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The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus By Christopher Marlowe
Publisher: Routledge 1990 | 176 Pages | ISBN: 0415039606 | PDF | 1 MB

As well as a fascinating chronology of Marlowe's life and works and extensive notes on the text, this edition includes a substantial and authoritative historical introduction to the play.

This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information.Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.Summary: RepentRating: 5What Christopher Marlowe has created in Doctor Faustus is nothing short of spectacular. The choices Dr. Faustus makes are reminiscent of choices wwe all must face in life: A life of materialistic gains and self or the everlasting peace of salvation? Dr. Faustus finds himself wanting more in life, he seeks the answer to mankinds oldest equivocation: the purpose of mankind. Like a Greek tragedy, he makes a deal with Hades who offers Dr. Faustus ultimate knowledge. But making a deal with Hades is always unwise. After learning that ultimately, pain and suffering is all mankind will ever know, his soul is condemned to Tartarus. This is a chilling tale with moments of humor to release the tension of the story. Editor of the highly recommended novel: Fates by Georgiou Tino: Best of 2008 Summary: Enjoyable and a must read!Rating: 5By his untimely death at 29 Christopher Marlowe had written this and other plays (including The Jew of Malta) which inspired a beginning William Shakespeare to sharpen his craft. Though the version we have was not recorded until about a decade after Marlowe's death (and therefore shows signs of later adulterations by other writers) you can still observe the genius of Marlowe at work. The plot of this play is about a well-learnt man, Dr. Faustus, who believing that he has attained all the knowledge there is to learn (knowledge beyond the point of 'this far and no further'), turns to magic. During one of his rituals he calls upon the underworld to aid him - Mephistopheles duly comes to Faustus' beckoning as any good demon would in their relentless search for souls; however Faustus, in his naive pride, believes that Mephistopheles is there as a result of his conjuring - demons are at his beck and call! Mephistopheles plays it whatever way Faustus wants it, to ensure capturing his soul. They strike a pact - 24 glorious years of fame and fortune for Faustus, with Mephistopheles as his servant, after which his soul belongs to Lucifer. To make the contract binding Faustus writes out the pact and signs in blood. However, Mephistopheles is portrayed as a figure of sorrow and tries to warn Faustus about what he is getting himself into. But Faustus is unreceptive to the truth and ignores Mephistopheles' warning. There is the good and bad angel that appear to Dr. Faustus several times. The good angel repeats over and over to Dr. Faustus that he can repent at any time and come back into good graces, while the bad angel keeps on telling him it's too late. The bad angel prevails. A number of scenes are depicted - the main one being at the Vatican. Faustus is invisible and steals food and wine from under the Pope's nose, followed by putting to sleep a couple of Cardinals and stealing their clothes, and he frees Bruno who is to be put to death for impersonating the pope. So the story develops - Faustus is the guest at the tables of the figureheads of Europe where he further increases his reputation by bringing to life such people as Helen of Troy. He is introduced to the Seven Deadly sins - Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth and Lechery. After twenty four years of fame Faustus' time is drawing to a close and he cannot postpone the inevitable. Mephistopheles, Lucifer and Beelzebub appear to collect their payment - the soul of Faustus. At the midnight hour they open the gates of hell. Faustus tries to repent but it's too late and his implorations to God are halfhearted. The devils rip his body apart before casting it aside - it has no use for them - their only currency is the soul. In the 3rd and 4th acts, Faustus seems to let go of his quest for knowledge (for the most part) and indulges in practical jokes of an evil nature. There are some who feel that the 3rd and 4th acts are way too silly and that they drag the play down. The 5th act begins, and Faustus has one final chance to avoid his fate, but he resigns himself to damnation if he can 'enjoy' Helen of Troy. The devil always tempts us with sexual fantasies, mankind's ultimate weakness! The final scene where Faustus realizes that it is too late and hell awaits, is a scene of pure terror almost unparalleled in literature. He moves from requests that cannot be granted to the most imaginative escapes. The play ends with an appropriate warning to stay behind the line of 'this far and no further.' Christopher Marlow's life is a bit of a mystery. Some historians believe that he might have been a spy. Not surprisingly, one of the groups of people who Marlowe is rumored to have spied on were Catholics intent on overthrowing what they saw as England's Protestant government. The first thing Dr. Faustus does when he makes his famous bargain is to play a practical joke on the Pope. Marlowe was killed in a bar fight over an unpaid bill, but it seems highly likely that he was murdered because he was a spy. Summary: Read the man who inspired William ShakespeareRating: 5By his untimely death at 29 Christopher Marlowe had written this and other plays (including The Jew of Malta) which inspired a beginning William Shakespeare to sharpen his craft. As regards this play, Marlowe was sort of the Pete Best of the era doing his version of the Hey Joe of the era. To continue musical metaphors he didn't invent but merely sampled the Faustus tale and in so doing gave it his own unique spin. Though the version we have was not recorded until about a decade after Marlowe's death (and therefore shows signs of later adulterations by other writers) you can still observe the genuis of Marlowe at work. By likening his character to the Greek methological story of Dedalus, Marlowe imparts that sense of doom so connected with the potential arrogance of human ambition. As a reminder, Dedalus was affixed wings with wax by his father Icarus only to lose them and fall when Dedalus flew too high and had them melted by the light of the sun. Similarly Faustus is -- in almost Christmas Carol type fashion -- visited by the personified seven deadly sins and Lucifer himself...itself then a unique device uniquely and effectively executed. Throughout Marlowe makes us witness to Faustus' growing sense of doom at the irrevocability of his contract with Lucifer. Sadly, to the modern reader much of the horror of his Faustian bargain is lost to us. For the most part, we moderns don't have the immediate fear of Lucifer that our forebears had. For us today, evil does not lurk in the shadows but is rather all too much before us as we proceed through our days and take note of current events. Still the same the play was a landmark piece and an inspiration to Shakespeare who had before him an example of the genuis he had to compete with and the standard he had to maintain. Summary: The Price of Fame....Rating: 4Tells the tale of the unfortunate Doctor John Faustus - who in return for 24 years of fame and fortune sells his soul to Lucifer. Faustus is a learned gentleman, his pride tells him that he can learn no more from books and the limit of knowledge that they contain. He needs to escape the bounds of the known world and so turns to the world of magic. During one of his rituals he calls upon the underworld to aid him - Mephistopheles duly comes to Faustus' beckoning as any good demon would in their relentless search for souls (Europe happens to be Mephistopheles stomping ground); however Faustus, in his naive pride, believes that Mephistopheles is there as a result of his conjuering - demons are at his beck and call! Mephistopheles plays it whatever way Fautus wants it, to ensure capturing his soul. They strike a pact - 24 glorious years of fame and fortune for Faustus, with Mephisto as his servent, after which his soul belongs to Lucifer. To make the contract binding Faustus writes out the pact and signs in blood - Mephisto isn't taking any chances. A number of scenes are depicted - the main one being at the Vatican. Faustus is invisible and steals food and wine from under the Pope's nose, followed by putting to sleep a couple of Cardinals and stealing their clothes, he frees Bruno who is to be put to death for impersonating the pope. So the story develops - Faustus is the guest at the tables of the figureheads of Europe where he further increases his reputation by bringing to life such people as Helen of Troy. He is introduced to the Seven Deadly sins - Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth & Lechery. After Twenty and Four years of fame Faustus' time is drawing to a close and he cannot postpone the inevitable. Mephisto, Lucifer and Belzebub appear to collect their payment - the soul of Faustus. At the midnight hour they crack back the gates of hell to reveal his destiny - bodies on endless treadmills, unfortunates being thrown around on pitch forks, souls damned for eternity. Faustus tries to repent but it's too late and his implorations to God are halfhearted. The devils rip his body apart before casting it aside - it has no use for them - their only currency is the soul. Recommended Summary: Marlowe's Masterpiece. Rating: 5If you saw "Shakespeare In Love," you know this was the play of Marlowe's that was getting so much attention. (For that matter, I found this play better than "Romeo and Juliet," even though "Romeo and Juliet" was to become the big play at the climactic moment.) Moving on, we meet Dr. Faustus, and he decides that the legitimate knowledge of this world is not good enough. So, he decides to cross the line of 'this far and no further' by making an unholy deal. It is interesting that even Mephistophilis (the unholy agent of the devil) is drawn as a figure of sorrow and even tries to warn Faustus about what he is getting himself into. But Faustus is unreceptive to the truth and ignores Mephistophilis's warning. In a scene of shocking horror, Faustus even mocks Mephistophilis for trying to warn him of the dangers involved: "Learn thou of Faustus manly fortitude" (1.3.85). Faustus makes an unholy pact and sells his soul for books that will offer knowledge beyond the point of 'this far and no further,' as well as significant magical powers. It is interesting that even after Faustus makes the pact, he is presented with several opportunities to escape his fate. But he can not give up the fruits of the pact. (His powers, having Mephistophilis at his command, etc.) Later, we see meet the 7 deadly sins. And Faustus's delight at them shows us his degeneration. In the 3rd and 4th acts, Faustus seems to let go of his quest for knowledge (for the most part) and indulges in practical jokes of an evil nature. There are some who feel that the 3rd and 4th acts are way too silly and that they drag the play down. But, I don't think this is the case at all. I can not help but think that Marlowe was emphasizing how worthless the fruits of the pact really were. (Nothing we could ask the devil for could equal the soul which Christ gave us.) Furthermore, in my opinion, we shouldn't be so surprised at Faustus's degeneration. He has made a pact with evil, and evil is basically degeneration through the service of one's self, depite how amoral and sick that service may be. It is our good side that encourages us to better ourselves, hopefully at least in part for the sake of others. The 5th act begins, and Faustus has one final chance to avoid his fate, but he resigns himself to damnation if he can 'enjoy' Helen of Troy. If I were a betting man, I would bet that Marlowe is emphasizing that sex often overrides our rational thoughts. (How many romance plays seem to defy reason?) The final scene where Faustus realizes that it is too late and hell awaits, is a scene of pure terror almost unparalled in literature. He moves from requests that can not be granted to the most imaginative escapes. The play ends with an appropriate warning to stay behind the line of 'this far and no further.'



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