Book Summary: Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

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Author Name: Christopher Marlowe

Book Name: Doctor Faustus

Genre: Tragedy

Language: English

About Author

Christopher Marlowe was an Elizabethan English poet, dramatist, and translator. Modern academics consider Marlowe to be one of the most well-known Elizabethan playwrights. Some academics believe he had a significant effect on William Shakespeare, who was baptized the same year as Marlowe and went on to become the foremost Elizabethan writer. His plays are known for their over-the-top protagonists.

About the Book

Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan tragedy Doctor Faustus is based on German tales concerning the main protagonist Faust. It was composed between 1589 and1592, and it might have been played between 1592 and1593 when Marlowe died. 

Several years later, in the Jacobean era, 2 different versions of the play were published. Doctor Faustus is said to be the first dramatization of the Faust mythology, and it is based on an older story. According to some academics, Marlowe adapted the narrative from a famous 1592 version known as The English Faust Book.

Book Summary

Doctor Faustus, a well-respected German academic, becomes unhappy with the limitations of conventional kinds of knowledge—religion, logic, law, and medicine—and resolves to study magic. His buddies Valdes and Cornelius teach him the dark arts, and he begins his new profession as a magician by conjuring up the devil Mephastophilis.

Despite Mephastophilis' concerns about the sufferings of hell, Faustus directs the devil to return to his master, Lucifer, with a proposal of Faustus' soul in exchange for Mephastophilis' twenty-four years of servitude. Meanwhile, Faustus' attendant, Wagner, has acquired some magical abilities and uses them to enlist the help of a clown named Robin.

Faustus receives news from Mephastophilis that Lucifer has accepted Faustus' proposal. Faustus has some doubts and considers whether he should repent and preserve his soul, but in the end, he agrees to the agreement and signs it with his blood. Faustus has some doubts and considers whether he should repent and preserve his soul, but in the end, he agrees to the agreement and signs it with his blood.

Faustus has second thoughts once more, but Mephastophilis lavishes him with presents and a book of spells to learn. Later, when Faustus asks who created the universe, Mephastophilis answers all of his queries concerning the nature of the world, only refusing to discuss when Faustus asks who formed the universe. 

This denial causes Faustus to have new concerns, but Mephastophilis and Lucifer bring in personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins to parade in front of him, and he is sufficiently impressed to put his worries to rest.

Faustus sets off on his journey, armed with his new abilities and accompanied by Mephastophilis. He travels to the pope's court in Rome, disguises himself, and pulls off a series of ruses. By stealing food and boxing the pope's ears, he disturbs the pope's dinner. Following this tragedy, he travels around Europe's courts, spreading his name wherever he goes.

He is eventually called to the court of Charles V, the German emperor, who requests that Faustus enable him to meet Alexander the Great, the famous fourth-century BC Macedonian monarch and conqueror. Charles is sufficiently pleased when Faustus conjures up a picture of Alexander. 

Faustus chastises a knight who mocks Faustus's abilities by growing horns from his head. Faustus chastises a knight who mocks Faustus's abilities by growing horns from his head.

Meanwhile, Wagner's clown, Robin, has picked up some magic through his own and has a series of comedic escapades with his fellow stableman, Rafe. At one point, he summons Mephastophilis, who threatens to transform Robin and Rafe into animals (or possibly really does; the text is unclear) as a punishment for their stupidity.

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Faustus then continues on his journey, pulling a fast one on a horse-courser along the route. Faustus offers him a horse that, when ridden into a river, transforms into a mound of straw. Faustus is eventually invited to the Duke of Vanholt's court, where he performs many miracles. The horse-courser appears, as do Robin, a guy named Dick, and several others who have been tricked by Faustus. To the delight of the duke and duchess, Faustus casts charms on them and sends them on their way.

Faustus begins to fear his imminent death as his twenty-four-year agreement with Lucifer draws to a close. He has Mephastophilis summon Helen of Troy, the ancient world's most famed beauty, and exploits her appearance to impress a gathering of intellectuals. 

Faustus is urged to repent by an elderly man, but Faustus ignores him. Faustus calls Helen once more and embodies her beauty effusively. However, time is running out. When Faustus reveals his deal to the scholars, they are horrified and vow to pray for him. Faustus is overwhelmed with terror and guilt on the final night before the twenty-four years' end.

You can get this book easily from Amazon: Doctor Faustus

Written By - Grasha Mittal
Edited By - Anamika Malik

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