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Doctor Faustus - Analysis Essay

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I. The play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlow was first published in Manchester by Manchester Publishing in 1588, no information about the play’s first production date was found.

II. Doctor Faustus is contrived of the following: Faustus, a man well learned in medicine and other knowledge’s known to man is dissatisfied with where his life is heading so he calls upon the Lucifer and His accomplice, Mephistophilis, to teach him the ways of magic. They agree to be his tutors only if Faustus will sell his soul to Lucifer and be His after 20 years. Faustus agrees and goes through trying times where he is unsure of his decision and considers repenting but then is persuaded again and again that the magic powers of the Devil are far more satisfying than the powers of Heaven.

III. Faustus is portrayed as a very individual character. He changes and is shaped by the events that happen all around him. Everything he does affects his future outcome. For example his decision to give up his studies of medicine were very un-stereotypical of a character that is studying to be a doctor to do. Even more so is his decision to take upon the necromantics of the devil. He says, “Then read no more; thou hast attain'd that end: A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit.” (1.11) He believes that he has learned enough information about all the great things of the world and there is nothing left to study that will intrigue him as much as magic will. His curious personality affects the play because his decisions determine the plot. For example the Seven Deadly Sins entice him so he becomes convinced not to repent his sin. This characterizes him as gullible, curious and adventurous. He becomes obsessed with his magic and he absolutely loves having the powers to do anything he pleases. An example of this is when he conjures up Helen. He knows he can do whatever he wants without reservation so he chooses to conjure the woman who launched a thousand ships. This shows that not only is he gullible, curious and obsessed but also Faustus only wishes for the best in whatever he does; the best that will please him.

Mephistophilis is the opposite of Faustus. Mephistophilis is the stereotype of the typical conniving Devil’s assistant. He is always pressuring Faustus to listen to his “bad angel” and act upon his desires instead of his intellect. Mephistophilis’ personality influences the entire pl...


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...ing. If it were to be produced in a modern setting it should not stray to far from the playwright’s original intentions. I went to see this play produced at UMASS last semester; it was what prompted me to read the play for this analysis. I walked out of the theatre totally confused about what had just saw and so did the person that I went to see it with. The director changed so much of the script and altered the playwright’s intentions so much that the entire production was a fast whirlwind of confusion with random things thrown in. It was not until I read the play did I understand what some of those things were. I believe if this play is to be produced modernly the language can be changed to modern English but the plot should stay the same without many alterations. We need to see the entire story in order to understand exactly what is going on. We can do this by changing some of the characters to more modern people of today’s society that the audience can relate to; such as instead of Faustus conjuring Helen he could conjure a popular supermodel instead. Modernizing in this way would give a better understanding to the audience of what the play is about and what the story line is.


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