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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
Doctor Faustus is set in fifteenth-century Germany, mostly in Faustusí house at Wittenberg. In Act III, the setting shifts to Rome. Having traveled through France, Germany and Italy, Faustus and Mephistophilis arrive at the Popeís palace at the Vatican, Rome. Thereafter he goes to the Court of the Emperor Charles V at Innsbruck, Germany. In Act IV, Scene 5, the setting shifts to the Court of the Duke and Duchess of Vanholt, Germany, where Faustus exhibits his magical powers. The final act of the play is set in Faustusí house at Wittenberg
Faustus - The protagonist, a scholar in Wittenberg, who sells his soul to Lucifer in exchange for unlimited power for twenty-four years.
Mephistophilis - Luciferís assistant, who comes from hell to serve Faustus for twenty-four years.
Lucifer - The prince of hell; his business is to persuade men to turn away from God.
The Good And Bad Angels - The two figures who visit Faustus periodically in order to influence his behavior.
The Old Man - A spiritually strong man, who tries to prevent Faustus from being forever enslaved by worldly desires.
Wagner - Faustusí servant.
Valdes and Cornelius - Fellow-magicians and friends of Faustus; they encourage Faustus to attain powers through the practice of magic.
The Clown - He becomes Wagnerís servant.
Horse-Courser - A fellow who is cheated into buying Faustusí horse, which disappears when it is taken to a pond.
Robin - He steals some of Faustusí books on magic and attempts to conjure spirits.
Ralph - A friend of Robinís; he witnesses Robinís act of conjuring.
The Pope - The head of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican; Faustus and Mephistophilis play practical jokes on him.
Charles V - The Emperor of Germany, at whose court Faustus demonstrates his magical powers.
Knight - A haughty fellow who offends Faustus and incurs his wrath.
Duke and Duchess of Vanholt - A couple whom Faustus visits and for whom he performs magic.
The Seven Deadly Sins, Alexander, Alexanderís paramour, Darius (the King of Persia) and Helen of Troy - All of these are spirits which appear before Faustus in the course of the play.
Chorus - Personages who comment on Faustusí intellectual achievements and his fatal choice of ďcursed necromancy.Ē