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The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus (eBook)

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Christopher Marlowe was an English poet, dramatist and translator in the Elizabethan period. Faust is the famous story of a man selling his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. On a deeper level man's decay from choosing material things over the spiritual is depicted.


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Christopher Marlowe was an English poet, dramatist and translator in the Elizabethan period. Faust is the famous story of a man selling his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. On a deeper level man's decay from choosing material things over the spiritual is depicted.

30 review for The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus (eBook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    The history of Dr. Faustus, its composition and its performances, is obscured by legend and shrouded in surmise. We know it was wildly popular, but not when it was written or first performed: perhaps as early as 1588, when Marlowe was twenty-four, or perhaps as late in 1593, the year Marlowe died. At any rate, it so captured the public imagination that people told stories about it. The most vivid of the legends tells us that real devils were once conjured during a performance, that actors were c The history of Dr. Faustus, its composition and its performances, is obscured by legend and shrouded in surmise. We know it was wildly popular, but not when it was written or first performed: perhaps as early as 1588, when Marlowe was twenty-four, or perhaps as late in 1593, the year Marlowe died. At any rate, it so captured the public imagination that people told stories about it. The most vivid of the legends tells us that real devils were once conjured during a performance, that actors were confounded, spectators driven mad, and that the Faustus who spoke the summoning words, Edward Alleyn, renounced his profession from that day forward and spent his remaining days performing works of charity. Even the play itself is a bit of a puzzle, for it has come down to us in two different texts; the brief quarto of 1604 and the longer quarto of 1616. Early critics tended to prefer the earlier quarto, seeing it as a “purer” version, purged of “low” comic scenes, but later critics like the 1616 Faustus better. Its “low” scenes—although probably not written by Marlowe—serve an artistic purpose: they show us how Faustus, a self-immolating hero who once desired to plumb the depths of knowledge, soon degenerates into a shabby conjurer, a practical joker who amuses himself by cheating a peasant out of a horse. Was his immortal soul bartered away for this? (Personally—being something of a “low” type myself—I enjoy a lot of this buffonery, particularly the scene in which an invisible Faust and Mephistophilis steal all the fine dishes from the pope’s banquet and drive him and his cardinals from the hall.) For my taste, Marlowe’s play is the best version of the legend—better than Goethe, better than Thomas Mann. He wrote it at the very moment when the adjective before “humanist” was changing from “Christian” to “secular,” when his hero--at one and the same time—could be both admired as an icon of human daring and also pitied as a sinner irrevocably damned. His Faust is not so much self-contradiction as paradox, as gestalt: faces-and-cup--filling the foreground, fading out--forever. There are many memorable passages in this play, including Faustus' opening and closing soliloquys, Mephistophilis on Hell, Faustus on Helen of Troy, and the parade of the Seven Deadly Sins. But I prefer to quote Faustus describing with delight a journey he took through the air: Sweet Mephistophilis, thou pleasest me. Whilst I am here on earth, let me be cloy'd With all things that delight the heart of man: My four-and-twenty years of liberty I'll spend in pleasure and in dalliance, That Faustus' name, whilst this bright frame doth stand, May be admir'd thorough the furthest land.... Thou know'st, within the compass of eight days We view'd the face of heaven, of earth, and hell; So high our dragons soar'd into the air, That, looking down, the earth appear'd to me No bigger than my hand in quantity; There did we view the kingdoms of the world, And what might please mine eye I there beheld.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Selling Your Soul: A Short PowerPoint Presentation Good morning. I recall reading an article about Tony Blair where the columnist said that one of the surprising things about selling your soul is that the price usually turns out to be so low. There is, indeed, a tendency to think that it's a question of getting an advantageous deal. Here, Faust has landed himself a terrific package, even better than the one Keanu Reaves gets in The Devil's Advocate. The top item is Sex With Helen Of Troy. Let me q Selling Your Soul: A Short PowerPoint Presentation Good morning. I recall reading an article about Tony Blair where the columnist said that one of the surprising things about selling your soul is that the price usually turns out to be so low. There is, indeed, a tendency to think that it's a question of getting an advantageous deal. Here, Faust has landed himself a terrific package, even better than the one Keanu Reaves gets in The Devil's Advocate. The top item is Sex With Helen Of Troy. Let me quote the relevant lines:Is this the face that launched a thousand ships and burned the topless towers of Ilium? Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss... her lips suck forth my soul See where it flies! Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips, And all is dross that is not Helena.At an emotional level, I find Marlowe's description pretty convincing, though, as a scientist, I also feel obliged to try and estimate in quantitative terms just how beautiful Helen of Troy was. Well, look at it this way. Jackie Onassis, who was generally acknowledged at the time to be one of the world's most beautiful women and was married for several years to a major shipping tycoon, perhaps launched five to ten ships. So Helen was at least a hundred times as beautiful as Jackie O, even before adjusting for inflation. I hope you found that helpful. Another imaginative bullet-point on Faust's wishlist is Kicking The Pope's Scrawny Ass. Again, direct comparisons may be a little misleading, and it's possible that the pope Marlowe was thinking about wasn't a former member of the Hitler Youth and hadn't been instrumental in covering up evidence of widespread child abuse. But, I gather from the context, people had equally good reasons to dislike him. Faust sneaks in wearing a cloak of invisibility that Mephistopheles borrows from Harry Potter (note to self: check this), and all the helpless clerics can do is try to exorcise him. Faust lets them know how much he cares:Bell and book and candle, Candle, book and bell Backwards, forwards and back again to damn poor Faust to HellAs you can see, this guy thinks out of the box and knows how to maximize his opportunities! But, despite everything, when it's time to pay up he still regrets what he's done: O lente, lente currite, noctis equi! The hour will come, the clock will strike, and Faust must die...Definitely makes you feel a little thoughtful, doesn't it? Okay, summary. If you're currently negotiating the sale of your own soul, check out Doctor Faustus while you're doing the due diligence. There's a significant probability that you've called it wrong. And, if you're so deluded that you think no one's ever going to make you an offer, then you definitely need to read it. Thank you and have a nice day.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    Doctor Faustus is a tragic figure. He is a confused man bursting with ambition and a thirst for knowledge, but at the same time conflicted in his morals. Faustus is also a genius; he has studied Aristotle’s teachings but finds them beneath him and craves something more suited to his superior intellect. He decides to study the dark art of Necromancy. Through this he summons the devil and he quickly sells his soul for more power; thus, this could only end one way. A Tragic fall from grace “His wax Doctor Faustus is a tragic figure. He is a confused man bursting with ambition and a thirst for knowledge, but at the same time conflicted in his morals. Faustus is also a genius; he has studied Aristotle’s teachings but finds them beneath him and craves something more suited to his superior intellect. He decides to study the dark art of Necromancy. Through this he summons the devil and he quickly sells his soul for more power; thus, this could only end one way. A Tragic fall from grace “His waxen wings did mount above his reach, And melting heavens conspired his overthrow.” This, of course, refers to Icarus who flew to close to the sun and plummeted to the earth. This is foretelling Faustus’ downfall and eventual fate as written by his own hands and in his own blood. Indeed, Faustus is unbearably arrogant. He refers to himself in the third person. It sets himself aside from other characters. In addition he believes through his achievements he will be canonized and revered across the world. His lust for power is born totally from vain desire fuelling his imagined superiority. He wants a god like status, but does not consider the consequences. His power comes in the form of Mephastophilis, a servant of the devil who has to obey Faustus’s commands. Mephastophilis is also a tragic figure. He attempts to warn Faustus of the consequences of selling ones soul to the Devil and the eventual hell that waits, which in his case refers to Mephastophilis existence without the presence of God. Faustus in his naiveté chooses to ignore him as he believes hell to be a fable, and in this does not consider the result of his actions. Faustus’ conflicting nature is represented by the “good angel” and the “evil angel” which speak in his ear one casting doubts and the other encouraging him to sin. These make several appearances during the play and underline Faustus’ eternal doubts and decision making. Some people are never satisfied Initially, he is disappointed with the knowledge his power has granted him but the seduction is renewed as Lucifer presents him with the seven deadly sins. This fascinates Faustus, who likes this idea of hell and what it contains. It could be argued that Faustus is cheated. He has a small understanding of the realities of hell and initially believes it to be a fable. So when presented with the sins he believes these to be a manifestation of hells contents and likes the sound of it. An often raised controversy about the play is: “Is Faustus the victim, Is he being sinned against?” I can see the origins of this speculation; he is coerced into his decision but it is ultimately his alone. Mephastophilis encourages him when he begins to waiver, though that is not till much later. Lucifer himself is the main entrapper. He presents Faustus with the seven deadly sins which delight him and convince him that this is the path but yet again he could just say no and repent, if he wished to. Is Faustus a sinner? I believe he is. Instead of using his ill begotten powers for the advancement of mankind he uses them for vain indulgence e.g playing a trick on the pope. The summoning of Helen of Troy as sums up the play perfectly: Faustus’ Helen is the knowledge he took and the destruction of Troy is his condemnation to hell. This is a brilliant play with strong didactical roots that drew heavily on Icarus’s fall. I think a lot can be taken from this play.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is an Elizabethan tragedy by Christopher Marlowe, based on German stories about the title character Faust, that was first performed sometime between 1588 and Marlowe's death in 1593. Two different versions of the play were published in the Jacobean era, several years later. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفدهم ماه ژا The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is an Elizabethan tragedy by Christopher Marlowe, based on German stories about the title character Faust, that was first performed sometime between 1588 and Marlowe's death in 1593. Two different versions of the play were published in the Jacobean era, several years later. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفدهم ماه ژانویه سال 1980 میلادی عنوان: دکتر فاستوس؛ اثر: کریستوفر مارلو؛ مترجم: لطفعلی صورتگر؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب، 1340، در 88 ص، چاپ دوم 1359 هجری خورشیدی تاریخچه تراژدی گونه زندگی و مرگ دکتر فاستوس، نوشته: کریستوفر مارلو، نمایشنامه نویس سده شانزدهم میلادی انگلستان. نمایشنامه دکتر فاستوس از برجسته ترین نمایشنامه های عصر الیزابت است، درونمایه ی آثار کریستوفر مارلو اغلب به سرانجام شومی میانجامد که گریبانگیر قهرمانان داستان است در حالیکه ممکن است به قیمت زیر پا گذاشتن انسانیت و وجدان، همواره در حد کمال از خواسته ها و لذایذ مادی زندگی سرشار شوند. جاه طلبی، حرص و آز و قدرت طلبی از تم های دیگر آثار ایشان به شمار میروند. فاستوس که دانشمندی بزرگ از اهالی ورتمبرگ آلمان، و سرآمد همه ی پارسایان، و دانایان زمان خود است؛ وقتی در دانش به کمال میرسد، انقلابی در او پدید میآید، که همه ی دانشها را بیهوده مییابد. او که دیگر از علم و فلسفه بیزار شده، و اراده اش میل به قدرت دارد؛ درصدد برمیآید که به جادوگری رو کند، تا با آن بتواند جهان را تحت سلطه ی خود درآورد. پس فاستوس به دنبال دو ساحر و استاد جادوگری، میفرستد، تا علم جادو را به او بیاموزند. ساحرها میآیند و او را از قدرتها و مزایایی که اینکار دارد آگاه میکنند. فاستوس در ادامه با اوراد و اذکاری که میخواند، نائب رئیس شیطان، مفیستوفلیس را ظاهر میکند، و از او میخواهد که پیوسته ملازمش باشد، و هرچه میخواهد حتی خارج کردن ماه از مدار خود، و فرو بردن کل زمین در غرقاب را، برایش ممکن کند. اما مفیس میگوید که بنده ی ابلیس است، و اگر ابلیس چنین فرمانی بدهد، او میتواند تا پایان عمر ملازمش باشد، و قرار میشود، مفیس نزد ابلیس برود، و کسب اجازه کند. و ... ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. I Do Repent, and Yet I Do Despair: "Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe, Simon Trussler For me, the key to Faustus is his interaction in Act V, Scene I with the "old man". The old man gives us Marlowe's theology:   “Yet, yet, thou hast an amiable soul,”   —even after Faustus has made his deal with the devil and used the power he got for the previous 23 'years' and 364 'days', Faustus's soul is lovable. Just repent! Faustus replies:   “Wher If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. I Do Repent, and Yet I Do Despair: "Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe, Simon Trussler For me, the key to Faustus is his interaction in Act V, Scene I with the "old man". The old man gives us Marlowe's theology:   “Yet, yet, thou hast an amiable soul,”   —even after Faustus has made his deal with the devil and used the power he got for the previous 23 'years' and 364 'days', Faustus's soul is lovable. Just repent! Faustus replies:   “Where art thou, Faustus? Wretch, what hast thou done? Damned art thou, Faustus, damned: despair and die.”   Echoing the stories of Cain after his fratricide and Jesus on the cross, Faustus insists on his damnation. The old man contradicts him:   “Oh stay, good Faustus, stay thy desperate steps. [. . . …] call for mercy and avoid despair.”   The old man leaves, and Faustus speaks out his dilemma:   “I do repent, and yet I do despair.”   Mephistophilis calls Faustus a "traitor", and "arrest[s his] soul / For disobedience" — don't doubt the keenness of Marlowe's irony, or sarcasm —, and Faustus repents of his repentance —irony! sarcasm! —, and gets his final wish, to see "the face that launched a thousand ships". While he's going on about how he'll "be Paris" and get Helen—does Faustus not remember how that turned out??—, during his poetry the old man returns to the stage. When Faustus leaves, intoxicated with sexual love for Helen, the old man, before defying the devils who've come to take his body to fire (but not his soul), says of Faustus:   “Accursed Faustus, miserable man, That from thy soul exclud'st the grace of heaven, And fliest the throne of his tribunal seat.”   Faustus doesn't crave knowledge: he goes through the catalogue of human expertise at the beginning of the play and finds, study by study, their futility, and turns to "necromantic books": "A sound magician is a demi-god."     If you're into 16th century literature, read on.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kalliope

    I keep thinking of Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) as if he had been his own Faustus, but he must have been tricked because he did not get his twenty-four years of devilish powers. Just a few, very few in fact. He was a writer of sharp wits who could flex his Disputatio abilities better than a dagger, and had an impeccable formal education of a solidity that even his more famous contemporary would have wished for himself. So soon he profits in divinity, The fruitful plot of scholarism graced, That I keep thinking of Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) as if he had been his own Faustus, but he must have been tricked because he did not get his twenty-four years of devilish powers. Just a few, very few in fact. He was a writer of sharp wits who could flex his Disputatio abilities better than a dagger, and had an impeccable formal education of a solidity that even his more famous contemporary would have wished for himself. So soon he profits in divinity, The fruitful plot of scholarism graced, That shortly he was graced with doctor’s name. Excelling all whose sweet delight disputes In heavenly matters of theology But he played with fire. Having attained the highest degree of erudition that an education in the temple of Cambridge could offer him, he wanted more. All the formal knowledge available was not sufficient. Marlowe turned to magic; he wanted to unveil the hidden and attain truth. He turned to the witchcraft of espionage – the truth in religion and the truth in power. He seems to have signed a pact with the secret service of Elizabeth I, at a time when religion was radioactive. He burnt himself even before he arrived, if he ever did, to Hell. His waxen wings did mount above his reach, And melting heavens conspired his overthrow. It is both uncanny and remarkable and mystifying that Christopher Marlowe should have been attracted so easily to story of Faust. The original and anonymous German text had been first published in Frankfurt in 1587 and may have been translated into English as early as in 1588. Our writer may have encountered the original text either during his stay in the Continent or the translated version back in England. Either way, he was immediately fascinated by its story because it is thought that he was already working at his play as early 1588-89, even if it was not published until 1604, after his death. There are in fact two extant versions, unglamorously named A & B. The A is the one first printed and in 1616 the B version. The latter is longer and therefore has material not present in A, but the earlier text also has some lines not present in the B version. Current scholarship holds the A text as the closest to Marlowe’s creation and the B as the result of modifications of subsequent productions. I have read version A and watched a DVD with a production from 2009 filmed at the Greenwich Theatre in London and directed by Elizabeth Freestone. The performance is also based on version A, which surprised me given the more dramatic nature of the B text. Of course Marlow took very many elements from the German text. The structure of the plot is very much the same, with similar episodes involving The Emperor Charles V, the Pope, etc... Mephastophilis (sic) is also in the guise of a friar, and even the names of some secondary characters, such as Faust’s servant Wagner, are maintained as well. But this is a work by Marlowe and it shows. As a play that combines both prose and blank verse it has been dramatized into a form that follows, loosely, the tradition of the morality plays. This means that there is a fair amount of humour. Some scenes are unreservedly funny, and the best is the ridiculously popish Pope and the hilarious visit of the invisible Faust when with a series of silly tricks he and Mephistopheles disconcert the Roman curia. Apart from parody, there is also slapstick and clownish characters, and the audience certainly laughed out loud in the Freestone production when the desired bride for Faustus lifts her skirts and reveals muscular and hairy legs and a moving hip that thrusts forward its codpiece. Marlowe’s signature is also felt in the importance given to debates, and he knows well the power of language (Be silent then, for danger is in words). As a master in argumentation, he plays with the traps of dialogue and embroilment in logical thinking. Scholar – Where is your master? Wagner - God in heaven knows. Scholar – Why dost not thou know? Wagner – Yes, I know, but that follows not. Marlowe’s Disputatio abilities had of course been trained in Latin. (Bene disserere est finis logices) Is to dispute well logic’s chiefest end? (Si peccase Negamus, fallimur Et nulla est in nobis veritas). If we say that we have no sin, We deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us. Why then belike, we must sin, And so consequently die. His logistical gymnastics and his passion for knowledge also approach him, dangerously, to an understanding of astrology that is not too divine. Again, we see Marlowe through his Faust when he questions the Devil’s envoy and the latter cannot give an explanation to the retrograde motion of the planets. The still Ptolemaic earth was very near its end. (Faust) - Tush, these slender trifles Wagner can decide. Hath Mephastophilis no greater skill? Who knows not the double motion of the planets? The first is finished in a natural day, The second thus, as Saturn in thirty years, Jupiter in twelve, Mars in four, the sun, Venus and Mercury in a year, the moon in twenty-eight days. But it is in the ambiguity in his treatment of religion in Doctor Faust where we feel the mark of Christopher Marlowe. In dealing with Destiny and Free will, he offers us a Faust who was, from the very beginning, doomed. And his despair and rebellion at God’s deafness in his last request for Salvation was a modification by Marlowe of the original Faust. O God, If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul, Yet for Christ’s sake, whose blood hath ransomed me, Impose some end to my incessant pain. Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years, A hundred thousand, and at last be saved. And as a gift to delight my readers, you shall have: Mephistopheles: I’ll fetch him somewhat to delight his mind (Act 2.1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTudvo...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    How to Become a Successful Elizabethan Playwright in 7 Easy Steps 1. Consider visiting Elizabethan England. When you're there, take careful notes. The first thing you'll notice is that most people talk in blank verse. Spend enough time there, and you might start speaking like that too! 2. Set a routine! Successful writers abide by a careful schedule, allowing them to keep their work on track. Most Elizabethan playwrights prefer to write in the morning, setting aside the evening for brothels, bar How to Become a Successful Elizabethan Playwright in 7 Easy Steps 1. Consider visiting Elizabethan England. When you're there, take careful notes. The first thing you'll notice is that most people talk in blank verse. Spend enough time there, and you might start speaking like that too! 2. Set a routine! Successful writers abide by a careful schedule, allowing them to keep their work on track. Most Elizabethan playwrights prefer to write in the morning, setting aside the evening for brothels, bar fights, and run-ins with the police. 3. As the old saying goes, write what you know. It might seem boring to you since it's your daily life, but trust me: people will be interested in ghosts and demons and figures from ancient history if you write about them honestly. As Hemingway said, "All you have to do is write one true iambic pentameter." 4. Be enigmatic. Try dying an early inexplicable death, or leaving no concrete evidence of your life. Get creative! Maybe put obscure clues about your real identity buried in famous publications. Oh, and don't forget, an ambiguous sexuality is always a plus! 5. Don't just entertain your readers, but your editors too! Make sure to leave multiple, contradictory copies of your plays after you die, so future editors can try to figure out which is the right one. Keep some differences small, just a few words here and there, and also make some big variations by cutting out or rearranging whole scenes. For extra fun, why not let a friend write a few bits of your plays? 6. Facial hair. 7. Either directly influence, personally know, be reputed to be, or best of all, actually be, William Shakespeare.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Breslin

    I don't know about you, but my idea of a good time is to sneak into a gathering of Elizabethan literary scholars and just provoke the living shit out of them. I like to get them feuding about whether Shakespeare was a genius of surpassing magnitude, standing well above Marlowe and the rest in raw poetic brilliance, or simply the only one among the group who attended a marketing class. It's fun to re-open the perpetual debate on Edward de Vere's alleged authorship of the Bard's plays, then sit ba I don't know about you, but my idea of a good time is to sneak into a gathering of Elizabethan literary scholars and just provoke the living shit out of them. I like to get them feuding about whether Shakespeare was a genius of surpassing magnitude, standing well above Marlowe and the rest in raw poetic brilliance, or simply the only one among the group who attended a marketing class. It's fun to re-open the perpetual debate on Edward de Vere's alleged authorship of the Bard's plays, then sit back and watch the Stratfordians and Oxfordians have at it like Hatfields and McCoys, but with more teeth. And of course there's always the big question: Ben Jonson or Thomas Kyd: who would win in a fight? Get your scholars good and liquored up, to lubricate the evening's intellectual exchange. Soon they'll be hurling invective, recriminations, and, with any luck, rare 18th century editions of John Fletcher. And when the dust settles and all those who have not been beaten into an over-educated paste agree on the obvious: that Jonson would kick Kyd's ass, and that the entire Oxfordian school is a bunch of elitist snobs, the remaining conscious academics might groggily opine as to whether Shakespeare's contemporaries were every bit the genius he was, but with bad PR. And I'm chiming in to say that while they may have been very good, Bill is still the best. Dr. Faustus is, even after over four centuries, still an entertaining and thought-provoking play. In contrast, I myself expect that in another few decades I will be fertilizer. So it's stood the test of time very well indeed, but I'll never read it again, nor would I be especially excited if a theater-troupe were planning a production in my area, except for the opportunity to dress up all diabolical and really fuck with people leaving the show. Ha. That would be fun. But unless I actually knew someone in the performance, I don't think I'd buy a ticket. It's a great story, of course. Classic. Deep. Timeless. This was centuries before modern liberal scientists jettisoned their principles and took jobs with the Pentagon, or Kurt Cobain signed a record deal with a major label. The deep metaphorical significance of selling one's soul still resonates today. But Marlowe didn't invent the story any more than Shakespeare invented his. Both of them were adept at taking what were already classic tales back in the 16th century, and giving them a modern retelling. And once Shakespeare retold a tale, nobody ever had the chutzpah to try to tell it again, even in German. But get that Marlowe defender in a room with a Goethe scholar, and then subtly raise the question of who best told the Faust tale. Oooh, there's gonna be a fight. Excellent. This is more fun than putting incompatible insects in a jar. So, for the record, in my own ever-humble opinion, for what it's worth, just speaking for myself here: I thought this was very good, but not sublimely magnificent. That's my position and I'm sticking to it. You might disagree. I have a full bottle of whiskey, which I'm willing to share. Want to fight about it?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    This work came at an odd time for me. The English class I read it for gave a quiz on it today, while my other English class went over Wordsworth's 'Tintern Abbey' in great detail, a poem that is heavily concerned with coming back to a familiar setting after five years gone and rhapsodizing upon the findings. The first time I read this work, it was fall quarter of Junior year of my UCLA Bioengineering degree and I was keeping my head afloat the equational sea with classical literature in my spare This work came at an odd time for me. The English class I read it for gave a quiz on it today, while my other English class went over Wordsworth's 'Tintern Abbey' in great detail, a poem that is heavily concerned with coming back to a familiar setting after five years gone and rhapsodizing upon the findings. The first time I read this work, it was fall quarter of Junior year of my UCLA Bioengineering degree and I was keeping my head afloat the equational sea with classical literature in my spare time. Looking back from my first of two quarters of community college needed before I return to the more auspicious campus, a novel would call it foreshadowing, human lives would call it perspective, and all I can think is my younger self would never have considered me a plausible future. I take comfort in the fact that coming this far was possible, but the thought of that past state of mind is still painful. Between that 2011 pleasure reading and this 2015 academic one, my contextual skills went up, my trust in authority went down, and my writing improved if grades are anything to go by. While I'm very glad that Shakespeare is finally approaching the assigned reading stage, I now see the appeal of Marlowe beyond the his game changing repute of centuries past. This second reading left me far more amused, decently impressed, and a great deal more unsettled, for if my own reunion with the text is full of eerie coincidences, Marlowe's end makes his composition nigh prophetic. While one could stick with a universal meaning of the inevitability of death, Marlowe could have also made his Faustus less proud, less intelligent, and less probing of the veil between our mortal lives and everlasting damnation. Combine this with prose, comedy, and what must have been some really phantasmagorical stagings, and you have a recipe for the most addictive terror since the Oedipus Trilogy. Add in Marlowe's fate, and you have immortality. My prof who assigned this jokingly said this was a warning to us English Lit majors to not get too full of ourselves in thinking we know everything. For me, after finally figuring out what breed of work seamlessly transitions into my effort to live, that way of thinking is a kind of death. Others can have their name dropping and their literary claims to fame; I have books to read and things to write and a hard-earned future to make use of. --- (11/17/11 Review) Eh. Reading this mades me want to reread Hamlet. As well as read Goeth's Faust. I feel I'll get more out of them than I did with this play. At least, in terms of appreciating plays and Faust's story. Most of it was pretty weird. And not much meaning behind it besides falling prey to temptation and the devil. Maybe I'm not a play person. Or maybe I need to read it in a group setting that facilitates proper discussion and analysis. Maybe the next plays will be better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    This is the famous story of Faustus making a deal with the devil and losing his eternal soul. The commentary talks about this as the transition work from Middle ages to the Renaissance from contemplating God to the age of reason. I have to say, I enjoy Shakespeare more than Marlowe, yet maybe I'm not used to his style is the issue. The story is simple and it has become a standard that is still used today. Everyone knows this story even if they have never read or seen this play. This is great to r This is the famous story of Faustus making a deal with the devil and losing his eternal soul. The commentary talks about this as the transition work from Middle ages to the Renaissance from contemplating God to the age of reason. I have to say, I enjoy Shakespeare more than Marlowe, yet maybe I'm not used to his style is the issue. The story is simple and it has become a standard that is still used today. Everyone knows this story even if they have never read or seen this play. This is great to read for the Halloween season. I don't know that I really enjoyed it and I'm not sure you are supposed to enjoy it. I feel like this is supposed to scare you into doing good. I don't really think that is the best way to find good. Good needs to flow from the Heart and not from fear of hell. This is a classic and I am all for people reading classics. So give this a read. It really wasn't my cup of tea.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    So much more enjoyable than I expected. A breeze to read, that worked well on paper and gave me plenty of laughs. What more could I want?

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    To Dance with the Devil 24 January 2014 Well it looks like my commentary is going to disappear among the hundred or so other commentaries that have appeared on Goodreads in relation to this magnificent play. Okay, poor old Marlowe has unfortunately not just been overshadowed by Shakespeare within the theatre circuit of Elizabethan England (that is if he wasn't Shakespeare in the first place – gee that's just opened up a huge can of worms) … Anyway, as I was saying, it wasn't enough that as a play To Dance with the Devil 24 January 2014 Well it looks like my commentary is going to disappear among the hundred or so other commentaries that have appeared on Goodreads in relation to this magnificent play. Okay, poor old Marlowe has unfortunately not just been overshadowed by Shakespeare within the theatre circuit of Elizabethan England (that is if he wasn't Shakespeare in the first place – gee that's just opened up a huge can of worms) … Anyway, as I was saying, it wasn't enough that as a playwright he was overshadowed by Shakespeare (and then proceeded to find himself on the wrong side of a knife in a bar fight) but two hundred years down the track, Goethe rather unthoughtfully decides to also write a play based around exactly the same character, though with a somewhat different theme, and ends up stealing all of the lime light. Oh well, as they say, shit happens. Anyway, the question that nobody has asked and probably isn’t even thinking of asking, is 'who is this guy name Dr Faustus?' Okay, ignoring the obvious, he's the guy who happened to sell his soul to the devil (and got a rather poor deal out of it in the long rung) for knowledge and power (read to become a sorcerer), at least according to this place: There are a number of characters to whom it could relate, including the business partner of Gutenberg (you know, the guy that invented the printing press and in turn proceeded to change the world in a way that very few people in history have done) but the one that many people seem to agree on is some guy named, guess what, Dr Johan Faust who happened to be a magician and an alchemist who lived in Germany (where the story originated). Whether this guy sold his soul to the devil or not is another story. I have actually had the pleasure of seeing this play performed (which is a treat in itself since not many Elizabethan plays that are not Shakespeare are performed) at the Globe in London, and then saw it again when the film version of the play (ie the play was filmed and then shipped around the world) came to Melbourne for a limited time. I was glad that I had the opportunity to see the film because I missed the first 45 minutes of the play when I got the times mixed up, but at least I got to see the play (rather than having to deal with the 'sorry you're late, doors are closed, now fuck off'). I'm going to have to see if I can make my way to Stratford upon Avon the next time I am in England (though I am unsure when that is going to be, and if it is actually going to happen). Well, it seems that I haven't actually got to talking about the meat of the play, though I must suggest that when I first read it I considered this to be the perfect example of a tragic hero. In a way it seems to me that what The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus could be a template of a tragedy and a tragic hero. The reason that I say that is that it is not because the play is necessarily a bad play, but it is not complex in the same way that some of Shakespeare's great tragedies are complex. Faustus is actually a very simple and straight forward character, though he does develop as the play progresses, but his development is merely based on the fact that as the play progresses he gets ever closer to the inevitable doom that he had set up for himself by making a deal with the devil. At first it appears that he is having fun, though one needs to question whether he is actually having fun. Take for instance where the first thing he desires is a wife but it is denied him. Why? Simple – a wife and marriage is a gift from God, and as becomes clear at the beginning of the play any speculation or discussion about God and the things of God is forbidden to Faustus, which means that despite the pact the one thing that the devil can not provide to him is a good and faithful wife. Instead all he gets are whores and phantoms. Having read the play twice and seen it performed twice I am not convinced that Dr Faustus is doomed from the beginning. I believe that throughout the play Marlowe has provided a way out for Faustus, and this is seen with regards to the appearances of the good and evil angels and the debates over whether his soul has been saved. However, even when he does decide to take the way out, he is always approached by Mephistopheles or even Lucifer and lured back into the path of damnation. It is only at the end that he has filled his head with the lie that due to the pact and due to his actions that he is entirely doomed, and even then the good angels say otherwise. Plotwise, as suggested, this play is very basic in structure, and in a way there are only two plots running through the play and they do not necessarily support each other. Basically we have the serious plot in relation to Dr Faustus, and then we have the comic plot that involves his servants attempting to follow in his footsteps and making a complete botch out of it. The other thing about the version of the play that I have read, which differs from other plays that I have read from that period, is that it has not been divided into the traditional Elizabethan five acts. In fact the play does not seem to even use the act and scene structure, and I have attempted to search the internet to see if that is just my edition or whether that is the case for all of the versions, and of the two that I looked at it seems that the edition that I read (from a small hard cover book called 'The Complete Plays of Christopher Marlowe’) is the standard. People seem to have made comment on the Helen of Troy part of the play. I note that one of the commentators has compared Helen to Jackie Onasis (who had the distinction of being married to a shipping magnate, which is why he compared her to Helen), but I was always under the impression that this woman: would have been more in line with the tag of 'the most beautiful woman in the world', though rumour has it that she did end up sharing something with Jackie Onasis, and it didn't involve launching ships. Anyway, that is beside the point because my understanding of the Helen of Troy aspect is that she was little more than a ghost. I remember the version that I saw performed and Helen did not come on stage as an actress but rather as a massive puppet, which to me adds to the idea that the whole scene was little more than an illusion, another of the lies that Lucifer had bedazzled Dr Faustus with. This is the idea that I wish to finish the commentary with, and that is the idea that any deal with the devil, such as Faustus', is never going to come out the way that one wants it to come out. Dr Faustus made the deal because he was board and he wanted more power and more knowledge. He had basically reached the pinnacle of his learning ability for the time, and was not satisfied, so he stepped out to seek more, and because he could not attain more within his human limitations, he had to make a deal with somebody that he believe that could deliver, and that was Lucifer. However, as it turns out, and we see his torments and struggles at the end as his time on Earth comes to a close (the deal meant that he knew exactly when he was going to die) that he realised that the deal was a mistake, and that all of that knowledge and power has come to naught. Notice that throughout the play Faustus doesn't actually have any friends. In fact the only person whom Faustus seems to communicate with is Mephistopheles, and even then Mephistopheles becomes less and less of a companion as the play progresses and more and more of the antagonist.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Forrest

    While I tease my daughter incessantly about the true identity of Shakespeare, I have to admit that while a lot of evidence points towards Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare being the same person, I can't, in all honesty, hold up the play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus as a Shakespeare-worthy text. Yes, the magical element present in so much of Shakespeare's work is here, yes, there is a good dose of humor, and, yes, the writing itself is, well, Shakespearean. But Doctor Faustus' humor i While I tease my daughter incessantly about the true identity of Shakespeare, I have to admit that while a lot of evidence points towards Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare being the same person, I can't, in all honesty, hold up the play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus as a Shakespeare-worthy text. Yes, the magical element present in so much of Shakespeare's work is here, yes, there is a good dose of humor, and, yes, the writing itself is, well, Shakespearean. But Doctor Faustus' humor is less bawdy than that of Shakespeare's plays, by and large, and the melodrama is overwrought. Also, Doctor Faustus is, by the end, downright pedantic, and while Shakespeare had no fear of moralizing, his sermons were quite a bit more restrained than the typical medieval (or Renaissance) "Everyman" dramas. Still, if one can recognize the religiously-condescending tone as a product of its age, there is a lot to like here. I'm particularly enamored of Doctor Faustus' dark sense of humor that demeans, rather than destroys, his enemies. With the power granted him through the devil, Mephistopheles, one might expect Faustus to simply run rampant over the earth laying waste to all those who find themselves in his path. Instead, Faustus shows a (twisted) humor by planting stag horns on those that have tried to kill him in order to shame them in front of their fellow man. He could have just snuffed them out of existence, with Mephistopheles' help, but loves to use magic to taunt his enemies rather than eliminate them. And this may be why Faustus is simultaneously so darned likeable and abhorrent. He has access to infinite power, yet squanders it on such things as making the Pope and his cardinals play the fool. He's like a child with far more power than he knows what to do with. And, like an indecisive child who can hardly help his own bad behavior, he figures out, in the end, through the good grace of Helen of Troy, that he has gone too far for his regret to save him from the price he has agreed to pay for his fun. Rather than feeling that Faustus gets his just desserts, I'm inclined to feel a bit of sympathy for the guy whose blasphemy and denial of God seemed more like a joke than a true refutation of divinity. Then again, I would likely have been burned at the stake for saying so back in Marlowe's, or is it Shakespeare's day?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    Marlowe has written this excellent play in skillful blank verse. Faustus’s learning and ambition are boundless, rooted in a dissatisfaction with human achievement and ultimately based on the realization that death ends all, making any achievement seem finally futile. Many Latin quotations are included in the play, all translated in the text or the end notes, each reinforcing Faustus’s learning. He turns finally to the occult, to necromancy, in order to move beyond mere human power. Is this one o Marlowe has written this excellent play in skillful blank verse. Faustus’s learning and ambition are boundless, rooted in a dissatisfaction with human achievement and ultimately based on the realization that death ends all, making any achievement seem finally futile. Many Latin quotations are included in the play, all translated in the text or the end notes, each reinforcing Faustus’s learning. He turns finally to the occult, to necromancy, in order to move beyond mere human power. Is this one of the attractions of the occult throughout the ages the conviction that there are powers and possibilities that would seem to lie beyond what we perceive or accomplish on our own? Therein lies fear too, the fear of what we cannot fully understand. It is that terrible fear and compelling allure that haunts humankind and that ever intrigues us. Mephistophilis (yes, this is how it is spelled in my edition) does not demand Faustus’s soul and in fact warns him against allying himself with the forces of evil. Faustus himself volunteers to give Lucifer his soul in return for twenty-four years of having everything he desires. His rejection of salvation is flippant and arrogant, hardly well-considered. Is it in arrogance that Faustus’s doom most exists? Initially at least, Faust has many transient regrets and reservations about having sold his soul, but distractions assuage his hesitations and sensual delights convince him of his course. Intellectual satisfaction seems no longer to be his primary goal. As with Shakespeare, comic scenes such as the repartee between Wagner and the Clown are difficult to understand without notes. Fortunately, the Kindle edition has abundant notes, easy to locate. The middle portion of the play seems to drift. Faust demonstrates in many ways his newly acquired powers, even as he begins to realize that time is growing short and that he will soon need to forfeit his soul. The plot here is really not very involved, and it is rather unitary in contrast to the more multi-plotted plays of Shakespeare. Marlowe does have some wonderful soliloquies in which the cadences roll off the tongue impressively; they really must be read aloud for full effect: “Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium – Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. – Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies! – Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips, And all is dross that is not Helena.” The play ends, of course, with Faust’s regrets at his bargain and futile hopes for salvation. Was this Marlowe’s preference, one wonders? He has been accused of atheism. Perhaps it was necessary in view of the need to please the censors in order to have his play produced at all. Would he have pushed the envelope had he lived longer and been able to write more plays? His tragically truncated career makes that an unanswerable question.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joudy

    Not marching in the fields of Thrasimene, Where Mars did mate the warlike Carthagens, Nor sporting in the dalliance of love In courts of kings, where state is overturned, Nor in the pomp of proud audacious deeds, Intend our Muse to vaunt his heavenly verse A tragedy written by Christopher Marlowe during the age of the Elizabethan Era in England, coinciding heavily with the many other historical events, both past and during his time Wrath, Sloth, Lust, Pride , Avarice, gluttony and envy are vital Not marching in the fields of Thrasimene, Where Mars did mate the warlike Carthagens, Nor sporting in the dalliance of love In courts of kings, where state is overturned, Nor in the pomp of proud audacious deeds, Intend our Muse to vaunt his heavenly verse A tragedy written by Christopher Marlowe during the age of the Elizabethan Era in England, coinciding heavily with the many other historical events, both past and during his time Wrath, Sloth, Lust, Pride , Avarice, gluttony and envy are vital part of this play and are tied in with the disorder and self-destruction of Faustus, its plot proceeding inevitably into Faustus ultimate tragic fall An epic in every sense of the word, all sorts of ghosts crawl into the pages, a prehistory of tastes and experiences and prejudices and fears the story he tells is full of Shakespearean words and situations ,there are many points of valid comparison between this play and Shakespeare plays.Each of the two offers profound insights about psychology. " Philosophy is odious and obscure Both law and physic are for pretty wits Divinity is the basest of the three" It tells the story of Faustus's rebellion against God, Faustus becomes obsessed with secret knowledge and seeks its delights at the expense of his own soul, his ambition spirals out of control and forces him to sell his soul to the devil, he acts on ambition , so has to pay a heavy price for doing so his approach to the world of forbidden knowledge is animated with hatred , he rejects all forms of institutionalized belief structures, then he concludes that repentance is out of the question , and thus he must go on and explore the consequences of atheism. Faustus opposed the great power that traditional Christian morality had over political and social reform and he criticized the falsehoods which have been imposed upon religion by its interpreters throughout history. " Faustus is gone: regard his hellish fall, Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise" My thoughts are so ravished with this play. A first time reader of Marlowe can easily follow and understand the story while developing an appreciation for the exquisite writing, No matter how much sympathy we may have with Faustus who undergo his sad fate, this play as a whole provokes you into arguments about good and evil and gives an image of a world turned upside-down by Faustus's push for absolute power, that leads him to lose his way, then we can realize that none can properly wield the power of force! " What there he did in trial of his art I leave untold, your eyes shall see performed"

  16. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    As dark and twisted as this was, it was actually really great!! The start was a little slow but when it gets going I really started to enjoy it. The story is very weird and messed up but it made it that bit more entertaining!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus From the Quarto of 1604 - Christopher Marlowe I was bored. There wasn't any good reason for the devils to be doing anything for Faustus, and this business of signing up souls? What the hell is that? Assuming the soul is a real, discrete, item that can be separated from a body, why would you want one? And if serving the whims of humans gets you out of hell for a while, why wouldn't you devote yourself to your human with slavish devotion? Also what does Helen The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus From the Quarto of 1604 - Christopher Marlowe I was bored. There wasn't any good reason for the devils to be doing anything for Faustus, and this business of signing up souls? What the hell is that? Assuming the soul is a real, discrete, item that can be separated from a body, why would you want one? And if serving the whims of humans gets you out of hell for a while, why wouldn't you devote yourself to your human with slavish devotion? Also what does Helen of Troy have to do with Alexander the Great?Apparently I wasn't just bored, I was also unable to suspend disbelief for a nano second. Seriously, I was really looking for great stuff from Marlowe, particularly since so many conspiracy theorists seem to believe that Marlowe's death was faked or something, he was really Shakespeare, blah, blah, blah. One good line in the whole thing. Othello is equally puzzling, but it wasn't so boring. At least Iago was some sort of genius of revenge. You could probably convince me though that Marlowe was primarily a spy, and that "writing plays" was just his cover story.Whatevs. Changing the subject from dull Elizabethans, some of you might have seen an earlier review in which I mentioned the mis-adventures of Calder Alexander Eno. Well, last week all the cats went to the vet for shots, and they took a closer look at his injury. To my horror as a cat person, his tail was not getting better (as I had thought) it was getting worse. They ended up having to remove the last three bones, in order to have enough skin to reseal him. Twenty-four hours after his surgery he was almost entirely recovered, forty-eight hours he was completely back to normal, thwapping humans with his new, shorter, and skinnier tail tip. I share this with you secure in the knowledge that I am not the only person who didn't know that the tip of a cat's tail was so vulnerable, and that losing skin there (seemingly from Scarlett Eno's teeth, she's horrible to him) even a tiny little bit (maybe 5mmx5mm) is potentially very bad. Tail injuries will always warrant vet visits for us in the future. This has been a PSA from Sir Calder NubNub, because 

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emad Attili

    “Hell is just a frame of mind” When you finish reading Doctor Faustus, you become extremely confused and you keep asking yourself a crucial philosophical question: Are we born good or evil? And that leads you to another question: What is the purpose of existence? Then, you find yourself obligated to answer an overwhelming question: Do we understand God correctly? When we go back in time to Adam and Eve, we know that their first sin, which resulted in their banishment from Heaven, was the hunger “Hell is just a frame of mind” When you finish reading Doctor Faustus, you become extremely confused and you keep asking yourself a crucial philosophical question: Are we born good or evil? And that leads you to another question: What is the purpose of existence? Then, you find yourself obligated to answer an overwhelming question: Do we understand God correctly? When we go back in time to Adam and Eve, we know that their first sin, which resulted in their banishment from Heaven, was the hunger for forbidden knowledge. Faustus committed that very same sin. He made a deal with Lucifer and ate voraciously from the tree of knowledge. However, we should ask ourselves: What is forbidden knowledge? I believe that forbidden knowledge is that kind of knowledge that makes us feel superior to others. The knowledge that inspires us to treat people as if we were gods, and they are our slaves. Francis Bacon once wrote: “Knowledge is power” and I think it is clear that craving for power was the one and only motivator for Faustus's handing his soul over to the devil. But here's the rub: in order to gain that power, Faustus has to give it all away—to Lucifer. Ultimately, the power Faustus dreamt of could never be his. That is what Faustus didn’t understand. That is the reason behind Faustus’s suffering all through the play. The everlasting struggle between good and evil in Doctor Faustus clearly represents the fact of the human vulnerability. The idea of Good and Bad Angels in Doctor Faustus indicates that we all are both good and evil. the Good angel represents Faustus's desire to repent, and the Bad Angel, his desire to keep right on sinning. Unfortunately, this fierce battle between good and evil within all of us will never end, and this woeful fact is reflected in life itself. Through all of Faustus’s travels, Faustus just could not escape the subject of religion. Yet while religion follows him, step-by-step on his slow journey to eternal damnation, we cannot help but think that Faustus never gets how important religion really is in his life, or the role it will eventually play in the fate of his soul. Nevertheless, I think that Faustus’s religious indifference is partly justifiable. When we study history, we understand how cruel and pitiless the church was. Christianity in the 17th century showed deep conflict. The Age of Enlightenment grew to challenge Christianity as a whole, generally elevated human reason above divine revelation. This conflict is highly reflected in Doctor Faustus, and it took so many forms. The most frequent form of conflict with religion represented in Doctor Faustus was Faustus’s desperation of God’s forgiveness. I believe that religious institutions were highly responsible for this. They encouraged people’s desperation by being so selfish and power thirsty and by portraying God, not as a merciful and loving God, but as a vengeful and blood thirsty God. I think that this particular kind of conflict is a recurring pattern that exists in all religions: a grandeur idea with loathsome and revolting interpretations. We are vulnerable, weak, and pathetic human beings, we commit sins and we have a deep and hidden passion for the forbidden. In my opinion, we should not damn Faustus because of what he did. Nevertheless, we should read Faustus as if we were reading ourselves. That is the beauty and the importance of literature, it confronts us with our real selves and it gives us the opportunity to experience the consequences of our parallel-selves’ mistakes and to learn from them. In Act IV Scene V, When Faustus said: “What art thou Faustus, but a man condemned to die?” he was not actually talking to himself; rather he was talking to us – readers. We were born, we live, and eventually we will die. Therefore, we should listen to Faustus and learn from him instead of cursing him. I believe that Faustus's fall has been caused by his choice to believe that he's damned. That causes him to refuse to repent, and refusing to repent is the one sin that's truly unforgiveable. Even though there are many reasons for every one of us, just like Faustus, to lose his faith and his confidence in God, but there is still a small and powerful light inside of every one of us mysteriously leading us to the right path. Faustus did not lose that light, but his tragedy was that he was not courageous enough to support that small weak light in order to overcome the huge darkness inside of him. If you think about it, the thing that tempts someone to sin is different for every person. For Faustus it was knowledge, but for some people, it might be money, or a special social position, or even something as trivial as food craving! Therefore, the lesson to be learned from Faustus's fall turns out to be bigger than just a warning against forbidden knowledge. I highly recommend this play :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Inkspill

    This is review is of Text A, published in 1604 – and is shorter than Text B. The latter is thought to have scenes added by other writers, where some believe it is not the authentic play. This is written a couple of centuries before Goethe’s version. From my background reading I learnt that Marlowe’s play is the closest to the original German one, Faustbook, that was written a few years earlier. Marlowe’s Faustus is a student of magic, he exceeds his peer’s knowledge, he is smarter and sharper tha This is review is of Text A, published in 1604 – and is shorter than Text B. The latter is thought to have scenes added by other writers, where some believe it is not the authentic play. This is written a couple of centuries before Goethe’s version. From my background reading I learnt that Marlowe’s play is the closest to the original German one, Faustbook, that was written a few years earlier. Marlowe’s Faustus is a student of magic, he exceeds his peer’s knowledge, he is smarter and sharper than them but he wants more, so he sells his soul to the devil for 24 years of good living. At first, he’s pleased with himself, but his conscience niggles at him (as Good Angel and Bad Angel argue it out). When he reneges on the deal Lucifer appears and entices him back with the seven deadly sins. Happy now, with the devil’s servant’s aid, Mephistopheles, he gets to travel. He also enjoys the respect and admiration of other scholars. As the years pass, and the time for him to leave for hell gets closer, he craves to see Helen of Troy knowing his fate his sealed, he says: Was this the face that launched a thousand ships And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. [Kisses her.] Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies!— Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for Heaven is in these lips, And all is dross that is not Helena. Before Faustus parts, he regrets his thirst for knowledge and understands too late that life is better and richer without knowledge. At times, the reading of this play is as intense as its premise but Marlowe breaks it up with comical characters and scenes. It comes across as a morality play as the Chorus thickly lay how knowledge is bad. I also thought it mocked Catholicism, Faustus on his travels spooks the Pope, Mephistopheles (the devil’s servant) has made Faustus invisible, so the Pope thinks that there is a bad spirit in the room and scurries out. This play was performed for Elizabethan audiences in Protestant England. I had heard of this play before reading it, but I had been under the impression that it was only about a man who sells his soul to the devil, to discover that it’s a complex story is a surprise. Now I have finally read this play, I plan to read Goethe’s version of Faustus or Faust soon. Update I've now read the first part of Goethe's Faust, briefly, it was a different experience, more posted here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Biblio Curious

    So good, it'll make your stomach jump out of your body!!! I'll review this gem very soon and link it here! http://www.biblioatlas.com/2017/05/do... The actual play is only 98 pages. The intro stuff is 70 (which I read only to learn there's 2 versions of this play and this book, there should be a dude in a robe on the cover in greyscale, edited by Michael Keefer (ISBN 9781551112107) contains both versions. Keefer painstakingly fused the two editions together to give a complete, uncensored version So good, it'll make your stomach jump out of your body!!! I'll review this gem very soon and link it here! http://www.biblioatlas.com/2017/05/do... The actual play is only 98 pages. The intro stuff is 70 (which I read only to learn there's 2 versions of this play and this book, there should be a dude in a robe on the cover in greyscale, edited by Michael Keefer (ISBN 9781551112107) contains both versions. Keefer painstakingly fused the two editions together to give a complete, uncensored version that Marlowe would have wanted. The notes at the bottom of the page give timely insight into the play's dialogue. The notes are standard for high school textbooks. The last 141 pages are the bits that were censored out from the incomplete 1616 text of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus. Also "Excerpts from the Historie of the damnable life and deserved death of Doctor John Faustus [London, 1592]" Weird title, no idea what it is. But I plan to investigate. If you know, be sure to let me know! There's 2 more essay/historical documents. Then an extensive bibliography of 11 pages!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    A short, entertaining play about a German doctor who sells his soul to the devil. It contains elements of humor and causes one to reflect on the nature of power, sin, and forgiveness. The atypical nature of certain aspects of the story - like the jocular nature of the Seven Deadly Sins and the utilization of Satanic powers to play pranks - made this work stand out and fun to discuss. Recommended for those who have any interest in plays, horror, fantasy, heaven and hell, and Marlowe.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lewis Anna Corbett

    Great play, I have to read it for uni. I really enjoyed it and would definitely read again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    Read for class ... I didn't enjoy it at all.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amber Tucker

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS if, for some reason of your own, you do not know what happens to Faustus in the end. Can I just note that Mephistopheles is a really smooth name? I know Marlowe didn't invent it, but still. Cool names aside, I have to say that I was expecting rather more from this play - unfairly? It is only 56 pages long, small pages at that. But whatever I hoped to find here, it wasn't delivered. Dazzling prose? Not a chance (or not much - I have admitted my overgeneralization as THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS if, for some reason of your own, you do not know what happens to Faustus in the end. Can I just note that Mephistopheles is a really smooth name? I know Marlowe didn't invent it, but still. Cool names aside, I have to say that I was expecting rather more from this play - unfairly? It is only 56 pages long, small pages at that. But whatever I hoped to find here, it wasn't delivered. Dazzling prose? Not a chance (or not much - I have admitted my overgeneralization as per review comments). I've just come off a term of Shakespeare. Marlowe's can do nothing for me after that. Riveting action? OH NO! FAUSTUS TOOK THE POPE'S WINE AND RAN AWAY!!! Steamy romance? If you count the conjuring of Helen of Troy so that wrinkly old Faust can sleep with her. Well... nah. Skillful characterization? For the time, probably. The protagonist, so I hear, is transformed from a mere "naughty trickster" of the German folktale into a more sympathetic character, and that's true to an extent. As the play progresses, you certainly see the Doctor losing confidence in his chosen life of "sin", more and more easily twisted back by the nasty wasty fingers of Mephisto, Lucifer, etc. Poor old guy. He was relatively young and stupid when he set himself up for this which is, I guess, part of Marlowe's point. My dissatisfaction lies in the fact that his condemnation of the character seems half-hearted. He has Faustus do nothing genuinely wicked; during his recurring chances to be 'saved,' there is precious little in the language of the altercations to convince me that Faustus has any substance of character whatsoever, good or evil (as per Elizabethan definition, which are all I was looking for). It's all too rushed, and thus only pseudo-serious. So could I really care about him? It sounds cold-blooded, but I couldn't. Dr. Faustus felt to me like a Grimm's fairy tale. It's written for adults, perhaps, but best suited to frighten kids into stiff Christian unseen-unheardness. Faustus is like a child himself, clever and bored: medicine is too easy, law is too easy, divinity is WAY too easy. So he goes looking for some fun. And he gets it. Twenty-four years of self-indulgent mischief. He never grows up. For that, he goes to Hell. If Faustus goes to Hell, all the idiots who hired him to conjure for them damn well should, too. Talk about suspension of disbelief. If he was trying to do this, I admire Marlowe for pointing out the (willful?) ignorance of those who summon and praise Faustus for his feats. They don't see the evil in him (hmm. Neither do I). They don't try to save him. They're no better than he is. What nags me about giving this just three stars is sensing how much more could be done with it on-stage. As I read, I imagined wonderful spooky verbal effects during passages of otherwise-flat language. Scenes like the Doctor's snitching-nibbles-from-the-Pope could be made very amusing. Alas, I am rating the book and not the performance. I look forward to studying it next term, and hopefully updating this review from a more knowledgeable vantage point.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Glad I read this but think that Elizabethan English will continue to be a trouble for me. Maybe I should look for a modern-language version...

  26. 4 out of 5

    zilver

    ngl this was really fun (& thinking about costa mcclure saying "it's VERY intense, VERY homo-erotic" in lolilo made it even more fun) a list of fun times with faustus: (lowkey spoilers below) • when faustus conjures up a devil and immediately sends him away because the devil is too ugly • faustus contemplating how one words the handing over of one's soul to the devil • when he asks mephastophiles where hell is and just. does not believe anything he says. • mephastophiles: but faustus. i'm lit ngl this was really fun (& thinking about costa mcclure saying "it's VERY intense, VERY homo-erotic" in lolilo made it even more fun) a list of fun times with faustus: (lowkey spoilers below) • when faustus conjures up a devil and immediately sends him away because the devil is too ugly • faustus contemplating how one words the handing over of one's soul to the devil • when he asks mephastophiles where hell is and just. does not believe anything he says. • mephastophiles: but faustus. i'm literally a devil from hell. faustus: sounds fake but ok • faustus asking for a wife and mephastopheles being a troll giving him another devil dressed up as a woman instead • faustus being a suck up ("sweet mephastophiles") and mephastophiles not giving a single shit • faustus: you look ugly lucifer: this bitch ,,, faustus: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ • faustus literally telling gluttony to choke • "the first letter of my name begins with lechery" • lechery is that kid that's like "the word i'm thinking of starts with sl and ends with eep" • all the devils keep saying "tut" • robin: i have stolen this book and now i will read its magic words rafe: you actually can't read idiot • faustus using his invisibility to snatch pieces of meat away from the pope • when i misread a word and thought one of the lines was "great potatoes do kneel with awful fear" • robin and rafe totally digging the fact that they're going to be turned into an ape and a dog respectively • faustus and mephastophiles pulling a prank on a random guy making it seem as if the guy literally pulls faustus leg off • faustus: i sold my soul to the devil his buddies: god forbid!! faustus: ..... yeah he did

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Hughes

    All who read Shakespeare should read Marlowe - in a sense more biting, with a darker interpretation of the human condition. He is the birth of Elizabethan theatre, and hence a man more enveloped by lingering medievalism than his more famous counterpart. From Tamburlaine’s unconquerable appetite for conquering, to a Dr Faustus dismissive of hell being hence dismissed by heaven, to King Edward II’s infamous demise, Marlowe finds a fitting and tragic fate for his protagonists who are the beaters for All who read Shakespeare should read Marlowe - in a sense more biting, with a darker interpretation of the human condition. He is the birth of Elizabethan theatre, and hence a man more enveloped by lingering medievalism than his more famous counterpart. From Tamburlaine’s unconquerable appetite for conquering, to a Dr Faustus dismissive of hell being hence dismissed by heaven, to King Edward II’s infamous demise, Marlowe finds a fitting and tragic fate for his protagonists who are the beaters for their own ruinous. Marlowe’s tales and characters stand out. They erupt from page to stage with incredible energy. An Ovidian scholar whose place in the great achievements of English stagecraft should not be forgotten. He burnt life’s candle at both ends, and his short career is fitting for the man who wrote the following lines: “Now, Mephistopheles, the restless course That time doth run with calm and silent foot, Short’ning my days and thread of vital life, Calls for payment of my latest years” -Faustus, Dr Faustus, Act 4 Scene I

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    There are two texts for Marlowe's definitive treatment of the Faust myth, and no real consensus on which is more authoritative. The A text is shorter and punchier, but the B text includes some good stuff too. The arguments, briefly: - Marlowe expanded his hit play into the B text, which is therefore authoritative; - Someone else added some shit in later, so the A text is authoritative. Don't believe the Wikipedia page, btw, it's a mess. I prefer the A text. The B text is quite a bit longer, and whil There are two texts for Marlowe's definitive treatment of the Faust myth, and no real consensus on which is more authoritative. The A text is shorter and punchier, but the B text includes some good stuff too. The arguments, briefly: - Marlowe expanded his hit play into the B text, which is therefore authoritative; - Someone else added some shit in later, so the A text is authoritative. Don't believe the Wikipedia page, btw, it's a mess. I prefer the A text. The B text is quite a bit longer, and while some of the additions are good, much of it is forgettable; you get the important stuff with the A text and you'll be less likely to wander off to play with your dog.

  29. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Catching up with the classics # 6 I understand there are a few versions of Faustus out there. I chose the play to give my classic category a change of genre. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Selling my soul is just not something I could do no matter how badly I’d love to pay off my credit cards or go off my meds. But I was raised Catholic and anything dealing with the devil is just plain wrong. Not to mention the one thing that is guaranteed to strike fear deep down to your toes. Faustus entered Catching up with the classics # 6 I understand there are a few versions of Faustus out there. I chose the play to give my classic category a change of genre. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Selling my soul is just not something I could do no matter how badly I’d love to pay off my credit cards or go off my meds. But I was raised Catholic and anything dealing with the devil is just plain wrong. Not to mention the one thing that is guaranteed to strike fear deep down to your toes. Faustus entered into this contract without a backward glance, no second guessing. Nothing to worry about until you time is up, eh Faustus?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Olivia-Savannah Roach

    This was actually quite entertaining to read. I've read something else based on the tale of Dr. Faustus before so I was quite familiar with the concepts and so on. I did like Goethe's tale better because it dealt with more morals and values, and had more depth to it. But this one was still quite a good read. It did a good job of building up to the judgment that had to happen at the end, but the ending was actually quite anticlimatic. Which is why this one was just an 'okay' read for me. Read for This was actually quite entertaining to read. I've read something else based on the tale of Dr. Faustus before so I was quite familiar with the concepts and so on. I did like Goethe's tale better because it dealt with more morals and values, and had more depth to it. But this one was still quite a good read. It did a good job of building up to the judgment that had to happen at the end, but the ending was actually quite anticlimatic. Which is why this one was just an 'okay' read for me. Read for university.

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