Dr Faustus

Topics: Christopher Marlowe, Faust, English Renaissance theatre Pages: 20 (5775 words) Published: March 29, 2013
Doctor Faustus (play)
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The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus
Frontispiece to a 1620 printing of Doctor Faustus showing Faustus conjuring Mephistophilis. Written byChristopher Marlowe

CharactersDoctor Faustus
Good Angel
Bad Angel
Three scholars
Seven Deadly Sins
Pope Adrian VI
Raymond, King of Hungary
Two Cardinals
Archbishop of Rheims
Charles V
Duke of Saxony
Two soldiers
Horse courser
Hostess of a tavern
Duke and Duchess of Vanholt
Old man
Alexander the Great
Alexander's Paramour
Helen of Troy
Date premieredc. 1592
Original languageEnglish


Setting16th century Europe

The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play. "No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition... and the centrality of the Faust legend in the history of the Western world precludes any definitive agreement on the interpretation of the play..."[1] Contents

1 Performance
2 Text
o2.1 The two versions
o2.2 Comic scenes
3 Sources
4 Structure
5 Synopsis
o5.1 Faustus learns necromancy
o5.2 The pact with Lucifer
o5.3 Wasting his skills
o5.4 Damnation or salvation
o5.5 The Calvinist/anti-Calvinist controversy
6 Quotations
7 Themes and motifs
8 Mephistophilis
9 Adaptations
10 Critical history
11 See also
12 Notes
13 References
14 External links

[edit] Performance
The Admiral's Men performed Doctor Faustus twenty-five times in the three years between October 1594 and October 1597. On 22 November 1602, the Diary of Philip Henslowe recorded a £4 payment to Samuel Rowley and William Bird for additions to the play, which suggests a revival soon after that date.[2] The powerful effect of the early productions is indicated by the legends that quickly accrued around them. In Histriomastix, his 1632 polemic against the drama, William Prynne records the tale that actual devils once appeared on the stage during a performance of Faustus, "to the great amazement of both the actors and spectators". Some people were allegedly driven mad, "distracted with that fearful sight". John Aubrey recorded a related legend, that Edward Alleyn, lead actor of The Admiral's Men, devoted his later years to charitable endeavors, like the founding of Dulwich College, in direct response to this incident.[3] [edit] Text

The play may have been entered into the Stationers' Register on 18 December 1592—though the records are confused, and appear to indicate a conflict over the rights to the play. A subsequent Stationers' Register entry, dated 7 January 1601, assigns the play to the bookseller Thomas Bushnell, the publisher of the 1604 first edition. Bushnell transferred his rights to the play to John Wright on 13 September 1610.[4] [edit] The two versions

Two versions of the play exist:
1.The 1604 quarto, printed by Valentine Simmes for Thomas Law; sometimes termed the A text. The title page attributes the play to "Ch. Marl.". A second edition (A2) in 1609, printed by George Eld for John Wright, is merely a reprint of the 1604 text. The text is short for an English Renaissance play, only 1485 lines long. 2.The 1616 quarto, published by John Wright, the enlarged and altered text; sometimes called the B text. This second text was reprinted in 1619, 1620,...
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