Clayton's Reviews > Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
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Aug 07, 2012

really liked it
read count: 2

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, and at its worst, it's not bad by any measure. Marlowe IS the king of pure dramatic poetry, and it's always a relief in his stronger work that he doesn't let any pretense to realism or conversation get in the way of giving his characters brilliant things to say.

I strongly recommend The Jew of Malta or Edward II as more striking alternatives to Dr. Faustus. They both do better at establishing their lead characters as truly detestable, so there is less temptation to relate to them, and more opportunity to really enjoy them being reprobates.
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