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Is Faustus' damnation tragic or an act of justice?
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- Doctor Faustus (Marlowe) Questions and Answers
- Study Guide for Christopher Marlowe's DOCTOR FAUSTUS
- Doctor Faustus
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There is just more silliness in the text, and more horror in the damnation. 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 dayplus hired irregulars.
For so few men and boys to play over 40 characters, there had to be a lot of doubling: actors playing more than one or two or three roles. 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: which gets you back to the strategy of Saturday Night Live with a strong guest host, just with the additional obligation of a coherent plot, which a show based on skits, such as SNL, doesn't need. 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.
Anyway: 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 16t h and early 17 th centuries couldn't have many female roles for theatrical reasons nowadays we have less excuse for their lack.
Prolog: 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.. Note that Marlowe fetched what gentility he 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..
Lucifer: "The Bright One," an angel beloved of God. 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. Lucifer is The First Rebel, the archetype for superbia or hybris: sinful or tragic Pride, depending on your ideology. Icarus: 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: chuzpah, comic over-reaching. 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: the bull frog got so swollen he burst. If you read the phrase "melting heavens" and see fire in the sky along with conspiracy against Faustus-that will work..
Luciferian aspiration! Overeating has less dignity.. That may say something about Marlowe's idea of his audience.. Does his goal speak well for his compassion?
Under what conditions is "this profession. Note Faustus's rejection of being a "mercenary drudge"; do you think better of him for rejecting "external trash"? Does he reject it? Faustus cheats and commits something close to scholarly Unforgiveable Sin: partial quotation.
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. 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?. 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. 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].
Does this nasty spirit properly understand human psychology? What's the Serpent's key line to Eve in the Garden in Genesis? 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 …. On the other hand, the Spanish had done what a truly imperial power must doconquer 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 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. When challenged to cite the greatest of the Mosaic teachings, Jesus of Nazareth referred to the opening of the Sh'ma Deuteronomy 6. Faustus may not now love his neighbors, but they care for him.
That cuts at least two ways. Again, Mephistophilis is amazingly truthful in his initial dealings with Faustus: "O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands. 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. Faustus despairs before the Pact. Note "The God thou serv'st is thine own appetite. 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.
Flow started again with fire: Hell "Subtlety is not a virtue" in drama.. That's a good liberal ideal, but not one accepted much before the invention of liberalism in its classic formulation, 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.
Be sure you know why he will never get one. Consider: Where do most Christians go to get married? What are the Sacraments of most churches? Where did Jesus work his first miracle? The tradition is that Lucifer-now just Satan-isn't beautiful anymore. Is Marlowe a humanist? Does he much like humans? Heaven made for man: Therefore made for Faustus. Is the question moot, since devils can't repent?
Is Faustus now a devil-or does he despair?
Doctor Faustus (Marlowe) Questions and Answers
But all the time, Marlowe is in control. He knows too much about the shaping power of words to be a Faustus. Else, like his hero, we will be deformed by the servant we abuse. Christopher Marlowe in Doctor Faustus , one of the earliest and the most famous non-Shakespearean Elizabethan tragedies, manages not only to bridge the gap between the medieval morality plays and the secular, classically influenced dramas of the Renaissance but to produce one of the core myths of Western civilization. Like Oedipus, Faustus, who exchanges damnation for knowledge and power, has become a resonating tragic archetype, epitomizing the doomed but daring overreacher whose rebellion and defeat enact a struggle for transcendence against the gravitational pull of the human condition. As critic T. Indeed, he shaped it into a myth that usurped the place in the Western imagination hitherto enjoyed by the myths of Lucifer and of Adam and Eve.
Who is the main character in the play? What is the status of Faustus's parents? How does Faustus do in his studies? What does Faustus's thoughts soon turn away from? What general topic does Faustus begin to study while neglecting his former studies, according to the Chorus in the Prologue? What specific topic does Faustus begin to study, according to the Chorus in the Prologue?
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Study Guide for Christopher Marlowe's DOCTOR FAUSTUS
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He has to sign his soul over to the devil in order to get that mojo workin'.. It was written sometime between and , and may have been performed between and Marlowe's death in Download for print-disabled Libraries near you: WorldCat.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication. In a wider perspective, Nancy locates the emergence of religion in a first distinction as between light and shade from which the order of the world evolves. The key philosophical figures of the time being Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent and Duns Scotus we see a certain theological root in philosophy of the time. Yet there is an odd ambivalence in Mephastophilis. It is when, in which the being has lost his connection to God, caused by sin.
Doctor Faustus is a scholar living in Wittenberg, Germany. Feeling that he has reached the ends of all traditional studies, he decides to pursue magic, and has his servant Wagner bring him Valdes and Cornelius , two men who can teach him how to perform magic incantations. Two angels a Good Angel and an Evil Angel appear. The Good Angel tries to convince Faustus not to pursue unholy magic, but the Evil Angel encourages him to delve into sorcery. Valdes and Cornelius give Faustus spell-books and Faustus is excited to begin casting spells and summoning spirits. Two scholars , who know of Faustus for his reputation as a scholar, wonder what he is up to and, running into Wagner, ask him. Wagner tells them that Faustus is with Valdes and Cornelius, and the two scholars lament Faustus' interest in magic.