History of Author:
The Tragical history of the life & death of Dr. Faustus written by Christopher Marlowe. Firstly, we have to know this, who is the Christopher Marlowe. He was actually born in England, Canterbury, in middle 16th century. In an Elizabethan era, he was poet, an English dramatist, & translator. Before he died, he left several great works. One of his great work was “Edward the Second”. This was the history play, but this play was listed after Marlowe’s of death.
Also, he inscribed a prom “Hero and Leander” but published in 1598, five years after he died. And another great play was Doctor Faustus”. Also recognized as The Tragical History of the Life & Death of Dr. Faustus. In Play version, several additional scenes were added. There were also diverse versions of Dr. Faustus stories. He influenced William Shakespeare very much, and also Shakespeare’s work. He was supposed to be an atheist. And according to go over to Catholic “enemy” nonetheless when he was imprisoned, he wrote notes which implied, he had sympathy on Catholicism.
Now we are going to summarize “The Story of Dr. Faustus” by Christopher Marlowe. Faustus was born in Rhodes, Germany to poor parents. He then graduated from university with master degree in theology. Although being well educated, Faustus was not gratified with knowledge he had got. He thought of getting more knowledge. He always wanted to know every secret of life & the universe. Then he settled on necromancy as the new subject he wanted to learn. He asked his friends Valdez and Cornelius who were experts in this field to help him. When he was waiting for his two friends, good angel and evil angel came to him.
Good angel convinced him to cancel his plan to learn the black magic, but evil angel assured him to proceed with his plan. Having been determined to master the arts of black magic, Faustus listened to evil angel. After sometimes later, Faustus finally mastered necromancy and decided to summon the devil. The demon Mephistopheles appeared before him. Faustus felt like Mephistopheles was too low-class to attend him. Faustus then asked Mephistopheles to do whatever he asked him to, but first Mephistopheles had to secure the consent of Lucifer, his boss.
Mephistopheles then said that he might serve Faustus if he decided to renunciation his soul to devil. He would serve Faustus for twenty-four years, providing that he signs a contract by using his blood. After Faustus signed the contract, he saw some ominous Latin writings on his arm. Mephistopheles distracted his mind by summoning dancing Devils. Faustus said that he wanted to marry and asked Mephistopheles to give him a wife. Mephistopheles brought him a devil disguised as a woman. Faustus was not pleased. Mephistopheles explained that marriage was out of his power as it was a sacrament of God.
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Mephistopheles gave him the book in which Faustus could look up and learn anything he desired to know. The book permitted him to see all the planets of heavens & understand their motions. It would also show him all the plants that grow on the earth. When Faustus learned about heaven, he supposed to repent. Mephistopheles was afraid of this and went to make Beelzebub from hell. The good angel and evil angel came once again. The Evil angel threatened to tear him to pieces if he repented, so he didn’t. Faustus had now learned all secrets of astronomy, and he needed to master cosmography.
He visited many places with the help of Mephistopheles. Then he also visited Rome to see “Pope”. He visited the Pope when he was about to have a feast. Faustus, who became transparent at that time played jokes on the pope. Whatever the pope was about to eat, he took it. This made the Pope & his companies panic. They try to perform an exorcism, and Faustus laughed at them. He struck the Pope on the ear. The Pope & his companion then left the room. After the incident with the Pope, Faustus traveled again to many places, but often the purpose of his visit was just like the time he visited the Pope. He often pulled pranks on other people and mocked them.
As time passed, Faustus’ death was also approaching. But he could still drink and get drunk with his students. He also showed them his magic. when his students left, an old man came to Faustus and tell him that only his blood could wash away his sins. Faustus was moved by an old man’ words and thought of repenting, but Mephistopheles called him a traitor. He makes an apology to Mephistopheles & asked him to beat this old man. He also asked Mephistopheles to bring him Helen of Troy as a mistress. Mephistopheles easily grant a second wish, but when attacking the old man, he wasn’t very successful as the faith of old man was strong.
On the final day of his own life, Faustus told his students about his agreement he had made with devil. He told his students not to stay in a room or see him when the devil came to fetch him, so the students decided to stay in next room and pray. Faustus awaited his time with despair. He prayed and begged for mercy, nevertheless, it was really too late. When the devil came to fetch him, his last words were all the expressions of horror. In the morning, his students found his limbs on the floor & decided to hold the funeral for him.
In the previous story of Doctor. Faustus, he was the one who initiated in summoning the devil but there was actually another version of Dr. Faustus story by Goethe which was quite popular.
In his version, Mephistopheles was the one who tempted Faustus to commit sin so that he might take his soul. Faustus’ character became different from that of Marlowe’s version.
At English Renaissance Period, people found to have interest in life and religion. A lot of scholars at the time also started to feel that they’ve limitation of knowledge. Thus, they desired the new world that has no limitation of knowledge where they could divulge the mysteries of the universe. So, story of Dr. Faustus was written based on this historical background where all young scholars at that time required to gain more knowledge. Dr. Faustus was a character created based on young scholars. But the difference was that Dr. Faustus summoned the demon Mephistopheles to support him gain what he wanted.
Marlowe’s version of Dr. Faustus shared similarity with the Miller’s Tale from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales where a scholar named Nicholas learnt Astrology. He and Faustus both were said to try to break into God’s privacy. The play Dr. Faustus was also written to criticize the Catholic. It could be seen from Faustus playing pranks on the “Pope” when he was having feast.
Goethe’s Faustus was like a “revision” of Marlowe’s version. Goethe recreated the character Faustus to be more determined and consistent. He knew what he was doing and did not lose the track when he was struggling to achieve his goal, that was to “find the answer to life and universe”, unlike Marlowe’s Faustus, who was easily tempted so he forgot his purpose of summoning Mephistopheles.