Review: Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a classic about a guy who sells his soul to the devil in return for knowledge and power. Turns out the devil got a bargain…

The surprising thing about this classic text is how relevant it is every year. You could take almost any political event of the last year (or for the next two years at least) and compare them to Faustus selling his soul to the devil. Brexit? The US Presidency? Theresa May holding Donald Trump’s hand? They’re all Faustian pacts.

So what can you get in return for your immortal soul? Well, nothing really. Faustus sets off with ideas of doing great things with his end of the deal, but each time Lucifer denies him what he really wants.

From there on in, Faustus realizes that he’s not getting much out of this bargain, so he wastes his time until he is carted off to hell – pulls a few pranks and whatnot, but nothing much more.

Marlowe has written a play which clearly stands the tests of time (written around the time of Shakespeare), and with characters and motivations that will stick in your mind (why won’t Faustus go back on his pact with the devil when it is apparent that the devil isn’t holding up his end of the bargain? Why doesn’t he persevere with trying to do something brilliant? Just how cunning is Lucifer?).

Ultimately, the lesson at the centre of Dr Faustus remains as relevant as ever: Is compromising yourself ever worth the cost?

Yeah, this one is worth a read. Take note Theresa May…



6 thoughts on “Review: Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

    1. I haven’t read Goethe’s yet, but here is the Wikipedia page on it (not that it says much):
      The story was popularised in England by Christopher Marlowe, who gave it a classic treatment in his play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (of which the date for publication is debated, but was likely around 1587).[3] In Goethe’s reworking of the story two hundred years later, Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for “more than earthly meat and drink” in his life.

      Liked by 1 person

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