THE RENAISSANCE- 4 Assignments

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Christopher Marlowe


Although not as well known today as Shakespeare, until his sudden and early death, Christopher Marlowe was a one of Shakespeare's great rivals. Follow these links to review his biography before beginning the assignments. A brief biography can be found here. A more detailed version is available here.

We will be reading Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, as well as an earlier version of the story and two later versions, most likely inspired by Marlowe's work. As you read, you will be expected to take notes on the similarities and differences among the several versions.

In the end, you will compose two essays. The first, shorter essay will examine Marlowe's Dr. Faustus as a tragic hero. The second, longer essay will compare the multiple versions of the Faust story and evaluate how changes in the stories lead to different themes or different reactions in the reader.

  • Read this background on The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus before beginning the play.
  • An online version of the play is available here (including a Kindle version) or you can download a .pdf version here. SparkNotes is available if you find yourself struggling with the text. Complete the worksheet questions to check for understanding before you progress to the next assignment.
  • As you read the play, consider the definition of a "tragic hero" from the unit on Greek Drama. Look for ways that Dr. Faustus does or does not conform to the characteristics of a tragic hero.

Assignment 1- Complete the attached study questions in the Excel sheet ( please don’t change the name of the worksheet)

Assignment 2

Tragic Hero

Compose a short (2 to 3 page) essay presenting the argument that Dr. Faustus is or is not a tragic hero. Explain your position by referring to specific criteria in the definition and citing specific details from the play.

Format your essay according to MLA guidelines and cite your examples using line numbers from the play. If you use any outside sources in reference to the tragic hero, you must also cite these and prepare a Works Cited page.

Although many sites may offer you a complete essay for free or for a small fee, remember that if you can find the essay online, so can your teacher and so can

See the following rubric:

Indicator/Point Value


Instructor Comments

Indicator: Essay fully addresses the prompt.

Point Value: 35

  • Essay is a minimum of two pages when formatted according to MLA format.
  • Essay demonstrates a clear understanding of the Faustus legend.
  • Essay is clear about which text is being used to support thesis conclusion.
  • Essay takes a clear position that Faustus is a tragic hero or that Faustus is not a tragic hero.
  • Textual evidence supports the position in the thesis.

Indicator: Essay is properly structured and demonstrates a mastery literary analysis

Point Value: 35

  • Essay contains a clear introduction that introduces the name of the text, the author of the text, a one-sentence summary of the text included, and a clear thesis.
  • Introduction is written as though the audience is not familiar w/ the text.
  • Thesis statement makes an argumentative assertion about the topic.
  • Thesis statement states the conclusions you have reached about your topic.
  • Thesis statement makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
  • Thesis statement is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
  • Thesis statement identifies the relationship between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.
  • Body paragraphs support the thesis.
  • Body paragraphs begin with a strong transitional phrase and use textual evidence to support the thesis.
  • Body paragraphs avoid simple summary and use the textual evidence for analysis.
  • The conclusion paragraph summarizes the major points outlined in the essay and re-affirms the thesis statement from the introduction.
  • Essay uses in-text citations appropriately
  • In-text citations are formatted according to MLA format

Indicator: Essay maintains correct formatting.

Point Value: 15

  • 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font
  • Double spaced
  • One inch margins
  • Essay is in MLA format
  • Works Cited page is included in MLA format

Indicator: Essay demonstrates correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Point Value: 15

  • Writing is free of spelling or word use errors.
  • Writing is free of run-on sentences or sentence fragments.
  • All punctuation is used appropriately.
  • All proper nouns and the beginnings of sentences are capitalized appropriately.
  • All other standard English grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules are followed.
  • Sentences vary in structure between simple, complex, compound, and complex-compound structures.
  • Fully developed paragraphs have a minimum of four – five sentences each.
  • Formal academic voice used (no first person or contractions used)

Assignment 3

Faustian Legend


Marlowe did not develop the character of Dr. Faustus or even the plot line for his play completely out of thin air. He was recreating a legend many in his audience would already have known. Review this background on the Faust site to become familiar with the extent of the legend.

Just as Marlowe was influenced by previous versions of the story, his play inspired others to offer their interpretations of the Faustian bargain. Now that you are familiar with Marlowe's play, we will look at an earlier story and two versions that came later.

Read the following variations on the story to compare with Marlowe's play.

Historia & Tale of Doctor Johannes Faustus

Faust by Goethe

"The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Steven Vincent Benet

  1. Create a document titled "Faust Notes." In this document, record your observations on all four variations of the Faust story. You may choose to make a table, create separate pages for each story, use Venn diagrams or develop some other method for organizing your information.
  1. Construct an essay (minimum 3 pages) examining the differences among the four versions. You should have an arguable thesis relating to some aspect of the Faust legend. (ex: Does the author's historical context alter the message of the story? Do all the stories share a similar theme? structure? resolution? If not, what can be learned by the differences?)

Some things to look for:

  • What is the setting of the story?
  • The Faust character's background: family, nationality, studies, etc
  • How does the Faust character meet the devil?
  • The nature of the bargain: what does the Faust character ask for, what are the terms of the agreement
  • How the Faust character benefits or suffers from the bargain?
  • Does the Faust character repent?
  • How does the story end?

Assignment 4

Complete the three excel worksheets on Macbeth ( please don’t change the name of the worksheet)


If you are an actor, you know this as "The Scottish Play" because to say "Macbeth" in theater, except in the context of performing the play, is considered bad luck. Why? I don't know. This play is one of Shakespeare's tragedies, although Scotland did actually have a King Macbeth. The problem is that Shakespeare wasn't trying to be even remotely historically accurate with this play (the real Macbeth was quite well liked by his people and didn't have to stage a coup to take the throne). Shakespeare wrote this play to flatter King James I, the first King of both Scotland and England. The real Banquo (who you will meet in the play) was one of James' ancestors, so Shakespeare wanted to demonstrate how fate had always intended for James to become king.

As you read through the online text, conveniently separated into scenes, take note of this notion of fate. We came across it earlier in this course with the Greeks and the question of whether Oedipus really ever had a choice in how his life was going to go. Just like the idea of the Tragic Hero reappears in literature throughout the centuries, the debate over fate or free-will rages on in plays and novels. Shakespeare's audience also took the idea of witches and supernatural powers very seriously--King James eventually wrote a book describing how to identify a witch. So don't be hasty in mocking Macbeth for listening to the three women who make predictions about his future.

Complete the assigned worksheet questions as you progress through reading the play.

Plenty of resources are available to help you dig into the play. First, a great short video explaining the basic plot. It is a British production, so you get to hear it in the correct dialect. If you click the link back to the Macbeth index you will find more helpful tools.Traditional SparkNotes and No Fear Shakespeare are available if you find yourself struggling with Elizabethan English. For the visual learners (and, after all, Macbeth is a play and is meant to be seen, SparkNotes has a 10-minute video version.

Remember, while these sites can be a great help, you still must read the actual play!

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ID 25305 25316 25310 25318 25311 25297 25296 25320 25299 25315 25302 25312 25308 25317 25307 25313 25300 25301 25314 25309 25306 25304 25319 25298 25303 Question Hint (According to Mephistopholis, whyNo does Hint Satan want Faustus's soul? What good will it do Satan to have souls?) (In scene twelve, when Mephastophilis No Hint threatens to arrest Faustus' soul for treason and rend it, to whom does Faustus ap (Of the seven figures, Faustus scorns Noall Hint of them except one. Which one does he react to positively with the exclamation, (In scene thirteen, Faustus tells theNo scholars Hint that he cannot call upon God or repent. Why not?) (What do Faustus and his companion Nosteal Hint from the Pope? How might this be symbolic?) (What does Faustus study in college? No(i.e., Hintwhat is his "major"?)) (Where is the play set?) No Hint (What happens to Faustus at the end Noof Hint the play--perhaps a bit predictably?) (What is the one type of book that No stillHint holds interest for Faustus?) (In scene eleven, what trivial task does No Hint Faustus appoint to Mephastophilis when he visits the Duke's pregnant wife?) (What problem does Faustus encounter No Hint when he first summons Mephistopholis? (i.e., why does he require the demon to (Why is Mephastophilis so upset byNo Rafe Hint and Robin's summoning? What does Mephastophilis do to Rafe and Robin and th (Mephastophilis refuses to tell Faustus No Hint who made the world. Why do you suppose he refuses?) (How does Mephastophilis distract No Faustus Hint from his thoughts of repentance? [I.e., who or what does he bring as the ultim (When does the contract expire?) No Hint (When Faustus goes before the Holy NoRoman Hint Emperor in Germany, the Emperor wants Faustus to raise up famous spirits o (What are some of the goals or usesNoFaustus Hint has in mind when he first imagines summoning demons?) (In scene two, how do the other scholars No Hintat the university react to rumors of Faustus's necromantic dealings?) (What do Faustus and Mephastophilis No Hint do to the rude knight at the emperor's court?) (What seven figures does Lucifer use NotoHint distract Faustus from his prayers?) (What are the five conditions Faustus No sets Hintdown in the contract?) (After talking to Mephistopholis, Faustus No Hint is left alone on stage at the end of scene three. What are some of the plans he h (What large object dominates the stage No Hint during the last scene? Why does this object's relentless motion cause so much de (What four sorts of books does Faustus No Hint sort through and then discard in the opening scene? Why does he discard each ty (What does Mephistopholis tell Faustus No Hint when Faustus starts feeling cocky about his ability to "command" the spirits to ap Answer ID 25339 25340 25341 25342 25343 25344 25321 25345 25322 25323 25324 25326 25325 25327 25332 25334 25333 25335 25336 25330 25338 25328 25337 25329 25331 Question Hint (In what way does Lady Macbeth’s Actadvice I, Scene to5Macbeth relate to the “fair is foul” theme?) (In scenes 5-7, how much evidenceNo canHint you find that Macbeth is more frightened by the plan to kill Duncan than Lady Ma (After saying that if the deed is to ActbeI, done Sceneit7must be done quickly, what arguments does Macbeth raise for not doing it?) (How does Lady Macbeth manage ActtoI, stiffen Scene 7Macbeth’s courage and determination? What arguments does she use to forc (Macbeth’s response to her about Actwhat I, Scene a man 7 may dare is frequently quoted. What is his meaning?) (Compare and contrast the personalities Act I, Scene of Lady 7 Macbeth and her husband. Which is the more powerful character? Why? (What atmosphere is created byAct theI,witches? Scene 1 Why do you suppose Shakespeare chose to start the play with them and no (Do you think the witches control Macbeth’s No Hint fate, or does he control his own future? Explain.) (When are the three Witches to Act meet I, Scene again 1and for what purpose?) (What do you suppose is suggested Act I,byScene the line, 1 “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”) (What is the nature of the war inAct which I, Scene Scotland 2 is involved? From the reports of the Sergeant and Ross, what are the rea (As the scene begins, how does the Act conversation I, Scene 3 of the Witches strike you?) (Why is it so important that Macbeth Act I, Scene is first 2presented to the audience as a brave and honored soldier?) (When Macbeth says, “So foul and Actfair I, Scene a day3I have not seen,” to what is he referring? What could be the dramatic irony i (What does Macbeth mean in hisAct aside I, Scene about 3 two truths being prologue to the imperial theme?) (What news does the King impart Act toI,Macbeth Scene 4 and what is Macbeth’s reaction to the news?) (Why was the old Thane of Cawdor Act executed?) I, Scene 4 (In his last speech in this scene, what Act I, does SceneMacbeth 4 reveal?) (In literature a foil is a characterAct whose I, Scene personality 4 serves to contrast with and highlight aspects of the main character's p (As the others talk, what does Macbeth’s Act I, Scene aside 3 reveal about his thinking?) (When she says, “Hie thee hither,” Actwhat I, Scene is it5that she plans to do?) (What prophecies do the Witches Actmake I, Scene regarding 3 Macbeth? What do the Witches see in the future for Banquo?) (After Lady Macbeth finishes reading Act I, the Scene letter, 5 what fear about her husband does she express?) (The Elizabethan audience actually Actbelieved I, Scene 3in witches; a modern audience does not. What difference could this make in t (How does Banquo’s comment support Act I, Scene the “Fair 3 is foul, foul is fair” theme?) Answer ID 25361 25362 25364 25363 25349 25356 25367 25351 25360 25357 25355 25366 25347 25359 25352 25346 25365 25354 25348 25353 25350 25358 Question Hint (What happens at the ambush?)Act III, Scene 3 (One characteristic of Shakespeare’s Act III,style Scene is his 4 play on words. How is technique demonstrated in the murderer’s reply th (What dramatic purpose is served Actby III,the Scene appearance 4 of Banquo’s ghost? How does Lady Macbeth react in this horrible sc (Scene 4 is considered by manyAct to be III,aScene turning 4 point in the play. Explain why this might be considered the climax) (Macbeth, apparently troubled by Actthe II, Scene murder 2 he has just committed, tell Lady Macbeth what he saw and heard. She tells (In his soliloquy, what suspicionAct andIII,hope Scene does 1 Banquo reveal?) (How does the relationship between Act III,Macbeth Scene 6 and his wife change after the death of Duncan Explain using details from Ac (The Porter’s scene, or the “knocking Act II, at Scene the gate,” 3 is a much debated scene by scholars, but many agree it is the typical co (In this scene, what is Macbeth’sAct state II, Scene of mind?) 2 (What is there in Banquo’s character Act III,that Scene makes 1 Macbeth uneasy? ) (How is Macbeth's claim that heAct willII,"sleep Sceneno 4 more" foreshadowed by the witches in Act I.iii?) (Compare and contrast the murders Act III,ofScene Banquo 6 and Duncan. How does the murder of Banquo illustrate the changes that M (Analyze the “dagger” speech. InAct how II, many Sceneways I does Macbeth see the dagger? Is he becoming stronger or weaker in wi (What is the meaning of Macbeth’s Act II, opening Scene 2speech in this scene?) (What events described by the Old Act Man II, Scene and 4Ross show that supernatural forces are influencing events in Scotland?) (As Macbeth and Banquo discussAct theII,King's Scenevisit I and their encounter with the weird sisters, what does the reader detect a (Why is Hecate angry with her witches? Act III, Scene What5 plans does she have for Macbeth?) (How has Macbeth changed as aAct result II, Scene of the4events in this act? Cite lines that illustrate thesechanges.) (Why does Lady Macbeth not commit Act II, Scene the murder 2 when she is in the room?) (Who are Malcolm and Donalbain? Act What II, Scene do 4Malcolm and Donalbain decide to do? Why?) (In this scene, how does Lady Macbeth Act II, Scene show2herself to be stronger than her husband?) (For what reasons does Macbeth Actwant III, Scene Banquo 1 murdered? What reasons does he give the murderers? What does the con Answer ID 25380 25376 25385 25373 25371 25386 25375 25374 25370 25377 25384 25387 25383 25382 25369 25379 25381 25378 25368 25372 Question Hint (What metaphors does he use for Actlife? V, Scene ) 5 Act (Why V, is Scene he disillusioned? 3 Read Macbeth's ) speech which begins with : I am sick at heart... (Macbeth is killed brutally. HowAct does V, Scene this parallel 8 another event early in the play?) (Why might Ross’s appearance Act at Macduff’s IV, Scene castle 2 represent a weakening of Macbeth’s position? Do you think the Messe (Macbeth says (about the witches) Act IV, “Infected Scene 1be the air whereon they ride,/And damned all those that trust them!” What (What dramatic purpose might there Nobe Hint to having 8 short scenes in the last act?) (What words by Lady Macbeth show Act V,that Scene she1has been brooding over the past crimes? Which crime does she dwell on the (What further moral degradation Actdoes IV, Scene Macbeth 2 show by the end of this scene?) (Look carefully at the three prophecies. Act IV, Scene In what 1 ways does each encourage a sense of false security in Macbeth? ) Act (In the V, Scene scene3asRead a whole, Macbeth's in what speech ways is which he still begins placing withhis: Ifaith am sick in the at heart... witches? ) (What does Macbeth’s line:“MyAct soulV,isScene too much 8 charged… already” mean?) (Is Macbeth's downfall a result of fate No Hint or his own actions? Explain.) (How is Macduff’s motivation different?) Act V, Scene 7 (Why does Macbeth kill again? Act What V, is Scene his motivation?) 7 (Read the opening of the scene,Act prior IV, to Scene Macbeth's 1 entrance. What do you think is the purpose of this scene? ) (Read Macbeth's speech in response Act V,to Scene Lady 5Macbeth's death. How does he respond?) (What admirable quality does Macbeth Act V, Scene finally5 display?) Act (To V, what Scene disease 3 Read is Macbeth Macbeth's referring? speech which How is begins this ironic?) with : I am sick at heart... (Macbeth returns to the witches, Actapparently IV, Scene 1placing his trust in their knowledge. However, as the audience knows throug Why does Macbeth have Macduff’s Act IV, family Scene and 2 servants killed Answer begins with : I am sick at heart... begins with : I am sick at heart... begins with : I am sick at heart...
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Explanation & Answer


Surname 1
Name of the Student
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
Dr. Faustus is one of the major actors in the play by Christopher Marlowe. Dr.
Faustus is seen to be a tragic hero in the play by Christopher Marlowe. Faustus is presented in
the play as one who is hardworking and is always determined to achieve his dreams. As the
play continues, Faustus is seen to be rising from a low background to a better place.
Therefore the play presents Dr. Faustus as tragic hero due to the things his has achieved in his
Dr. Faustus is also seen to show various characters which makes the play better.
Additionally, the feature which Faustus presents in the play makes the play better since it
shows the mortal character. The play also reveals the ability of Dr. Faustus to be seen as a
tragic hero because of his skills and capabilities to contribute towards play writing. He is seen
to be making good scenes in the play which are educative and can be understood by every
reader. When one tries to observe Faustus, he or she cannot realize the important features that
he possesses as a hero however, with a deep analysis it will observed that Faustus is one of
the important characters in the play (Marlowe 95).
Faustus is seen to be one of the wise people in the people who begin life from a
simply stage but later achieves many things in life. He starts from a place where he is not
respected, but later gains respect as a result of his struggle and hard work in the play. The
play also describes Faustus as a man who is a tragic hero because of the desires which he had.

Surname 2
For example, Faustus is presented ...

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