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The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  36,241 ratings  ·  797 reviews
One of the glories of Elizabethan drama: Marlowe's powerful retelling of the story of the learned German doctor who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. Footnotes.
Kindle Edition, From the Quarto of 1604, 132 pages
Published (first published 1592)
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Daniel (Assuming you mean when Faustus' blood congeals.)

His blood clotting is supposed to be an example of nature - or god - trying to stop Faustus from…more
(Assuming you mean when Faustus' blood congeals.)

His blood clotting is supposed to be an example of nature - or god - trying to stop Faustus from selling his soul. It may also indicate that God does little whilst temptation (that being Mephistopheles) will out do Gods efforts. (less)

Community Reviews

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Selling Your Soul: A Short PowerPoint Presentation

Good morning. I recall reading an article about Tony Blair

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 Devil's Advocate

The top item is Sex With Helen Of Troy. Let me q

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,
Bookworm Sean
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 waxe
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
“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
Doktor Faustus'u benim için bu kadar önemli kılan şey Goethe'nin eserine esin kaynağı olmuş olmasıydı. Uzun zamandır okumak istiyordum... İngiliz Edebiyatı klasigi olmasının yanında cehennem ve şeytan göndermeleri de çok ilgi çekiciydi diye başlamış olayım.

Başka yayın evlerinden okuma şansım olduğu halde Sıla Kültür'ün sınırlı sayıda bastığı eseri tercih ettim. Çevirmeni sevgili İsmail Cengar'la da tanışınca doğru kararı verdiğimi anladım. İnsanın bir kitabın çeviri sürecine, bu süreçte yaşanan
Amber Tucker
Dec 27, 2010 Amber Tucker rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elizabethan lit students
Recommended to Amber by: Dr. Nichols, Drama 1701
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Book Info: Genre: Play/Classical works
Reading Level: Adults
Recommended for: all
Trigger Warnings: IT BE OF THE DIVVEL!! (well, not really, but you know... it does express some views that might upset religious people. Details below)

Disclosure: This was my “random read” for November; unfortunately I could not manage it until now. I actually have two copies of this, both of which I picked up free: one from The Internet Archive and one from Project Gutenberg. I’ve chosen the Gutenberg edition to read
Well, well, what do you know? Selling
your soul to the devil isn't a good idea after all! Who would've guessed it? All kidding aside, I love Marlowe and I think he's an amazing playwright. The combination of high and low art in Doctor Faustus is genius. Even a play about greed, hubris, and damnation needs a few dick jokes, amirite?
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
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.
I re-read this for University, and found I enjoyed it far more than I did last year. I think mostly because I took my time a bit more. I'm really looking forward to studying this now!
I have a strange fascination with stories involving Satan, Hell, and the like. I love seeing authors' different spins on the underworld. Dante's Inferno presents a more traditional view, No Exit shows it from an existential perspective, and so on. Dr. Faustus, however, mostly lets the reader make what he or she will given the minimal stage directions and descriptions. Whenever the Seven Deadly Sins or Lucifer ventured onto the stage, they weren't explicitly described, and that was probably my fa ...more
Every time someone trots out the idea that Marlowe write Shakespeare, I think of this, and shake my head. It's a great concept, but Marlowe's hero is hardly the romantic figure we might expect. Instead Dr. Faustus, at many times seems, ah, rather less than decisive or intellectually gifted

Of course, the real reason for Faustus's indecisiveness and bumbling is that this work is the child of morality plays, and has the same problem that DC comics did when they decided to give the Joker his own com
"He that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall."

I nakon 500 godina, tragična sudbina doktora Fausta snažno odjekuje svetom književnosti. Lepi, strastveni jezik Kristofera Marloua, predivni stihovi, crni humor, čak i elementi slapstick komedije u pojedinim trenucima, čine ovo delo neprevaziđenom, košmarnom pričom o prekasnom pokajanju.

Nema šale za gazda-Luciferom.
Faustus sells his soul to the devil for knowledge and power on Earth. Then the obvious happens.
Till swoln with cunning, of a self-conceit, His waxen wings did mount above his reach, And, melting, heavens conspir'd his overthrow
This was the first play I'd read since high school (almost a decade ago now...) and I really enjoyed it. Before starting, I was intimidated by whether the language would be too lofty or 'olde' for me to appreciate the story, but it was far more readable than I expected. Th
David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen’s Revels Plays edition of Dr Faustus has been the go-to critical edition of the play for twenty years, so it is good to see it finally making an appearance in a student edition. Most welcome is the fact that it contains both the A- and B-texts, as all the student editions available so far feature only one. Unlike the critical edition on which it is based, the two texts are presented side by side, which makes it easy to compare the versions.

The editors have prov
Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)
Something more than 5 stars..?! Well.. There are things beyond mere rating,you see.. The matter with classics is that you get to hear and read more about them before you really attempt to read them. They are like your friend's friend. You might not have met him. But you know almost everything about him.

Speaking personally..

I had been wanting to read this book ever since I started reading about Shakespeare,and that was during my schooldays. But I was forced into reading this book because of anot
Though Marlow was born the same year as Shakespeare, he really can't be considered in the same league as The Bard. Doctor Faustus is not a good play, but it is a gutsy one (for the time), and probably a lot more interesting to study than to read. I've never seen a play attempt to be this scary before, but it's far too cheesy and the writing too weak (though there are a couple of great passages) to continue to produce its intended effect in this day and age. Faustus himself is one of the most unl ...more
Hannah Taylor
I saw an adaptation of this play yesterday; they retained the original beginning and end, but modernized the middle section, resulting in a very bizarre, somewhat disjointed narrative that detracted from Marlowe's powerful messages. I am exceptionally glad I read the original afterwards - it was actually a highly enjoyable read, though the language itself is not particularly dazzling. Dr. Faustus is more than a man's wager with the devil, or an individual struggling with eternal damnation after ...more
Aarohi Sudan
Clearly this novel is famed for it's speculative nature of the 'Evil' or 'Dark" magic.The novel manages to empower the heroic aspiration of 'Renaissance man" if that's what Marlowe was out to do.

The storyline is pretty attractive for those who are Big time Harry Potter and The Secret Circle readers.Sure it is but then the play brings out some twists.

"Selling his soul to the devil for ruthless power?!"

According to me,we should try to see how many morality conventions Marlowe debunks and how Docto
Adam Floridia
Upon re-reading, I was right: I really did like this. And I'm kind of not sure why. Random characters come in and out, there is little unity of action, and it's just very choppy overall. However, that's when I compare it to something by one of Marlowe's contemporaries, you know, a complexly woven Shakespeare play with developed characters and relevant subplots. But when I take this for what it is (or what I think it is, at least)--a simple morality tale--its' really good, and that's all because ...more
Sarah Elise
This was required reading and while not something I would normally read, it was interesting and enjoyable enough
Sandra Gerrits
I think I need to read the original. I had the feeling too many corners were cut here. It left me unsatisfied.
Elizabetha S.
Una historia tan vieja como el tiempo: un hombre que vende su alma por conocimiento, poder y placeres mundanos. Sabemos que terminará mal ( Prometeo e Icaro), pero a diferencia de las antiguas historias de la antigüedad y de la mal llamada Edad Media (por ejemplo, la Historia de Teófilo de Gonzalo de Berceo), ésta tiene una dosis extra de reflexión sobre la modernidad, la condición humana y el cuestionamiento religioso.

El Fausto de Mralowe es la primera adaptación y reinterpretación de la Histo
Source: I own a copy of this book for school purposes.

Title: Doctor Faustus
Playwright: Christopher Marlowe
Genre: Supernatural, paranormal, plays
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars.

Doctor Faustus is an incredibly smart man, being one of the smartest men in Germany. But he wants more than knowing about divinity, he wants more than knowing about law, he wants to know and do the impossible and he attempts this by adopting the use of black magic. Calling a demon, Mephistopheles, he sells his soul to
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Gothic Literature: Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe 18 58 Jan 13, 2014 12:55PM  
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Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564 – 30 May 1593 aged 29) was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own mysterious and untimely death.

The author's Wikipedia page.
More about Christopher Marlowe...
Edward II The Complete Plays The Jew of Malta Tamburlaine Doctor Faustus and Other Plays, Parts 1-2

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“Hell is just a frame of mind.” 187 likes
“He that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall.” 121 likes
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