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Dr. Faustus

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The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is an Elizabethan tragedy by Christopher Marlowe, based on German stories about the title character Faust, that was first performed sometime between 1588 and Marlowe's death in 1593. Two different versions of the play were published in the Jacobean era, several years later. The powerful effect of early productions of the play is indicated by the legends that quickly accrued around them—that actual devils once appeared on the stage during a performance, "to the great amazement of both the actors and spectators", a sight that was said to have driven some spectators mad.

64 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1588

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About the author

Christopher Marlowe

613 books744 followers
Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564) 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.

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Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.9k followers
July 5, 2020

The history of Dr. Faustus, its composition and its performances, is obscured by legend and shrouded in surmise. We know the play was wildly popular, but not when it was written or first performed: perhaps as early as 1588, when Marlowe was twenty-four, or perhaps as late in 1593, the year Marlowe died. At any rate, it so captured the public imagination that people told stories about it. The most vivid of the legends tells us that real devils were once conjured during a performance, that actors were confounded, spectators driven mad, and that the Faustus who spoke the summoning words, Edward Alleyn, renounced his profession from that day forward and spent his remaining days performing works of charity.

Even the play itself is a bit of a puzzle, for it has come down to us in two different texts; the brief quarto of 1604 and the longer quarto of 1616. Early critics tended to prefer the earlier quarto, seeing it as a “purer” version, purged of “low” comic scenes, but later critics like the 1616 Faustus better. Its “low” scenes—although probably not written by Marlowe—serve an artistic purpose: they show us how Faustus, a self-immolating hero who once desired to plumb the depths of knowledge, soon degenerates into a shabby conjurer, a practical joker who amuses himself by cheating a peasant out of a horse. Was his immortal soul bartered away for this? (Personally—being something of a “low” type myself—I enjoy a lot of this buffonery, particularly the scene in which an invisible Faust and Mephistophilis steal all the fine dishes from the pope’s banquet and drive him and his cardinals from the hall.)

For my taste, Marlowe’s play is the best version of the legend—better than Goethe, better than Thomas Mann. He wrote it at the very moment when the adjective before “humanist” was changing from “Christian” to “secular,” when his hero--at one and the same time—could be both admired as an icon of human daring and also pitied as a sinner irrevocably damned. His Faust is not so much self-contradiction as paradox, as gestalt: faces-and-cup--filling the foreground, fading out--forever.

There are many memorable passages in this play, including Faustus' opening and closing soliloquys, Mephistophilis on Hell, Faustus on Helen of Troy, and the parade of the Seven Deadly Sins. But I prefer to quote Faustus describing with delight a journey he took through the air:
Sweet Mephistophilis, thou pleasest me.
Whilst I am here on earth, let me be cloy'd
With all things that delight the heart of man:
My four-and-twenty years of liberty
I'll spend in pleasure and in dalliance,
That Faustus' name, whilst this bright frame doth stand,
May be admir'd thorough the furthest land....
Thou know'st, within the compass of eight days
We view'd the face of heaven, of earth, and hell;
So high our dragons soar'd into the air,
That, looking down, the earth appear'd to me
No bigger than my hand in quantity;
There did we view the kingdoms of the world,
And what might please mine eye I there beheld.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews45 followers
October 31, 2021
Doctor Faustus = The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe

The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is an Elizabethan tragedy by Christopher Marlowe, based on German stories about the title character Faust, that was first performed sometime between 1588 and Marlowe's death in 1593. Two different versions of the play were published in the Jacobean era, several years later.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفدهم ماه ژانویه سال 1980میلادی

عنوان: دکتر فاستوس؛ اثر: کریستوفر مارلو؛ مترجم: لطفعلی صورتگر؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب، سال1340، در88ص، چاپ دوم سال1359هجری خورشیدی؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 16م

تاریخچه تراژدی گونه ی زندگی و مرگ دکتر «فاستوس»، نوشته ی: «کریستوفر مارلو»، نمایشنامه نویس سده ی شانزدهم میلادی «انگلستان» است؛ نمایشنامه «دکتر فاستوس»، از برجسته ترین نمایشنامه های دوران «ملکه الیزابت» است، درونمایه ی آثار «کریستوفر مارلو» هماره به سرانجام شومی میانجامند، که گریبانگیر قهرمانان داستان میشود، در حالیکه امکان دارد به بهای زیر پا نهادن انسانیت و وجدان، و هماره در حد کمال، از خواسته های زندگی، سرشار شوند

جاه طلبی، بیش خواهی و آز، و توانایی خواستن، از تم های دیگر آثار ایشان، به شمار میروند؛ «فاستوس» که دانشمندی بزرگوار، از اهالی «ورتمبرگ آلمان»، و سرآمد همه ی پارسایان، و دانایان زمان خویش است؛ آنگاه که در دانش به کمال میرسد، انقلابی در او پدید میآید، که همه ی دانشها را بیهوده مییابد؛ او که دیگر از علم و فلسفه بیزار شده، و اراده اش میل به توانایی دارد؛ درصدد برمیآید، که به جادوگری رو کند، تا با آن بتواند جهان را زیر چنگ خویشتن درآورد؛ پس «فاستوس» در پی دو ساحر، و استاد جادوگری، میفرستد، تا علم جادو را، به او بیاموزند؛ ساحرها میآیند، و او را از توانیها، و مزایایی که آن کار دارد، آگاه میکنند؛ «فاستوس» در پی رویدادها، با اوراد و اذکاری که میخواند، نائب رئیس شیطان، «مفیستوفلیس» را آشکار میکند، و از او میخواهد، که پیوسته ملازمش باشد، و هرچه میخواهد، اگر خارج کردن کره ی ماه از مدار خود، و فرو بردن همگی زمین در غرقاب را، برایش فراهم کند؛ اما «مفیستوفلیس» میگوید، که او بنده ی «ابلیس» است، و اگر «ابلیس» چنان فرمانی بدهد، او میتواند تا پایان عمر ملازمش باشد، و قرار میشود، «مفیستوفلیس» نزد «ابلیس» برود، و کسب اجازه کند؛ و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 08/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
March 6, 2012
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 quote the relevant lines:
Is this the face that launched a thousand ships
and burned the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss...
her lips suck forth my soul
See where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
At an emotional level, I find Marlowe's description pretty convincing, though, as a scientist, I also feel obliged to try and estimate in quantitative terms just how beautiful Helen of Troy was. Well, look at it this way. Jackie Onassis,

Jackie O

who was generally acknowledged at the time to be one of the world's most beautiful women and was married for several years to a major shipping tycoon, perhaps launched five to ten ships. So Helen was at least a hundred times as beautiful as Jackie O, even before adjusting for inflation. I hope you found that helpful.

Another imaginative bullet-point on Faust's wishlist is Kicking The Pope's Scrawny Ass.

The Pope

Again, direct comparisons may be a little misleading, and it's possible that the pope Marlowe was thinking about wasn't a former member of the Hitler Youth

Hitler Youth

and hadn't been instrumental in covering up evidence of widespread child abuse. But, I gather from the context, people had equally good reasons to dislike him. Faust sneaks in wearing a cloak of invisibility that Mephistopheles borrows from Harry Potter

Harry Potter

(note to self: check this), and all the helpless clerics can do is try to exorcise him. Faust lets them know how much he cares:
Bell and book and candle,
Candle, book and bell
Backwards, forwards and back again
to damn poor Faust to Hell
As you can see, this guy thinks out of the box and knows how to maximize his opportunities! But, despite everything, when it's time to pay up he still regrets what he's done:
O lente, lente currite, noctis equi!
The hour will come, the clock will strike, and Faust must die...
Definitely makes you feel a little thoughtful, doesn't it?

Okay, summary. If you're currently negotiating the sale of your own soul, check out Doctor Faustus while you're doing the due diligence. There's a significant probability that you've called it wrong. And, if you're so deluded that you think no one's ever going to make you an offer, then you definitely need to read it. Thank you and have a nice day.
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,030 reviews17.7k followers
October 1, 2023
Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, her naivety notwithstanding, has said it all. Life is for forthright action and not for mucking about in Dark Knowledge.

Is this why Dante, for example, is so universal? We are in the Middle of a Deep, Dark Wood of self-torment. And not in the Freedom of Forthright Action, as Roosevelt was. Doctor Faustus is damned by his if-only's.

Doctor Faustus has sold his soul to the Devil, purportedly for Knowledge, but all that he has gained from it (along with a buck fifty) will only buy him a cheap cup of coffee. Dark and diabolical knowledge ends only in the self-recrimination of emptiness:

And the End is in that desperate last, angst-ridden night on earth when Faustus manages only the strangled cry: "Lente, lente currite Noctis Equi!"

Enjoyment only enjoys dust at the end.

Is that ALL, Faustus perplexedly wonders (like Peggy Lee), there IS?

Certainly not. NOT if you bypass the Pleasure Principle. Proust made the Regaining of one’s Past the key to his life, work and peace of mind. It WORKED for him.

For he wanted knowledge - not of Dark Power for Himself - but of Freedom from Himself. THAT's the REAL Secret.

You see him in the late photos, finally released from the self-imposed prison of his hermetically sealed flat, FULFILLED in his fame and in his release from his inner devils.

FREED AT LAST - Eternally!

Just so, we must all try to OWN our own past and overcome it In forthright, inspired action. As with Eleanor Roosevelt's fight for social justice. We MUST be free of the Deep, Dark Dungeon of Remembered Desire.

A Remembrance of Things Past is one key to our safe exit.

Once we see it all coming back plainly, as Proust did, we can RECOVER OUR NOW PLAYED-OUT LIFE.

No kidding. Imagine the Freedom of Life without Doublethink!

They say had Marlowe lived longer, he woulda equaled Shakespeare! I have my doubts.

But reading this play can help restore OUR life - if only as a Caveat Lector.

There is always SOMETHING buried in our past that we’re continually Forgetting to Remember! Re-owned, it can be our Treasure Buried in a Field.

Cause it can give us NEW LIFE.

Marlowe was a searcher like us. But he saw his Value in Living and Grasping Each Moment as his Last. It’s bad advice for us to call our own.

If you live your life, not in grasping - but for others, when you get to the final hours of your life, you will not cry out with the doomed Dr Faustus, in his last minutes:

Gallop SLOWLY, O ye Horses of the Night!

For you will have lived your life FULLY -

And will be HAPPY to Finally - at long last - Sleep in Endless Peace:

Unlike poor Marlowe and Faustus.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
June 4, 2017
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 waxen wings did mount above his reach,
And melting heavens conspired his overthrow.”


This, of course, refers to Icarus who flew to close to the sun and plummeted to the earth. This is foretelling Faustus’ downfall and eventual fate as written by his own hands and in his own blood. Indeed, Faustus is unbearably arrogant. He refers to himself in the third person. It sets himself aside from other characters. In addition he believes through his achievements he will be canonized and revered across the world. His lust for power is born totally from vain desire fuelling his imagined superiority. He wants a god like status, but does not consider the consequences.

His power comes in the form of Mephastophilis, a servant of the devil who has to obey Faustus’s commands. Mephastophilis is also a tragic figure. He attempts to warn Faustus of the consequences of selling ones soul to the Devil and the eventual hell that waits, which in his case refers to Mephastophilis existence without the presence of God. Faustus in his naiveté chooses to ignore him as he believes hell to be a fable, and in this does not consider the result of his actions. Faustus’ conflicting nature is represented by the “good angel” and the “evil angel” which speak in his ear one casting doubts and the other encouraging him to sin. These make several appearances during the play and underline Faustus’ eternal doubts and decision making.

Some people are never satisfied


Initially, he is disappointed with the knowledge his power has granted him but the seduction is renewed as Lucifer presents him with the seven deadly sins. This fascinates Faustus, who likes this idea of hell and what it contains. It could be argued that Faustus is cheated. He has a small understanding of the realities of hell and initially believes it to be a fable. So when presented with the sins he believes these to be a manifestation of hells contents and likes the sound of it.

An often raised controversy about the play is: “Is Faustus the victim, Is he being sinned against?” I can see the origins of this speculation; he is coerced into his decision but it is ultimately his alone. Mephastophilis encourages him when he begins to waiver, though that is not till much later. Lucifer himself is the main entrapper. He presents Faustus with the seven deadly sins which delight him and convince him that this is the path but yet again he could just say no and repent, if he wished to. Is Faustus a sinner? I believe he is. Instead of using his ill begotten powers for the advancement of mankind he uses them for vain indulgence e.g playing a trick on the pope.

The summoning of Helen of Troy as sums up the play perfectly: Faustus’ Helen is the knowledge he took and the destruction of Troy is his condemnation to hell. This is a brilliant play with strong didactical roots that drew heavily on Icarus’s fall. I think a lot can be taken from this play.
Profile Image for BookHunter محمد.
1,433 reviews3,352 followers
November 5, 2022

- بايع يا باشا؟
- بايع يا معلم.
- مش تسأل الأول على كام
- يا عم انا بايع بايع مافيهاش كلام
- تبيع للشيطان؟ لإبليس؟!
- أبيع بشروطي
- هشهيصك. هلففك العالم و أزبطك يا مان و أخلي كل رغباتك في السلانكتيه
- اشطه يا مان يبقى معادنا يوم الخميس في عيد ميلاد ابليس

طبعا كان نفسي ابقى عميق بس مش قادر
المسرحية مباشرة جدا و واضحه وضوح الشمس كأنها للأطفال أو في إطار الموعظة الدينية
عن العالم الذي باع نفسه للشيطان مقابل تحقيق أهوائه و شهواته و لكنه عاش في عذاب ضميره حتى الممات

أدرك تماما أن المسرحية تمت كتابتها منذ عدة قرون و كنا نحن في هذا الجزء من العالم لا نعرف أصلا معنى المسرح و المسرحيات سواء كانت عميقة أو ساذجة و كانت معظم الفنون مجرّمة و محرّمة و لا زال بعضها كذلك في بعض البلدان حتى الأن.
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,286 followers
May 15, 2015
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 fights, and run-ins with the police.

3. As the old saying goes, write what you know. It might seem boring to you since it's your daily life, but trust me: people will be interested in ghosts and demons and figures from ancient history if you write about them honestly. As Hemingway said, "All you have to do is write one true iambic pentameter."

4. Be enigmatic. Try dying an early inexplicable death, or leaving no concrete evidence of your life. Get creative! Maybe put obscure clues about your real identity buried in famous publications. Oh, and don't forget, an ambiguous sexuality is always a plus!

5. Don't just entertain your readers, but your editors too! Make sure to leave multiple, contradictory copies of your plays after you die, so future editors can try to figure out which is the right one. Keep some differences small, just a few words here and there, and also make some big variations by cutting out or rearranging whole scenes. For extra fun, why not let a friend write a few bits of your plays?

6. Facial hair.

7. Either directly influence, personally know, be reputed to be, or best of all, actually be, William Shakespeare.
Profile Image for Kalliope.
691 reviews22 followers
February 16, 2016

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,
That shortly he was graced with doctor’s name.
Excelling all whose sweet delight disputes
In heavenly matters of theology

But he played with fire. Having attained the highest degree of erudition that an education in the temple of Cambridge could offer him, he wanted more. All the formal knowledge available was not sufficient. Marlowe turned to magic; he wanted to unveil the hidden and attain truth. He turned to the witchcraft of espionage – the truth in religion and the truth in power. He seems to have signed a pact with the secret service of Elizabeth I, at a time when religion was radioactive. He burnt himself even before he arrived, if he ever did, to Hell.

His waxen wings did mount above his reach,
And melting heavens conspired his overthrow.

It is both uncanny and remarkable and mystifying that Christopher Marlowe should have been attracted so easily to story of Faust. The original and anonymous German text had been first published in Frankfurt in 1587 and may have been translated into English as early as in 1588. Our writer may have encountered the original text either during his stay in the Continent or the translated version back in England. Either way, he was immediately fascinated by its story because it is thought that he was already working at his play as early 1588-89, even if it was not published until 1604, after his death. There are in fact two extant versions, unglamorously named A & B. The A is the one first printed and in 1616 the B version.

The latter is longer and therefore has material not present in A, but the earlier text also has some lines not present in the B version. Current scholarship holds the A text as the closest to Marlowe’s creation and the B as the result of modifications of subsequent productions.

I have read version A and watched a DVD with a production from 2009 filmed at the Greenwich Theatre in London and directed by Elizabeth Freestone. The performance is also based on version A, which surprised me given the more dramatic nature of the B text.

Of course Marlow took very many elements from the German text. The structure of the plot is very much the same, with similar episodes involving The Emperor Charles V, the Pope, etc... Mephastophilis (sic) is also in the guise of a friar, and even the names of some secondary characters, such as Faust’s servant Wagner, are maintained as well.

But this is a work by Marlowe and it shows.

As a play that combines both prose and blank verse it has been dramatized into a form that follows, loosely, the tradition of the morality plays. This means that there is a fair amount of humour. Some scenes are unreservedly funny, and the best is the ridiculously popish Pope and the hilarious visit of the invisible Faust when with a series of silly tricks he and Mephistopheles disconcert the Roman curia. Apart from parody, there is also slapstick and clownish characters, and the audience certainly laughed out loud in the Freestone production when the desired bride for Faustus lifts her skirts and reveals muscular and hairy legs and a moving hip that thrusts forward its codpiece.

Marlowe’s signature is also felt in the importance given to debates, and he knows well the power of language (Be silent then, for danger is in words). As a master in argumentation, he plays with the traps of dialogue and embroilment in logical thinking.

Scholar – Where is your master?
Wagner - God in heaven knows.

Scholar – Why dost not thou know?
Wagner – Yes, I know, but that follows not.

Marlowe’s Disputatio abilities had of course been trained in Latin.

(Bene disserere est finis logices)
Is to dispute well logic’s chiefest end?

(Si peccase Negamus, fallimur
Et nulla est in nobis veritas).
If we say that we have no sin,
We deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us.
Why then belike, we must sin,
And so consequently die.

His logistical gymnastics and his passion for knowledge also approach him, dangerously, to an understanding of astrology that is not too divine. Again, we see Marlowe through his Faust when he questions the Devil’s envoy and the latter cannot give an explanation to the retrograde motion of the planets. The still Ptolemaic earth was very near its end.

(Faust) - Tush, these slender trifles Wagner can decide.
Hath Mephastophilis no greater skill?
Who knows not the double motion of the planets?
The first is finished in a natural day,
The second thus, as Saturn in thirty years,
Jupiter in twelve, Mars in four, the sun, Venus and Mercury in a year, the moon in twenty-eight days.

But it is in the ambiguity in his treatment of religion in Doctor Faust where we feel the mark of Christopher Marlowe. In dealing with Destiny and Free will, he offers us a Faust who was, from the very beginning, doomed. And his despair and rebellion at God’s deafness in his last request for Salvation was a modification by Marlowe of the original Faust.

O God,
If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul,
Yet for Christ’s sake, whose blood hath ransomed me,
Impose some end to my incessant pain.
Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,
A hundred thousand, and at last be saved.

And as a gift to delight my readers, you shall have:

Mephistopheles: I’ll fetch him somewhat to delight his mind (Act 2.1)

Profile Image for Tawfek d'ARC.
2,723 reviews2,128 followers
October 1, 2023
اولًا سبب قرائتي للمسرحية و بالسرعة دي
انا في الغالب باجل الاعمال اللي عارف انها حلوة قوي للاخر
بس دكتور فاوستس كانت بتطاردني فعلًا من اول القصة المصورة اللي عرضها نيل جايمان وسط سلسلة the sandman اللي بتتعلق بشكسبير
و كريستوفر مارلو
و الكلام الكتير اللي اصحابي اللي درسوا ادب انجليزي قالوه عنها و عن كريستوفر
لاخيرًا مسلسل انمي كان مستخدم اسم دكتور فاوستس و كمان استخدم اسم مفيستو فيليس اللي اثار فضولي لانها مش اول مره اسمع اسم مفيستو فيليس و لما دورت علي المعني لقيته برضه تبع دكتور فاوستس.
لا يوجد مفر يا سادة لازم اقراها طالما المسرحية مؤثرة علي العديد من الاعمال الادبية و الفنية بالشكل ده
ثانيًا نتكلم عن المسرحية.
من الواضح جدًا ان المسرحية فعلًا كاتبها شخصين
كريستوفر مارلو مختص بالمسرحية
و كاتب مسرحي في الغالب مغمور مهتم بكتابة النص الكوميدي اللي بيتعرض بين المشاهد
عندي تحفظ علي الترجمة و هو ان المترجم فضل انه يترجم حرفيًَا تعبيرات مش موجوده في لغتنا خالص
��لمفروض كان يقرب بين النص الاصلي و اللغة اللي بيترجم ليها
المسرحية من اروع ما قرات و لكن ليست الاروع.
و حسب كلام المحرر و المترجم ده النص ب من المسرحية و يعتقدوا انه النص الاكمل بس انا اظن ان النص ا هو النص الاصيل لكريستوفر مارلو و اتمني اقراه مترجم يومًا ما.
Profile Image for Nikos Tsentemeidis.
413 reviews216 followers
December 2, 2018
Ο Δόκτωρ Φάουστους αναφέρεται στον πασίγνωστο μύθο, γνωστότερο από τον Φάουστ του Γκαίτε (220 χρόνια μετά).

Ο Marlowe γεννήθηκε το 1564 στην Αγγλία, την ίδια χρονιά με τον Σαίξπηρ και 6 χρόνια από έναν ακόμα θεατρικό, τον Thomas Kyd, δείγμα της σπουδαίας θεατρικής παράδοσης των Άγγλων. Σημαντικός λοιπόν, σε καμία περίπτωση όμως δεν φτάνει τον μέγιστο Σαίξπηρ.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,067 reviews1,762 followers
January 17, 2018
سوژه ى داستان بسيار عالى و جذابه:
دكتر فاستوس، دانشمندى دينى، كه همه ى علوم زمانه ى خود را به كمال آموخته و در راه تحصيل و تدريس پير شده است، شبى پى مى برد كه تمام تلاش يك عمرش بيهوده بوده و هيچ طرفى از تحصيل اين علوم بر نبسته است.
در نتيجه، طى معامله اى با شيطان، ح��ضر مى شود كه روح خود را بدو بفروشد و در مقابل، بيست سال در آسايش و تنعم تمام و با قدرت و دانشى بى نهايت زندگى كند. قرار داد را با خون خويش نوشته، امضا مى كند و بدين ترتيب، برده ى حلقه به گوش شيطان مى گردد.
پتانسيل سرشارى داره اين سوژه و ميشه ماجراهاى رعب انگيز و گوتيك مهيجى ازش در آورد، كه نمايشنامه به جاش ماجراهاى ساده و گاه كودكانه اى رو روايت كرده. البته به مقتضاى تاريخ نوشته شدن اثر طبيعيه، ولى خب ما نمايشنامه هاى يوناى بى نظيرى داريم كه خيلى قديمى تر هستن.
حالا بايد فاوست گوته رو هم بخونم و مقايسه كنم.
Profile Image for Ivana Books Are Magic.
523 reviews201 followers
November 1, 2019
Dr. Faustus is the only Marlowe's play that I reread periodically. I remember being blown away with it the first time I read years ago (back in Uni) and it stayed with with over the years. I still consider it to be his best play. Its complexity lies in its wonderful ambiguity. Marlowe asked some revolutionary questions in this one. This Elizabethan playwright was not afraid to tackle scientific, theological and human questions. The legend of Doctor Faustus gave flight to his imagination and his play is the only preserved first dramatization of it that we know of.

Based on a German legend (and possibly a lost play), the plot of Dr. Faustus is pretty straightforward and simple. Marlowe didn't come up with the story/the concept himself, nor did he focus much on the plot. Marlowe is not the best dramatist in terms of developing a story and timing it perfectly, but his verse is always potent with meaning. As a playwright, Marlowe is visibly influenced by the classics. Moreover, he focuses primarily on philosophical and intellectual questions. Marlowe made the legend of Faustus interesting by introducing interesting moral dilemmas and ambiguity. He infused curiosity for knowledgeable into his protagonist, making him more complex than just a power hungry men. Faustus' intellectual cravings, his classical education and scientific questioning make him a typical Renaissance man. Marlowe was just the man to write such an intriguing play, being a very educated man with a troubled relationship with religion himself. Indeed, Marlowe breathed much complexity into this tale. The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is a beautifully written play that stands the test of time well.

For me personally, the most memorable lines in the play are the following:

“Mephistopheles: Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?”

The play stroke me as a bit unusual in that it seems to be most powerful at its beginning, but that might be for a reason. Throughout the play, there are many references to hell. It was quite bold of Marlowe to insist that hell is a state of mind, I would say. Not something preached at the churches of the time (or at the moment).

“Mephistopheles: Within the bowels of these elements,
Where we are tortured and remain forever.
Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place, for where we are is hell,
And where hell is must we ever be.
And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,
All places shall be hell that is not heaven.”

Profile Image for Andrew Breslin.
Author 3 books69 followers
April 27, 2012
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 back and watch the Stratfordians and Oxfordians have at it like Hatfields and McCoys, but with more teeth. And of course there's always the big question: Ben Jonson or Thomas Kyd: who would win in a fight?

Get your scholars good and liquored up, to lubricate the evening's intellectual exchange. Soon they'll be hurling invective, recriminations, and, with any luck, rare 18th century editions of John Fletcher. And when the dust settles and all those who have not been beaten into an over-educated paste agree on the obvious: that Jonson would kick Kyd's ass, and that the entire Oxfordian school is a bunch of elitist snobs, the remaining conscious academics might groggily opine as to whether Shakespeare's contemporaries were every bit the genius he was, but with bad PR. And I'm chiming in to say that while they may have been very good, Bill is still the best.

Dr. Faustus is, even after over four centuries, still an entertaining and thought-provoking play. In contrast, I myself expect that in another few decades I will be fertilizer. So it's stood the test of time very well indeed, but I'll never read it again, nor would I be especially excited if a theater-troupe were planning a production in my area, except for the opportunity to dress up all diabolical and really fuck with people leaving the show. Ha. That would be fun. But unless I actually knew someone in the performance, I don't think I'd buy a ticket.

It's a great story, of course. Classic. Deep. Timeless. This was centuries before modern liberal scientists jettisoned their principles and took jobs with the Pentagon, or Kurt Cobain signed a record deal with a major label. The deep metaphorical significance of selling one's soul still resonates today. But Marlowe didn't invent the story any more than Shakespeare invented his. Both of them were adept at taking what were already classic tales back in the 16th century, and giving them a modern retelling. And once Shakespeare retold a tale, nobody ever had the chutzpah to try to tell it again, even in German. But get that Marlowe defender in a room with a Goethe scholar, and then subtly raise the question of who best told the Faust tale. Oooh, there's gonna be a fight. Excellent. This is more fun than putting incompatible insects in a jar.

So, for the record, in my own ever-humble opinion, for what it's worth, just speaking for myself here: I thought this was very good, but not sublimely magnificent. That's my position and I'm sticking to it. You might disagree. I have a full bottle of whiskey, which I'm willing to share. Want to fight about it?

Profile Image for Calista.
4,077 reviews31.3k followers
October 9, 2017
This is the famous story of Faustus making a deal with the devil and losing his eternal soul. The commentary talks about this as the transition work from Middle ages to the Renaissance from contemplating God to the age of reason.

I have to say, I enjoy Shakespeare more than Marlowe, yet maybe I'm not used to his style is the issue. The story is simple and it has become a standard that is still used today. Everyone knows this story even if they have never read or seen this play.

This is great to read for the Halloween season. I don't know that I really enjoyed it and I'm not sure you are supposed to enjoy it. I feel like this is supposed to scare you into doing good. I don't really think that is the best way to find good. Good needs to flow from the Heart and not from fear of hell.

This is a classic and I am all for people reading classics. So give this a read. It really wasn't my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Pink.
537 reviews503 followers
May 30, 2017
So much more enjoyable than I expected. A breeze to read, that worked well on paper and gave me plenty of laughs. What more could I want?
Profile Image for Fernando.
685 reviews1,127 followers
May 20, 2020
"Ea, ¿Por qué lloras? Es ya demasiado tarde. Desespérate pues. Adiós. Los locos que ríen en la Tierra, deben llorar en el Infierno."

Siempre tuvo una atracción fuerte en mí la historia de Fausto en sus distintas formas. Como es de esperar con este personaje, usualmente se comienza con el más famoso libro de Goethe hasta ir conociendo otras versiones de esta trágica historia. Si bien me falta leer el Doktor Faustus de Thomas Mann, no creo que el argumento cambie mucho entre todas estas obras si sumamos estas das dos que leí de Christopher Marlowe y Estanislao del Campo, es por ello que las reseñas de ambos libros contenidos en un solo volumen serán cortas.

La trágica historia del Dr. Fausto, de Christopher Marlowe

Escrita por Marlowe entre 1588 y 1593 tiene un argumento casi igual al Fausto de Goethe con la salvedad de que no es Mefistófeles quien le ofrece su servicios a Fausto sino al revés: es el Dr. Fausto quien utilizando sus prácticas de magia negra y ocultismo decide venderle su alma a Lucifer para conseguir la sabiduría universal y de este modo convertirse en un hombre omnipotente pero con fecha de caducidad. Su vida terminará a sus prontos 24 años, cuando al primer minuto de la medianoche su alma pase a ser propiedad del Diablo, arrastrándolo a las fauces del Averno.
Pero antes de que todo eso suceda, Fausto dará rienda suelta a todo tipo de vicios y gustos, haciendo fechorías contra el Papa, libertando revolucionarios y mezclándose con la corte del Emperador de Alemania, todo esto secundado por un perversísimo Mefistófeles, siempre a la orden de sus más bajos deseos.
La obra de teatro es bastante corta, se lee rápidamente y desfilan por ella un sinfín de personajes como los nombrados, además de ángeles buenos, ángeles malos, taberneros, pajes, estudiantes, cortesanos y reyes. Es en resumen una obra muy agradable con un final por todos conocidos, pero que no deja de ser tan afín a los que amamos la literatura clásica.
Al fin y al cabo, es la lucha del bien contra el mal el motivo por el cual se han escrito tantas obras en la historia de la literatura con sus correspondientes ganadores y perdedores.

El Fausto criollo, de Estanislao del Campo

Estanislao del Campo es considerado uno de los iniciadores del Romanticismo en la Argentina, luego de haberse interesado en la lectura de los grandes pioneros europeos en dicho movimiento literario.
Este libro, SU Fausto, es uno de los más renombrados en el género de la literatura gauchesca argentina.
En él, el gaucho Anastasio el Pollo le cuenta a su cuñado Laguna sus impresiones luego de ver la obra teatral de Gounod en el mismísimo Teatro Colón, inspirada en la obra homónima de Goethe.
¡Me pareció muy divertida la forma en la que Anastasio se cree lo que pasa en el escenario!
Para él, el actor se encuentra con el Diablo en persona. De a poco, le va contando todas las vicisitudes que sufre el "dotor" debido a su mal de amores, que intenta solucionar en el pacto que sella con Mefistófeles para conseguir su objetivo.
Todo el poema está escrito con los modismos propios del gaucho que galopaba la pampa argentina allá por 1866.
El Fausto de Del Campo, junto con Don Segundo Sombra de Ricardo Güiraldes y nuestro Quijote, que es el eterno Martín Fierro de José Hernández, son los tres libros indispensables a leer para todo aquel que se enorgullezca de ser argentino.
Profile Image for Inkspill.
412 reviews40 followers
November 18, 2018
This is review is of Text A, published in 1604 – and is shorter than Text B. The latter is thought to have scenes added by other writers, where some believe it is not the authentic play. This is written a couple of centuries before Goethe’s version. From my background reading I learnt that Marlowe’s play is the closest to the original German one, Faustbook, that was written a few years earlier.

Marlowe’s Faustus is a student of magic, he exceeds his peer’s knowledge, he is smarter and sharper than them but he wants more, so he sells his soul to the devil for 24 years of good living. At first, he’s pleased with himself, but his conscience niggles at him (as Good Angel and Bad Angel argue it out). When he reneges on the deal Lucifer appears and entices him back with the seven deadly sins. Happy now, with the devil’s servant’s aid, Mephistopheles, he gets to travel. He also enjoys the respect and admiration of other scholars. As the years pass, and the time for him to leave for hell gets closer, he craves to see Helen of Troy knowing his fate his sealed, he says:
Was this the face that launched a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. [Kisses her.]
Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies!—
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for Heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.

Before Faustus parts, he regrets his thirst for knowledge and understands too late that life is better and richer without knowledge.

At times, the reading of this play is as intense as its premise but Marlowe breaks it up with comical characters and scenes. It comes across as a morality play as the Chorus thickly lay how knowledge is bad. I also thought it mocked Catholicism, Faustus on his travels spooks the Pope, Mephistopheles (the devil’s servant) has made Faustus invisible, so the Pope thinks that there is a bad spirit in the room and scurries out. This play was performed for Elizabethan audiences in Protestant England. I had heard of this play before reading it, but I had been under the impression that it was only about a man who sells his soul to the devil, to discover that it’s a complex story is a surprise.

Now I have finally read this play, I plan to read Goethe’s version of Faustus or Faust soon.

I've now read the first part of Goethe's Faust, briefly, it was a different experience, more posted here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,361 reviews795 followers
October 19, 2015
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 time. Looking back from my first of two quarters of community college needed before I return to the more auspicious campus, a novel would call it foreshadowing, human lives would call it perspective, and all I can think is my younger self would never have considered me a plausible future. I take comfort in the fact that coming this far was possible, but the thought of that past state of mind is still painful.

Between that 2011 pleasure reading and this 2015 academic one, my contextual skills went up, my trust in authority went down, and my writing improved if grades are anything to go by. While I'm very glad that Shakespeare is finally approaching the assigned reading stage, I now see the appeal of Marlowe beyond the his game changing repute of centuries past. This second reading left me far more amused, decently impressed, and a great deal more unsettled, for if my own reunion with the text is full of eerie coincidences, Marlowe's end makes his composition nigh prophetic. While one could stick with a universal meaning of the inevitability of death, Marlowe could have also made his Faustus less proud, less intelligent, and less probing of the veil between our mortal lives and everlasting damnation. Combine this with prose, comedy, and what must have been some really phantasmagorical stagings, and you have a recipe for the most addictive terror since the Oedipus Trilogy. Add in Marlowe's fate, and you have immortality.

My prof who assigned this jokingly said this was a warning to us English Lit majors to not get too full of ourselves in thinking we know everything. For me, after finally figuring out what breed of work seamlessly transitions into my effort to live, that way of thinking is a kind of death. Others can have their name dropping and their literary claims to fame; I have books to read and things to write and a hard-earned future to make use of.


(11/17/11 Review)

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.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
509 reviews90 followers
September 11, 2022
نمایشنامه دکتر فاستوس نوشته مارلو در سال ۱۶۰۴ نوشته و منتشر شده. منبع الهام مارلو برای خلق این نمایشنامه‌ اول یک کتاب به نام «تاریخ شهدا» اثر «جان فاکس» بوده که در سال ۱۵۶۳ منتشر شده؛ و دیگری زندگی نامه «جان دی» دانشمند و منجم انگلیسی بود که جادوگری ، احضار ارواح و کیمیاگری می‌کرده و به اجنه اعتقاد داشته. خوده این نمایشنامه مارلو بعدها بارها مورد اقتباس قرار گرفت و وقتی به دست آقای گوته رسید، اون با اضافه کردن یک لحن حماسی و بیان شاعرانه تر به اثر اولیه، از این نمایشنامه فولکور شاهکاری ادبی به اسم فاووست رو خلق کرد.
خود شخصیت دکتر فاستوس_ بعنوان دانشمند و منجم و آدمی که تردستی و خرق عادت میکرده_ هم ظاهراً وجود حقیقی داشته، اسناد و مدارکی توی تاریخ پیدا شده که وجودش رو اثبات میکنه و حتی کتابی هم ازش نوشته شده بوده که قبل از نمایشنامه مارلو توی انگلستان چاپ شده بود.
اما اهمیت نمایشنامه دکتر فاستوس در چیه ؟ در اینه که مارلو یکی از هفت دانشمند انگلیسی در قرن شانزدهمه که نمایشنامه نویسی نوین در انگلستان رو بنیان گذاشتن. کاری که مارلو کرد این بود که با بکار گرفتن شعر بی قافیه، سبک سنتی نمایشنامه نویسی رو دگرگون کرد. این سبک بعدها هم توسط شکسپیر ادامه پیدا کرد و تکمیل شد.
این نمایشنامه رو طی یک همخوانی با سعید خوندم، البته توی این لحظه هنوز نظرات ایشون رو درباره کتاب نشنیدم :))
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,813 reviews319 followers
April 23, 2017
To Dance with the Devil
24 January 2014

Well it looks like my commentary is going to disappear among the hundred or so other commentaries that have appeared on Goodreads in relation to this magnificent play. Okay, poor old Marlowe has unfortunately not just been overshadowed by Shakespeare within the theatre circuit of Elizabethan England (that is if he wasn't Shakespeare in the first place – gee that's just opened up a huge can of worms) …

Anyway, as I was saying, it wasn't enough that as a playwright he was overshadowed by Shakespeare (and then proceeded to find himself on the wrong side of a knife in a bar fight) but two hundred years down the track, Goethe rather unthoughtfully decides to also write a play based around exactly the same character, though with a somewhat different theme, and ends up stealing all of the lime light. Oh well, as they say, shit happens.

Anyway, the question that nobody has asked and probably isn’t even thinking of asking, is 'who is this guy name Dr Faustus?' Okay, ignoring the obvious, he's the guy who happened to sell his soul to the devil (and got a rather poor deal out of it in the long rung) for knowledge and power (read to become a sorcerer), at least according to this place:

There are a number of characters to whom it could relate, including the business partner of Gutenberg (you know, the guy that invented the printing press and in turn proceeded to change the world in a way that very few people in history have done) but the one that many people seem to agree on is some guy named, guess what, Dr Johan Faust who happened to be a magician and an alchemist who lived in Germany (where the story originated). Whether this guy sold his soul to the devil or not is another story.

I have actually had the pleasure of seeing this play performed (which is a treat in itself since not many Elizabethan plays that are not Shakespeare are performed) at the Globe in London, and then saw it again when the film version of the play (ie the play was filmed and then shipped around the world) came to Melbourne for a limited time. I was glad that I had the opportunity to see the film because I missed the first 45 minutes of the play when I got the times mixed up, but at least I got to see the play (rather than having to deal with the 'sorry you're late, doors are closed, now fuck off'). I'm going to have to see if I can make my way to Stratford upon Avon the next time I am in England (though I am unsure when that is going to be, and if it is actually going to happen).

Well, it seems that I haven't actually got to talking about the meat of the play, though I must suggest that when I first read it I considered this to be the perfect example of a tragic hero. In a way it seems to me that what The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus could be a template of a tragedy and a tragic hero. The reason that I say that is that it is not because the play is necessarily a bad play, but it is not complex in the same way that some of Shakespeare's great tragedies are complex. Faustus is actually a very simple and straight forward character, though he does develop as the play progresses, but his development is merely based on the fact that as the play progresses he gets ever closer to the inevitable doom that he had set up for himself by making a deal with the devil. At first it appears that he is having fun, though one needs to question whether he is actually having fun. Take for instance where the first thing he desires is a wife but it is denied him. Why? Simple – a wife and marriage is a gift from God, and as becomes clear at the beginning of the play any speculation or discussion about God and the things of God is forbidden to Faustus, which means that despite the pact the one thing that the devil can not provide to him is a good and faithful wife. Instead all he gets are whores and phantoms.

Having read the play twice and seen it performed twice I am not convinced that Dr Faustus is doomed from the beginning. I believe that throughout the play Marlowe has provided a way out for Faustus, and this is seen with regards to the appearances of the good and evil angels and the debates over whether his soul has been saved. However, even when he does decide to take the way out, he is always approached by Mephistopheles or even Lucifer and lured back into the path of damnation. It is only at the end that he has filled his head with the lie that due to the pact and due to his actions that he is entirely doomed, and even then the good angels say otherwise.

Plotwise, as suggested, this play is very basic in structure, and in a way there are only two plots running through the play and they do not necessarily support each other. Basically we have the serious plot in relation to Dr Faustus, and then we have the comic plot that involves his servants attempting to follow in his footsteps and making a complete botch out of it. The other thing about the version of the play that I have read, which differs from other plays that I have read from that period, is that it has not been divided into the traditional Elizabethan five acts. In fact the play does not seem to even use the act and scene structure, and I have attempted to search the internet to see if that is just my edition or whether that is the case for all of the versions, and of the two that I looked at it seems that the edition that I read (from a small hard cover book called 'The Complete Plays of Christopher Marlowe’) is the standard.

People seem to have made comment on the Helen of Troy part of the play. I note that one of the commentators has compared Helen to Jackie Onasis (who had the distinction of being married to a shipping magnate, which is why he compared her to Helen), but I was always under the impression that this woman:

would have been more in line with the tag of 'the most beautiful woman in the world', though rumour has it that she did end up sharing something with Jackie Onasis, and it didn't involve launching ships. Anyway, that is beside the point because my understanding of the Helen of Troy aspect is that she was little more than a ghost. I remember the version that I saw performed and Helen did not come on stage as an actress but rather as a massive puppet, which to me adds to the idea that the whole scene was little more than an illusion, another of the lies that Lucifer had bedazzled Dr Faustus with.

This is the idea that I wish to finish the commentary with, and that is the idea that any deal with the devil, such as Faustus', is never going to come out the way that one wants it to come out. Dr Faustus made the deal because he was board and he wanted more power and more knowledge. He had basically reached the pinnacle of his learning ability for the time, and was not satisfied, so he stepped out to seek more, and because he could not attain more within his human limitations, he had to make a deal with somebody that he believe that could deliver, and that was Lucifer. However, as it turns out, and we see his torments and struggles at the end as his time on Earth comes to a close (the deal meant that he knew exactly when he was going to die) that he realised that the deal was a mistake, and that all of that knowledge and power has come to naught. Notice that throughout the play Faustus doesn't actually have any friends. In fact the only person whom Faustus seems to communicate with is Mephistopheles, and even then Mephistopheles becomes less and less of a companion as the play progresses and more and more of the antagonist.
Profile Image for Forrest.
Author 43 books740 followers
January 23, 2013
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 is less bawdy than that of Shakespeare's plays, by and large, and the melodrama is overwrought. Also, Doctor Faustus is, by the end, downright pedantic, and while Shakespeare had no fear of moralizing, his sermons were quite a bit more restrained than the typical medieval (or Renaissance) "Everyman" dramas.

Still, if one can recognize the religiously-condescending tone as a product of its age, there is a lot to like here. I'm particularly enamored of Doctor Faustus' dark sense of humor that demeans, rather than destroys, his enemies. With the power granted him through the devil, Mephistopheles, one might expect Faustus to simply run rampant over the earth laying waste to all those who find themselves in his path. Instead, Faustus shows a (twisted) humor by planting stag horns on those that have tried to kill him in order to shame them in front of their fellow man. He could have just snuffed them out of existence, with Mephistopheles' help, but loves to use magic to taunt his enemies rather than eliminate them.

And this may be why Faustus is simultaneously so darned likeable and abhorrent. He has access to infinite power, yet squanders it on such things as making the Pope and his cardinals play the fool. He's like a child with far more power than he knows what to do with. And, like an indecisive child who can hardly help his own bad behavior, he figures out, in the end, through the good grace of Helen of Troy, that he has gone too far for his regret to save him from the price he has agreed to pay for his fun. Rather than feeling that Faustus gets his just desserts, I'm inclined to feel a bit of sympathy for the guy whose blasphemy and denial of God seemed more like a joke than a true refutation of divinity. Then again, I would likely have been burned at the stake for saying so back in Marlowe's, or is it Shakespeare's day?
Profile Image for Carmo.
667 reviews472 followers
January 23, 2021
"Fiz uma escritura com o meu próprio sangue e o termo acabou.

E há de ficar no Inferno para sempre. No Inferno... oh, no Inferno!"
Profile Image for Andrei Tamaş.
438 reviews292 followers
March 13, 2016
Tragica poveste a Doctorului Faustus are în centru setea de cunoaştere, dorinţa de a trece peste anumite etape ale cunoaşterii pentru a atinge cunoaşterea absolută, ceea ce atrage după sine falsificarea eticii de baza a omului. Setea de cunoaştere a stăpânit întotdeauna spiritele iniţiate, ştiinţa fiind ca un drog, iar sevrajul -ca în opera- atrage după sine "soluţia finală": pactul cu ideaticele forţe ale răului.
Redată într-un univers alegoric, opera nu fixează o acţiune anume, ci, la nivel ideatic, exprimă tragedia cunoaşterii, conceptele de moarte, veşnicie, bine sau rău cristalizate pe o bază mistico-religioasă, de factură creştină...
Prima scriere a lui Marlowe (1564-1593) m-a câştigat de partea-i. Acum, când i-am notat anii de viaţă, am realizat că a trăit doar 29 de ani. Multora le-ar fi insuficiente zece vieţi pentru a avea -chiar şi la nivel ideatic- tăria de a scrie o operă de o asemenea valoare!

"Când, iată, aripile lui de ceară,
Umflate de ştiinţă şi trufie,
S-au avântat prea mult şi s-au topit."

"Pe-atâta sunt de hotărât, mă crede,
Pe cât eşti hotărât tu să trăieşti."
Profile Image for T.R. Preston.
Author 4 books126 followers
June 24, 2021
Reread update:

Once again I am impressed. This was perhaps even more interesting the second time around. The writing itself is still worth the price of admission. Certain passages of dialogue are extremely well put together.

Original Review:

I discovered this play only recently. For whatever reason I figured I'd pick it up and give it a try. It was so short I blew through it in one sitting. I can say I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was an interesting tale. Faustus sells his soul to Lucifer for power, only living to regret it once his time is spent (as characters like him usually do in these kinds of stories).

I'd say this is well worth a read. The writing is great and the characterization is crisp. It's no Shakespeare, in my humble opinion, but it's a quality play.
Profile Image for Francesca   kikkatnt.
275 reviews6 followers
August 8, 2021
Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight.

Una pièce teatrale bellissima. La lettura non sarà mai pari alla riproduzione, che mi piacerebbe vedere almeno una volta nella vita.
L'eterna lotta tra il bene e il male. La seducente bramosia di avere il mondo ai propri piedi in vita, pagandone lo scotto con Lucifero per l'eternità.
Cosa avremmo deciso al posto di Faust se ci fosse presentata l'occasione?
Devo dire che io, personalmente, ne sarei non poco tentata ^^.
Profile Image for Jovana Autumn.
588 reviews178 followers
May 6, 2021
FAUSTUS:”If we say that we have no sin,
We deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us."

In order to decently understand the tragedy of Faustus, one must try to understand the time it was written – the time of Humanism and Renaissance.

In the 16th century, there was quite a transition from the medieval to humanist time, instead of a religious figure an average human was the main interest, art was freer, one could write about a man and his emotional struggle between the otherworldly and worldly or say; about seeing a woman on the window (Petrarch and other sonnet writers).

One was free to explore the limits of knowledge, universities have been opened all around Europe where one was allowed to study Studia humanitatis (grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, philosophy, Latin, and Greek) and rise in society with his own hard work and knowledge.
Faust himself presents a man who has learned all there is to learn and his ambition for more knowledge is a force that drives him to his end.

At one point, knowledge became a tool for gaining more power so Faustus wants not only the knowledge for himself but the power that comes along with it: Like Wagner who feels satisfaction by compelling Robin to do whatever he wants, so does Faust in doing his demonstrations of power like summoning Helen of Troy and Alexander the Great or pulling tricks on the pope.

Ah, the beauty of a bargain is that it is only beneficial towards one side of, in most cases .
Marlowe has a few bargains in his tragedy, besides the main one, there is the one with a horse-courser and the one between Wagner and Robin, needless to say, they all end in one side severely benefiting and the other being deceived.

This play has that economical element while mirroring the redemption Jesus Christ made for the sins of humans, Faust does the complete opposite with his deal with the devil, talk about a bad bargain.

Speaking of the devil, Marlowe has given Hell a rich image: Mephistopheles as a devil’s minister, Lucifer as the ruler of hell, Belzebub, the parade of seven deadly sins – which served to highlight how Faustus has gone deep into sin that he doesn’t even recognize himself in them (pride, lechery), I have to highlight that this scene was one of the most grotesque and comical ones from the play, take this stanza:

SLOTH: "I am Sloth. I was begotten on a sunny bank, where I have lain ever since, and you have done me great injury to bring me from thence. Let me be carried thither again by Gluttony and Lechery. I’ll not speak another word for a king’s ransom."

Written in the blank verse following an iambic pentameter, Doctor Faustus has a melodious tone – making both comical and tragical scenes pleasant to the ear. I can only imagine how well it translates in theatre, take for example this dialogue:

FAUSTUS:”First will I question with thee about hell.
Tell me, where is the place that men call hell?"
MEPHISTOPHELES:"Under the heavens."
FAUSTUS:"Ay, but whereabout?"
MEPHISTOPHELES:"Within the bowels of these elements,
Where we are tortured and remain for ever.
Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place, for where we are is hell,
And where hell is must we ever be.
And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,
All places shall be hell that is not heaven."
FAUSTUS:"Come, I think hell’s a fable."
MEPHISTOPHELES:"Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.”

Was Faust saved in the end? Giving in to his temptation, listening to the Evil angel and the Devils, he seems to be always on the cusp of redemption but changes his mind at the last minute. The chorus in the epilogue presents a pessimistic view:

CHORUS:”Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
And burnèd is Apollo’s laurel bough
That sometime grew within this learnèd man.
Faustus is gone. Regard his hellish fall,
Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise
Only to wonder at unlawful things,
Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits
To practise more than heavenly power permits.”

The question arises, can somebody sin as much that there is no redemption after? Take, for example, the devil himself, Lucifer, presented here as a ruler of hell. His sin was similar in nature to the sin of Faustus, he too wanted to have limitless power and knowledge, placing himself above all. There was this verse that made me wonder, is hell predestined for a certain type of people (quite a Calvinistic view and Calvinism was on the rise at the time):

"Stay, Mephistopheles, and tell me, what good will my soul do thy lord?"
MEPHISTOPHELES:"Enlarge his kingdom."
FAUSTUS:"Is that the reason he tempts us thus?"
MEPHISTOPHELES:"Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris."(Solace of the wretched is to have companions of pain/It is a comfort to the wretched to have companions in misery ).

Marlowe has created a memorable play about the dangers of unlimited knowledge and power, about how sin only leads to sin, and even if we do realize that what we are doing is harmful to us, we continue to do so because the mere thought of redemption is overshadowed by the appeal of continuing being omnipotent – it takes quite a strength of character to renounce our own power.

His portrayal of Faustus is a less complex one than I have read in Goethe’s take on the trope but nonetheless, it is still a valid representation of humanity, one that I plan on returning to in the future; and Marlowe turned out to be way more fun to read than I thought he would be, excited to read his other work.
Nothing like reading a 16th. century Faustian bargain play at 5AM. Review to come.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,108 reviews749 followers
April 1, 2022
The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is an Elizabethan era play (circa 1592) based on German stories about the title character Faust who sold his soul to the devil. In the beginning of the play Faust seems to envision a future of world domination if given the powers of the devil. But once he has those powers he fritters them off on silly things such as playing tricks on the Pope while Faust is invisible. This of course probably played well to the Protestant Elizabethan English audience.

It's worth noting that Faust was a Doctor of Theology, so he was well equipped for this exchange. I suppose that the play contains a morality lesson, but I'm not sure what it is. It is difficult to understand why an opportunity to play tricks on the Pope would be worth going to Hell.

There is one place in the play where Faust asks his escort devil what Hell is like. The answer is that it is the absence of God. Well, based on that definition Faust is already in Hell when he asked the question.

I'm not perceptive enough to glean further morality lessons from this play.
Profile Image for عماد العتيلي.
Author 8 books572 followers
December 5, 2015
“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 for forbidden knowledge. Faustus committed that very same sin. He made a deal with Lucifer and ate voraciously from the tree of knowledge. However, we should ask ourselves: What is forbidden knowledge?

I believe that forbidden knowledge is that kind of knowledge that makes us feel superior to others. The knowledge that inspires us to treat people as if we were gods, and they are our slaves. Francis Bacon once wrote: “Knowledge is power” and I think it is clear that craving for power was the one and only motivator for Faustus's handing his soul over to the devil. But here's the rub: in order to gain that power, Faustus has to give it all away—to Lucifer. Ultimately, the power Faustus dreamt of could never be his. That is what Faustus didn’t understand. That is the reason behind Faustus’s suffering all through the play.

The everlasting struggle between good and evil in Doctor Faustus clearly represents the fact of the human vulnerability. The idea of Good and Bad Angels in Doctor Faustus indicates that we all are both good and evil. the Good angel represents Faustus's desire to repent, and the Bad Angel, his desire to keep right on sinning. Unfortunately, this fierce battle between good and evil within all of us will never end, and this woeful fact is reflected in life itself.


Through all of Faustus’s travels, Faustus just could not escape the subject of religion. Yet while religion follows him, step-by-step on his slow journey to eternal damnation, we cannot help but think that Faustus never gets how important religion really is in his life, or the role it will eventually play in the fate of his soul. Nevertheless, I think that Faustus’s religious indifference is partly justifiable.

When we study history, we understand how cruel and pitiless the church was. Christianity in the 17th century showed deep conflict. The Age of Enlightenment grew to challenge Christianity as a whole, generally elevated human reason above divine revelation. This conflict is highly reflected in Doctor Faustus, and it took so many forms.

The most frequent form of conflict with religion represented in Doctor Faustus was Faustus’s desperation of God’s forgiveness. I believe that religious institutions were highly responsible for this. They encouraged people’s desperation by being so selfish and power thirsty and by portraying God, not as a merciful and loving God, but as a vengeful and blood thirsty God. I think that this particular kind of conflict is a recurring pattern that exists in all religions: a grandeur idea with loathsome and revolting interpretations.


We are vulnerable, weak, and pathetic human beings, we commit sins and we have a deep and hidden passion for the forbidden. In my opinion, we should not damn Faustus because of what he did. Nevertheless, we should read Faustus as if we were reading ourselves. That is the beauty and the importance of literature, it confronts us with our real selves and it gives us the opportunity to experience the consequences of our parallel-selves’ mistakes and to learn from them.

In Act IV Scene V, When Faustus said: “What art thou Faustus, but a man condemned to die?” he was not actually talking to himself; rather he was talking to us – readers. We were born, we live, and eventually we will die. Therefore, we should listen to Faustus and learn from him instead of cursing him.

I believe that Faustus's fall has been caused by his choice to believe that he's damned. That causes him to refuse to repent, and refusing to repent is the one sin that's truly unforgiveable.

Even though there are many reasons for every one of us, just like Faustus, to lose his faith and his confidence in God, but there is still a small and powerful light inside of every one of us mysteriously leading us to the right path. Faustus did not lose that light, but his tragedy was that he was not courageous enough to support that small weak light in order to overcome the huge darkness inside of him.


If you think about it, the thing that tempts someone to sin is different for every person. For Faustus it was knowledge, but for some people, it might be money, or a special social position, or even something as trivial as food craving!

Therefore, the lesson to be learned from Faustus's fall turns out to be bigger than just a warning against forbidden knowledge.

I highly recommend this play :)

Profile Image for Helga.
967 reviews153 followers
October 21, 2022
Faustus gives thee his soul...

The proud, greedy and relentless Doctor Faustus makes a deal with the demon Mephistopheles who serves Lucifer and signs a contract in blood selling his soul in exchange for power and knowledge.
Is he ever going to repent and take back his soul?
Will he atone for his sins and escape eternal damnation?
Will his penitence be accepted by God?
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