Tagged: Faustus

Dr. Faustus (Dover Thrift Editions)

One of the most durable myths in Western culture, the story of Faust tells of a learned German doctor who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. Early enactments of Faust’s damnation were often the raffish fare of clowns and low comedians. But the young Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593) recognized in the story of Faust’s temptation and fall the elements of tragedy.
In his epic treatment of the Faust legend, Marlowe retains much of the rich phantasmagoria of its origins. There are florid visions of an enraged Lucifer, dueling angels, the Seven Deadly Sins, Faustus tormenting the Pope, and his summoning of the spirit of Alexander the Great. But the playwright created equally powerful scenes that invest the work with tragic dignity, among them the doomed man’s calling upon Christ to save him and his ultimate rejection of salvation for the embrace of Helen of Troy.
With immense poetic skill, and psychological insight that foreshadowed the later work of Shakespeare and the Jacobean playwrights, Marlowe created in Dr. Faustus one of the first true tragedies in English. Vividly dramatic, rich in poetic grandeur, this classic play remains a robust and lively exemplar of the glories of Elizabethan drama.

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Dr. Faustus

lk, Wherewith the students shall be bravely clad; I’ll levy soldiers with the coin they bring, And chase the Prince of Parma from our land, And reign sole king of all the provinces; Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war, Than was the fiery keel at Antwerp’s bridge, I’ll make my servile spirits to invent. Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS. Come, German Valdes, and Cornelius, And make me blest with your sage conference. Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius, Know that your words have won me at the last To practice magic and concealed arts: Yet not your words only, but mine own fantasy, That will receive no object; for my head But ruminates on necromantic skill. Philosophy is odious and obscure; Both law and physic are for petty wits; Divinity is basest of the three, Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile: ‘Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish’d me. Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt; And I, that have with concise syllogisms Gravell’d the pastors of the German church, And made the flowering pri

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Dr. Faustus

shall be? Divinity, adieu! These metaphysics of magicians, And necromantic books are heavenly; Lines, circles, scenes, letters, and characters; Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires. O, what a world of profit and delight, Of power, of honour, and omnipotence, Is promis’d to the studious artizan! All things that move between the quiet poles Shall be at my command: emperors and kings Are but obeyed in their several provinces; But his dominion that exceeds in this, Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man; A sound magician is a demigod: Here tire, my brains, to gain a deity.

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Dr. Faustus

The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the German story Faust, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power, experience, pleasure and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe’s death and at least 10 years after the first performance of the play. It is the most controversial Elizabethan play outside of Shakespeare, with few critics coming to any agreement as to the date or the nature of the text.

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