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Christopher Marlowe: Doctor Faustus

beer good

Well-Known Member
I have tickets to see this in London in a few weeks, so I thought I'd read it.

And I have to say... I get why Shakespeare is the one who's most remembered today.

Not that there's not brilliant bits in here. Any time the plot takes a pause from pranks and commentary on 16th century politics and focuses on Faustus and Mephistopheles is often sublime, and the humour occasionally works too - this bit really cracked me up, from where Faustus first summons the devil:
FAUSTUS: Sint mihi Dei Acherontis propitii! Valeat numen triplex Jehovae! Ignei, aerii, aquatani spiritus, salvete! Orientis princeps Belzebub, inferni ardentis monarcha, et Demogorgon, propitiamus vos, ut appareat et surgat Mephistophilis. Quid tu moraris? per Jehovam, Gehennam et consecratum aquam quam nunc spargo, signumque crucis quod nunc facio, et per vota nostra, ipse nunc surgat nobis dicatus Mephistophilis!

Enter MEPHISTOPHELES in the shape of a DRAGON

FAUSTUS: I charge thee to return and change thy shape...
Can't you just hear the "Gulp" there?

But it's still all so... linear. Faustus sells his soul to the devil despite everyone telling him exactly what's going to happen, spends 24 years using his powers for silly pranks like stealing the pope's food, and then gets dragged off to hell just like everyone told him he would be. Have to say I prefer Goethe's take on the story.

That said, reading a play is missing the point a bit, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the good people of the Globe do with it. It's not like the whole science vs God theme has gone out of style, unfortunately... Even if it means I'll have to cheer for the devil.