Driven by an insatiable thirst for power, Doctor Faustus chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice to become an all-knowing practitioner of traditional and supernatural arts. He enters an agreement with Lucifer, trading his soul for unbridled access to a catalog of mystical spells.
Doctor Faustus signs a contract ensuring 24 years of service from the demon Mephastophilis. In exchange, Lucifer will own his soul for all of eternity. Faustus immediately takes advantage of his divine skills, using them to impress various men of distinction. During his meteoric rise, Faustus experiences moments of regret, but they're quickly quelled under Mephastophilis' influence. As he approaches death, Faustus is overwhelmed by fear and futile attempts to escape the inevitable.
In The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Marlowe uses supernatural themes to explore the dire trappings of human nature. With influences from Christian doctrine, the story implicates the true wages of sin stemming from greed, gluttony and pride. The author illustrates how the greatest tragedy is the one of your own making.
With an eye-catching new cover, and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus is both modern and readable.
This book, thanks to large and clear letters, will provide everyone with a reading comfort not available in other publications.
Doctor Faustus is based on an older tale; it is believed to be the first dramatization of the Faust legend. Some scholars believe that Marlowe developed the story from a popular 1592 translation, commonly called The English Faust Book. There is thought to have been an earlier, lost German edition of 1587, the Historia von D. Johann Fausten, which itself may have been influenced by even earlier, equally ill-preserved pamphlets in Latin (such as those that likely inspired Jacob Bidermann's treatment of the damnation of the doctor of Paris, Cenodoxus (1602)).
Several soothsayers or necromancers of the late fifteenth century adopted the name Faustus, a reference to the Latin for "favored" or "auspicious"; typical was Georgius Faustus Helmstetensis, calling himself astrologer and chiromancer, who was expelled from the town of Ingolstadt for such practices. Subsequent commentators have identified this individual as the prototypical Faustus of the legend.
Whatever the inspiration, the development of Marlowe's play is very faithful to the Faust Book, especially in the way it mixes comedy with tragedy.
However, Marlowe also introduced some changes to make it more original. He made three main additions:
Faustus's soliloquy, in Act 1, on the vanity of human science
Good and Bad Angels
The substitution of a Pageant of Devils for the seven deadly sins
He also emphasized Faustus' intellectual aspirations and curiosity, and minimized the vices in the character, to lend a Renaissance aura to the story.
"In reprinting this edition, I have here and there amended the text by means of the later 4tos, --1616, 1624, 1631.--Of 4to 1663, which contains various comparatively modern alterations and additions, I have made no use." Alexander Dyce
An idea for an original gift.
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