Doctor Faustus contains a major pattern of action which deals with Faustus’s choice to follow magic and to sell his soul to Lucifer. A comic plot, probably written by a collaborator, comments on and parodies the serious action of the main plot. Structurally, the play may be described as episodic because Marlowe gives us a series of actions which repeats the struggle of Faustus between the choice of God or Lucifer. Thus the recurrence of Good and Bad Angels, the repeated thought s of repentance, and the appearance of the Old Man in Act V indicate the episodic and repetitive pattern of the play’s structure.
The comic portions of the play illustrate by irony the the vacuous accomplishments consequent to Faustus’s bargain. Wagner’s conjuring and later Robin and Dick’s ability at magic are parodies of Faustus’s ability. By way of contrast these comic scenes serve to point out the terrible nature of Faustus’s bargain, for these scenes reveal that the powers of magic are not nearly so great as Faustus imagined. Marlowe, then, by repeating the basic struggle of good and evil, structures his play so that the cumulative effect reveals the turmoil in Faustus’s soul and produces awe and wonder at this tragic fall.