus, thus it is almost intended as a warning to the audience. Indeed, the final Chorus speech alliterates Faustus’s ‘fiendful fortune’, which seems to summarise exactly where Fasustus twenty-four years of ‘’voluptuousness’’ gave him. This major theme of ‘’overreaching’’ is heavily emphasised in this opening speech, demonstrated by using language connected to greed and appetite. Faustus is ‘’glutted’ with learning, ‘’surfeits

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