EWL Book Editorials--

Monday, October 24, 2005

Doctor Faustus by Marlowe (English, 1588)

Dramatic verse play about what happens when a Renaissance man sells his soul to the devil and then wants out of the deal.


  • Doctor Faustus is a play about a man who is very knowledgeable in the ways of medicine, law, logic and theology. He becomes very bored with these chosen fields and with a little push from a couple of his friends he decides to study magic and the concealed arts. Some time passes and he learns to conjure up devils and the first one he calls upon he asks to go to his master, Lucifer, and ask him for twenty-four years of service from this particular devil in exchange for both his body and soul once the time has expired. Once he gains the service and powers of this devil he begins to travel around the world performing deeds to impress emperors and high beings of the same stature, also he performs tricks and pranks on people of the lower class. These acts are very contradictory to his original plans of gaining wealth, change the map of Europe, and to plumb the mysteries of the universe. It seemed as though once Faustus gained the power he desired he no longer wanted to do anything but use his powers for personal humor and societal gain. At the end of the twenty-four years Faustus becomes increasingly afraid of hell and tries to ask for penance but god will not answer his call for help and he is then taken by Lucifer and his devils to stay in hell with eternal damnation.

    I really enjoyed this play because it can still apply to today. I thought that the themes and motifs were very interesting and sometimes even comical. The project for this particular book was pretty easy to do because if you can pay attention to a 75 page book then you can easily pick out the symbols, themes and motifs presented in the story. Although it is a short book a would suggest starting it right away that way you can do a little at a time and even bring it in to be looked over and corrected. Even if you are not a religious person but you enjoy the conflict between the powers of absolute good and absolute evil then this play will be a very enjoyable one.

    By Blogger Brian L, at 5:45 PM  

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