Doctor Faustus (Marlowe) Characters
Faustus HimselfHe sells his soul to the devil
A brilliant man, who seems to have reached the limits of natural knowledge. Faustus is a scholar of the early sixteenth century in the German city of Wittenburg. He is arrogant, fiery, and possesses a thirst for knowledge. As an intellectual, Faustus is familiar with things (like demon summoning and astrology) not normally considered academic subjects by today's universities. Faustus decides to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for earthly power and knowledge and an additional 24 years of life. He proceeds to waste this time on self-indulgence and low tricks.
Faustus is the absolute center of the play, which has few truly developed characters.
From the Hebrew, mephitz, destroyer, and tophel, liar. A devil of craft and cunning. He is the devil who comes at Faustus' summoning, and the devil who serves Faustus for 24 years. In lore, Mephostophilis (also spelled Mephistopheles, or Miphostophiles, and also called Mephisto) seems to be a relative latecomer in the recognized hierarchy of demons. He possibly was created for the Faustus legend.
In Marlowe's play, Mephostophilis has layers to his personality. He admits that separation from God is anguish, and is capable of fear and pain. But he is gleefully evil, participating at every level in Faustus' destruction. Not only does Mephostophilis get Faustus to sell his soul; he also encourages Faustus to waste his twenty-four years of power.
WagnerServant to Faustus. He steals Faustus' books and learns how to summon demons. At the end of the play, he seems concerned about his master's fate.
Good Angel and Evil AngelPersonifications of Faustus' inner turmoil, who give differing advice to him at key points. Their characters also reflect Christian belief that humans are assigned guardian angels, and that devils can influence human thoughts.
ValdesFriend to Faustus, who teaches him the dark arts. He appears only in Act One.
CorneliusFriend to Faustus, who teaches him the dark arts. He appears only in Act One.
LuciferSatan. "Lucifer" original meant Venus, referring to the planet's brilliance. In Christian lore, Lucifer is sometimes thought to be another name of Satan. Some traditions say that Lucifer was Satan's name before the fall, while the Fathers of the Catholic Church held that Lucifer was not Satan's proper name but a word showing the brilliance and beauty of his station before the fall. He appears at a few choice moments in Doctor Faustus, and Marlowe uses "Lucifer" as Satan's proper name.
BelzebubOne of Lucifer's officers. A powerful demon.
The Seven Deadly SinsPersonifications of the Seven Deadly Sins, not acts but impulses or motivations that lead men to sinful actions. They array themselves in a pageant before Faustus, although scholars think now that this section was not written by Marlowe.
Clown / RobinRobin learns demon summoning by stealing one of Faustus' books. He is the chief character in a number of scenes that provide comic relief from the main story.
DickA friend of Robin's. He is one of the characters peopling the few comic relief scenes.
RafeA horse ostler, or groomer, and friend to Robin. With the Clown, he summons Mephostophilis, who is none too pleased to be called.
VintnerA wine merchant or a wine maker. This Vintner chases down Robin and Rafe after they steal a silver goblet from him.
CarterA man who meets Faustus while carting hay to town. Faustus swindles him.
Horse-CourserA man who buys Faustus' horse. Faustus swindles him.
HostessAn ale wench. She treats Robin and his friends kindly.
The PopeYeah, that Pope. In a move that would have pleases his Protestant audience, Marlowe depicts him as cruel, power-mad, and far from holy. Faustus plays some cheap tricks on him.
BrunoA man who would be Pope, selected by the German emperor and representing the conflicts between Church and state authority.
RaymondKing of Hungary. He serves the Pope.
CharlesThe German Emperor. Faustus performs at his court.
MartinoKnight in the court of the German Emperor. Friend to Benvolio and Frederick. When Benvolio seeks revenge against Faustus, Martino decides to help out of loyalty.
FrederickKnight in the court of the German Emperor. Friend to Martino and Benvolio. When Benvolio seeks revenge against Faustus, Frederick decides to help out of loyalty.
BenvolioKnight in the court of the German Emperor. Friend to Martino and Frederick. When Faustus humiliates him, he seeks revenge.
SaxonyA man attending at the court of the German Emperor.
Duke of VanholtA nobleman. Faustus performs illusions at his court.
Duchess of VanholtA noblewoman. Faustus fetches her grapes in January.
Spirits in the shapes of Alexander the Great, Darius, Paramour, and HelenFaustus' illusions.
An Old ManA holy old man. He tries to save Faustus by getting him to repent, and for his good deed, Faustus initially thanks him. But later, Faustus sends devils to harm the Old Man.
Doctor Faustus (Marlowe) Essays and Related Content
- Doctor Faustus (Marlowe): Major Themes
- Doctor Faustus (Marlowe): Essays
- Doctor Faustus (Marlowe): E-Text
- Doctor Faustus (Marlowe): Questions
- Doctor Faustus (Marlowe): Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- Christopher Marlowe: Biography
- Doctor Faustus (Marlowe) Summary
- About Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)
- Character List
- Major Themes
- Summary and Analysis of Act I, Chapters 1-2
- Summary and Analysis of Act I, Chapters 3-5
- Summary and Analysis of Act II
- Summary and Analysis of Act III, Scenes 1-10
- Summary and Analysis of Act IV, Scenes 1-4
- Summary and Analysis of Act IV, Scenes 5-7
- Summary and Analysis of Act V, Scene 1
- Summary and Analysis of Act V, Scene 2
- Related Links on Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Author of ClassicNote and Sources