Dr. Faustus
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Dr. Faustus

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  30,671 ratings  ·  668 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.
Paperback, Text and Major Criticism, 216 pages
Published 1966 by The Odyssey Press (first published 1604)
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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...more

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,
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
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
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.
Eh. Reading this mades me want to reread Hamlet. As well as read Goeth's Faust. I feel I'll get more out of them than I did with this play. At least, in terms of appreciating plays and Faust's story. Most of it was pretty weird. And not much meaning behind it besides falling prey to temptation and the devil. Maybe I'm not a play person. Or maybe I need to read it in a group setting that facilitates proper discussion and analysis. Maybe the next plays will be better.
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.
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...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...more
"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.
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
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
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...more
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
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...more
Le livre est absolument un des chefs-d'oeuvre de la Renaissance, ecrit par Christopher Marlowe , ecrivain a une carriere fulgurante mort a a 29 ans. C'est une tragedie qui inaugure un des grands mythes de l'ere moderne, repris par Goethe, Mann ou d'autres. A l'origine de l'histoire se trouve un desir-crainte de l'homme de se mesurer au diable et en fin du compte a la mort. C'est une histoire populaire atteste au moyen age au Xllle siecle et parle Theophile qui a vaincu diable. Cette histoire qui...more
Yomna hosny
I remember the first time I tried to read old English, it sounded like an alien language. But the more exposure you get to something, the more familiar it becomes. so that shouldn't discourage you from reading things like this.

You can always pick up a copy with footnotes and translations if you'd like but in my personal opinion, this book isn't hard to understand at all.

You can do what I do whenever I read plays or poetry.
Just go on to Librivox.com, find a reading of this book and listen to it...more
J. Aleksandr Wootton
The importance of this work - as a forerunner of Shakespearean tragedy, Milton's Paradise Lost, and Gothic novels like The Monk - is pretty obvious, but for me Dr. Faustus pales in comparison to its descendants. I was expecting more.

Specifically I was expecting some fulfillment of Faustus' stated ambitions. A bored learned genius, he elects to try sorcery, imagining that a demon familiar can deliver him wealth and empire. Faustus' bargain with Lucifer is predicated on Mephistophilis' assurances...more
Everybody knows the gist of this one, but it's interesting to read it in whole. The most surprising feature is the comedy of the play, as when Faustus-who has the power to do anything he wishes-uses that power to travel to Rome, make himself invisible, and play pranks on the Pope...
This is one of those classic works that might be more interesting to read about with excerpts rather than reading as a whole. Compared to even some of the minor works of Shakespeare, a contemporary of Marlowe, this play is simply just not as complex or engaging. It is a fairly straight-forward take on the Faust story, and I imagine it has his own unique details and emphases, but lacking any other experience with either Faust or Marlowe, I can't say.

The first half of the play is by far superior,...more
Assala Mihoubi
Ohhh! that feeling I felt when I finished it. I was astonished by the fact that we sometimes feel that we need to enjoy secular pleasures provided to us in life, we need to enjoy ourselves and feel the power no matter what form it is, but wait! there are rules for that pleasure, there are limits for the rebellion of our souls,but no,Dr. Faustus gave up to his demons, to his lusts;therefore, the price he paid was the internal damnation in the dark side of the existence, but rather before his cloc...more
The tale of Faust has been told many times, but Kit Marlowe's 1589 version is still the most fun.
Andrew Bass
My Shakespeare professor last year referenced Dr. Faustus repeatedly during the semester, mostly to make connections to Marlowe's influence on Shakespeare. By about the 30th mention, I made it a point to read this over my holiday break.
Dr. Faustus is an intellectual from Wittenberg (Martin Luther, anyone?) who has grown bored of book learning and wishes to delve into the black magic realm. He conjures Mephistopholis, Lucifer's servant in Hell, and proposes a deal with the prince of darkness: In...more
I was very surprised that I had not included this play on my "read" list. I played the part of Lucifer in a school production and that is how I remember the names of the Seven Deadly Sins to this day! A lot of this play is just hijinks/horseplay and the hijinks and horseplay are good rollicking fun but the best of it is magnificent. The final speach of Faustus belngs to one of the greatest set pieces of literature. Oh that ghastly irony taken from Horace Lente lente currite noctis equi has given...more
It was not boring at all. Captivating. Although I had the impression from time to time that the description of the action was a bit rushed... but maybe even this wants to emphasize the fact that those 24 years in which Faust was in control of supernatural powers passed too fast. Even the reader gets this impression, not only Faust.
One of the things that I found interesting was the contradictory behaviour of the character. Especially in the beginning and in the ending. He wants to sign a concord...more
One of my all time favourite plays. Unconventional and controversial for the Elizabethan period, yet one which has such a valid and significant moral implication, even to nowadays. All in all, the play is a tragic redefinition of the medieval morality play, and which one should 'contextualize' to its own time period and religious climate in those times.

I admire Marlowe's boldness in breaking away from the morality play tradition. One should compare it to the allegorical play 'Everyman', whose au...more
L. Alexandra
Aug 17, 2013 L. Alexandra rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Actors and the curious
Recommended to L. by: British Literature Class
Shelves: classics, plays
Alone in an office, sunk deep in a leather chair so old it no longer bears smell or shine, a reader rests beneath a lone light on a dark night, immersed in the silence of a book. This seems natural now, the separation of words from sound, the division of tone from text. Yet it is not. It is a new phenomenon, which manifested a century or so ago at the dawn of the modern age. Before it happened, people read aloud to others and themselves; before that, the stories came without paper, scripted only...more
Let me preface this review by saying I'm not as big a Dr. Faustus fan as a lot of people are. Dramatically speaking, I think it's one of Marlowe's weakest plays, and it really doesn't do justice to the Faust legend. Marlowe's cynicism is stamped all over it, and there's really not much of a story without some vestige of hope behind it. Give me Goethe any day.

On the other hand, it's verse is beautiful and often surprisingly inventive. At its best, the verse is as lovely as anything in Shakespeare...more
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Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564 – 30 May 1593) 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.
More about Christopher Marlowe...
The Complete Plays Edward II The Jew of Malta Tamburlaine Doctor Faustus and Other Plays, Parts 1-2

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“Hell is just a frame of mind.” 153 likes
“He that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall.” 94 likes
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