Doctor Faustus Criticism

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When Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus appeared on the London stage in 1594, audiences did not name it an overwhelming success. Today, however, critics and theatre-goers alike consider it Marlowe's masterpiece. Contemporary critical debate focuses on several, related critical issues: what motivates Faustus's character? When does his damnation occur? And does the play have a "middle?1'

Critics interested in assessing the play's quality consider the unity of Doctor Faustus's structure to be central. For some, it has a beginning Faustus's contract with the devil and an end Faustus's damnation with little of consequence in between. The frivolous ways Faustus uses his powers supports this position, suggesting that the hero learns or changes little as the narrative action progresses. As Wilbur Sanders wrote in Shakespeare's Contemporaries: Modern Studies in English Renaissance Drama, the "unity of Doctor Faustus is ... something that we...

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This section contains 1,056 words
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Buy the Doctor Faustus Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Doctor Faustus from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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