The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is a publication of the Pennsylvania State. University. This Portable Document file is furnished. Free site book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. Marlowe's theatre. Stage-history of Doctor Faustus. Text of Doctor Faustus.

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Download Doctor Faustus free in PDF & EPUB format. Download Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus for your site, tablet, IPAD, PC or. Conversions: Doctor Faustus / I usually work from the edition of Dr. Faustus. The Norton Anthology of English Literature 6th edition uses. THE PARADOX OF TIME: DOCTOR FAUSTUS As we read in the introduction by Suroopa Mukherjee to Dr. Faustus, one of the many ambiguities of this play.

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Richard Erlich. Rich Erlich, English , The Norton Anthology of English Literature 6th edition uses the text, and, more generally, you may find the text easier and cheaper to get hold of.

If exact quotations will be necessary, bring the chart with you to class discussions of Dr. Prolog longer version Chorus 2 shorter 3.

Same schticks summoning of Mephisophilis 4. Prolog Chorus 3 4. Faustus at Emperor's Court Omitted 4.

Alexander, 9 Mostly the same, but in in verse prose and verse 4. Omitted 4. Omitted 5. Lately, this has become a serious issue in film; it has long been one in early literature.

Still, each text gives a comedy sandwich, with the Pact and Damnation as high-brow Beginning and End bracketing low-brow silliness. There is just more silliness in the text, and more horror in the damnation. The annotations below are to Irving Ribner's edn. This is very similar to Sylvan Barnet's Signet edn. I indicate on a separate sheet and below where it differs from the Norton 6th edn. I'll also try to make the textual issues pretty much irrelevant in Intro.

The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

My understanding of the play is based on the tension between the readings in two articles by my teacher, Robert Ornstein: That tension between Dr. Faustus as comedy and tragedy sets a precedent I find very important for Shakespeare.


For other readings, try the anthologies: On Marlowe generally: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Text and Major Criticism, ed. Irving Ribner New York: Odyssey, I'll try to read these essays: Anyway, you're on your own with recent criticism at least until I see a very tempting anthology. The English word is a bit too general to be useful. Let's reserve it for "pride" in a positive sense—a sense not often used in the Jewish tradition and pretty well forbidden in traditional, orthodox Christianity.

Additionally, Superbia: Sinful pride, as in "Pride is the root of all evils. Tragic pride, the pride that goes before a tragic fall. Chuzpah variously spelled: Comic pride, the pride that goes before a pratfall; arrogance; the sort of gall where "You kill off your parents and throw yourself on the mercy of the court because you're an orphan.

The titles of Marlowe's plays run, in likely order: What, if anything, should we make of the title of Dr. Faustus as a "Tragicall History" instead of straight tragedy? Note that among the London Elizabethans there seems to have been relatively little biting of the critical toenails over "What Is Tragedy?

Faustus 3 Edward II was just a "lamentable death," while the fall from Fortune's favor of "proud Mortimer" was a "tragicall fall" my alliteration.

There are more roles in the text, including Bruno, rival for the Papacy to Pope Adrian. The addition of Bruno makes the farcical action in Rome a bit more serious, but also longer see below, 3.

As a thought experiment, imagine yourself a scholar some years from now doing a study on the mysterious Saturday Night Live of the late 20th c. Little has survived the destruction of New York in , but you do have a set of Dramatis Personae for a number of prime-time comedies for one week in the year The one for SNL is far longer than the cast lists for other shows.

That's odd since the number of actors for SNL was only slightly larger than that of the other shows. How'd they do that? In the real world, you have the same problem with Dr. As David Bevington points out in From Mankind to Marlowe , the acting companies had come a long way from the days of travelling troupes of "Four Men and a Boy"; still, there were only eight to ten regular players in the troupes of Marlowe's and Shakespeare's day— plus hired irregulars.

For so few men and boys to play over 40 characters, there had to be a lot of doubling: To allow time for costume changes and all, the easiest thing to do was to use a set of characters in one scene and then suppress them, so they're seen no more. Playwrights would also need to restrict the number of women characters played by the limited number of boys and young men.

If the play is structured around one central character, that character can move from scene to scene, with different surrounding characters: For recent writing for groups like a repertory company, note TV shows with regular casts taking a series of similar, but different, roles, e. For reincarnations of "Four Men and a Boy" in the late 20th c. Less effectively, the "top banana" senior actor of an all-male company at the New Globe played Cleopatra, even though the company had female impersonators who could've pulled off the role with a lot more plausibility.

From their beginnings until , acting companies were all male, but there us no reason to believe all the female roles were played by boys. Senior actors might claim a good role, and some of the "boys" were past puberty—one performance for King James, I believe, was late because the player Queen wasn't finished shaving—and the young men taking the roles were what we'd call female impersonators.

These "boy actors" seem to have been very good, but, still, plays in the late 16th and early 17th centuries couldn't have many female roles for theatrical reasons nowadays we have less excuse for their lack. One actor enters, comes forward a bit and utters these lines.

At the end he probably "discovers" i. Picture the Chorus pulling a curtain back to reveal Faustus in a shallow area, with Faustus then stepping forward.

Faustus is low born, "his parents base of stock". Faustus 4 had from Cambridge University, and Marlowe may admire those who rise to greatness for more than was conventional in his society—and maybe even as much as we, who for the most part no longer see pride and ambition as sins. Faustus as Icarus, rising with "waxen wings," and an image of failed aspiration, falling like a two-bit, semicomic Lucifer. Building on the Biblical line, "Oh, how you have fallen, Lucifer son of the morning," a great legend was created of Lucifer as an archangel leading a revolt in heaven.

God won, of course, and tossed Lucifer into Hell, where he became Satan: Lucifer is The First Rebel, the archetype for superbia or hybris: To escape from Crete, Icarus's father made them both wings of feathers and wax; aspiring, smart-ass Icarus flew too close to the sun. His wings melted, and he fell into the sea and drowned.

He became a symbol for foolish aspiration: May refer to an image even less respectable than Icarus. Aesop tells the fable of the bull frog who wanted to impress his son by swelling up as big as anything the little tad had seen. My memory is that the son saw an ox. No matter: For sure, Icarus's wings melted. If you read the phrase "melting heavens" and see fire in the sky along with conspiracy against Faustus—that will work. This picks up "swollen" and begins a pattern of images of gluttony.

Luciferian aspiration! Overeating has less dignity.

English for Summa Bonum, traditional term in Christian theology for what we humans really want: Then again, maybe that's what nice people like the Chorus and Old Man want; maybe that's what God wants for us.

But is it what a real man should want? The Chorus, Old Man et al. If we see him objectively, that's how we should see him. But aspiration is the sin of Eve and Adam, and we come by it naturally, if the Christians tell the story right. Ought not at least part of us identify with Faustus—and question the limits put upon human striving and attainment? Ought not some traditional American parts sympathize with a man who wants to better himself and be all he can be?

Faustus's opening speech: Faustus refers to Faustus in the third person, as "Faustus. Note learned Latin—and that Faustus translates for us. That may say something about Marlowe's idea of his audience.

What does Faustus see as the end finis of his own practice of medicine? Does his goal speak well for his compassion? Under what conditions is "this profession. Faustus doesn't translate the Latin; it reads: Note Faustus's rejection of being a "mercenary drudge"; do you think better of him for rejecting "external trash"? Does he reject it? The full Biblical texts of which Faustus quotes part read as follows: Faustus 5 Unforgiveable Sin: The "grace" part gets complicated, but in Faustus, Faustus has the free will to repent, if he chooses to.

See below for a very brief intro. Faustus finds these books of evil magic "heavenly"; note the inversion and the irony—there will be more turn-abouts and irony later. Faustus on being "A sound magician": Note the immediate goals of profit, delight, power, honor—and then omnipotence. What do you make of the idea of "dominion" that stetches "as far as doth the mind of man"? A hyperbolic but otherwise admirable humanistic statement? Chuzpah—for any human trying the God game?

Enter the Good and the Evil Angel: This is a touch from the Medieval drama and, for sophisticated playgoers, might be another hint that no good will come to Faustus. Medieval plays are ideologically Christian and tend to take a Godlike view, where human arrogance and evil in general is comic. God holds the evil "in derision. Consider whether or not the Good Angel make any argument against necromancy aside from, You'll get into trouble!

In theory, we should turn away from evil toward the God who loves us, in Christian doctrine loved us enough to become human and sacrifice himself to redeem us from the Adversary [Satan]. What is the Evil Angel's temptation? Does this nasty spirit properly understand human psychology?

What's the Serpent's key line to Eve in the Garden in Genesis? Note introduction with "glutted. Start with what you actually respect or would just like for yourself, not what your official ideologies tell you are respectable.

If we followed our official beliefs, few would respect rock stars or big-time athletes. Recall this "conceit" when you see what Faustus gets. Gluttony is a much more minor sin than Pride; still …. Just who does tempt Faustus? If definitely not a saint, does Faustus become something of a martyr? Loaded phrase for us I would hope and, we may presume, for many in Marlowe's Spanish-hating audience; at least according to some modern Spaniards, Renaissance Protestants wasted no time in telling tales of Spanish atrocities in the New World.

On the other hand, the Spanish had done what a truly imperial power must do— conquer an empire—and the English tried sporadically to get their cut of the New World and Russian trade and the East Indies throughout Marlowe's lifetime. Note this word's obvious meaning here—devils. Note also Valdes's fantasy of having the devils look like sexy women. This foreshadows an important point in Faustus's damnation. Leech's Marlowe anthology.

A human male practitioner ironically in "the missionary position" would literally turn his back on God and direct his "love" or libido toward the Devil.

Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

When challenged to cite the greatest of the Mosaic teachings, Jesus of Nazareth referred to the opening of the Sh'ma Deuteronomy 6. But Faustus may be the measure of the traditional standards. Faustus 6. In his "Comic Synthesis" article, Robert Ornstein stresses how low comedy scenes follow more dignified scenes in Dr. Faustus—and undercut them. Faustus chops logic in 1. Here we're to laugh a bit; how about with Faustus?

Note Scholars' concern for Faustus. Faustus may not now love his neighbors, but they care for him. That cuts at least two ways. Conjuration Scene Ribner adds "above" to the S.

Enter [above] Lucifer and four Devils. What would it do to this scene to have Lucifer et al. I for one would certainly stage the scene this way. Desire to get devils to obey his commands, and Faustus's having "prayed and sacrificed to them.

You don't have to know much Latin to get the main point: Go away, God!

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Come on, devils! Faustus sends Mephistophilis off for costume change: Evil is ugly, and, with Faustus, makes no effort to disguise itself; Mephistophilis is an uncommonly honest devil. Note the antiCatholic dig.

Again, Marlowe may not have been a Christian, but he was a solid Protestant politically. Faustus on how Faustus has summoned Mephistophilis. See below for Mephistophilis's version. Faustus's first attempt to command Mephistophilis.

If he made the "moon drop from her sphere," the Earth would be destroyed and every living thing on it killed. Mephistophilis makes clear immediately just whom he serves—great Lucifer—and what he'll do, and won't do, for Faustus.

Driving home the last lesson, Mephistophilis explains that Faustus didn't even force him to appear: Faustus is definitely a Free Thinker in making light of these ideas cf.

The famous passage, "Why this is hell, nor am I out of it. Again, Mephistophilis is amazingly truthful in his initial dealings with Faustus: Ornstein stresses that this is one hell of a line to use to a devil who fought against God. Faustus dreams of power—big dreams. As Ornstein stresses, we again have a scene of high aspiration 1. Wagner says Robin would "give his soul to the devil for a shoulder of mutton, though it were blood-raw" and Robin says, no, he'd "need to have it well roasted.

Jesus asked where the profit might lie in selling one's soul for the world—literally. If the soul is of infinite value, or all we really have, Jesus was correct, and the only difference between Robin and Faustus is that Faustus has bigger fantasies but Robin is smart enough not to sell his soul for trifles.

Wagner summons devils: Like, any fool can do it. Pact Scene. Faustus 7 Faustus still talks of Faustus and to Faustus. Faustus despairs before the Pact. Note "The God thou serv'st is thine own appetite. Enter again the two angels, to debate wisdom—and temptation of wealth. The Bible has it that Pride is the root of all evils and that Greed is the root of all evils, but the usual order favors Pride as the deadliest sin. Anyway, consider the possibility that Faustus works his way down the ladder of Deadly Sins.

Pact, with Faustus writing with his blood, desiring to be "as great as Lucifer," which is ironic at the bottom of the Inferno, Satan is as low as one can get.

Flow started again with fire: Hell "Subtlety is not a virtue" in drama. Faustus asserts his soul is his own. That's a good liberal ideal, but not one accepted much before the invention of liberalism in its classic formulation, Consummatum est: Homo fuege: Faustus's body Naturally rebels against the Pact. I'll fetch him somewhat to delight his mind: This will become a kind of motif for Mephistophilis's handling of Faustus—and for filling in the middle of the play.

Marlowe inherited the Beginning of Dr. If the point is the futility, the emptiness, the Vanity! Mephistophilis swears by Hell and Lucifer. Note the ironies. Hell is where Faustus is headed; Lucifer is the Father of Lies. After this, Mephistophilis may be less fastidious with the Truth. Faustus's first questions of Mephistophilis. Mephistophilis is right on Hell hath no limits—and Faustus doesn't believe him.

Even Mephistophilis can't take this: How much would you want to just sell your soul?!? If there was a devil that wanted my soul, I just might have a soul, and there might be a God who'd be very pissed off if I sold it. That's common sense.

Faustus is academically clever, but also very, very stupid. Faustus wants a wife. Be sure you know why he will never get one. Where do most Christians go to get married? What are the Sacraments of most churches? Where did Jesus work his first miracle? Consider "bright Lucifer before his fall"—and after.

The tradition is that Lucifer—now just Satan—isn't beautiful anymore. Faustus's curse on Mephistophilis for depriving him of the joys of Heaven and the heavens is followed by a line not in the text; Mephistophilis says: Faustus conjures up an image of Alexander, and Charles is duly awed. As the twenty-four years of his deal with Lucifer come to a close, Faustus begins be anxious of his looming death. Time flies. Faustus tells the scholars about his pact, and they are horror-stricken and resolve to pray for him.

The night before the expiration of his twenty-four years of power and fame, Faustus is overcome by fear and remorse. He finally begs for mercy from God, but it is too late.

At midnight he meets his end, as death over comes his body and his soul forever is eternally damned. What is depicted onstage in a matter of minutes in this final scene is in fact, as per the story, portraying an hour long dramatic end.

The stage clock is but a callous instrument, striking away as time flows by. Here, yet again there is the relative outlook of time as years compared to one hour is long, but still compared to eternity is short. The twenty four years of Faustus trapped in the sixty-minute cage of time by the 24 strokes of the clock, simultaneously imply his bargain and his final hour of regret.

It is irony at its best. O lente, lente currite noctis equi! The stars move still; time runs; the clock will strike; The devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.

Before the Renaissance, life and death were thought to be predestined. Towards the end of the Renaissance, many began to question parts of this belief, and as an upshot, the significance of life came into question. Donne spoke of "death" as a noun, yet spoke to "Death" as a being, without involving God.

To divorce God and Death, and then treat Death as an entity was indeed a new idea. It is almost as if Marlowe through Faustus is bringing to light the questioning of faith and of God which arose during the Renaissance. Having Faustus repent at last, but all too late makes one realize how the mindset stood at a point midway between medieval beliefs faith and the modern scientific attitude reason and in balancing between the two, one could tip over to any side.

Although such a repeating sense of time maybe witnessed in Shakespearean plays, there is no hint of it in Doctor Faustus. In Faustus, time flows in an unalterable and undying manner.Is this what we've seen? Note the antiCatholic dig. Senior actors might claim a good role, and some of the "boys" were past puberty—one performance for King James, I believe, was late because the player Queen wasn't finished shaving—and the young men taking the roles were what we'd call female impersonators.

How about a plea-bargain offer of God's and our derision for being stupid? Is everything except obedience to God "vanity and a striving after wind" to use the Preacher's phrase in Ecclesiastes? In countries with a strong Puritan heritage, like ours, there's a tendency to invert the list and be most upset by lust and least upset by—or even encourage—Pride, Greed, Envy, and the borderline sin between body and spirit, Wrath.

RAUL from Bellevue
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