Doctor Faustus (Marlowe)

how would you look at dr. faustus as a play?

meg assessments:2011-12

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To look at Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus specifically as a play means to situate it within the conventions of the dramatic genre, examining it in relationship to theatre history and the practical matters of staging, in other words to see it as play qua play rather than in terms of such aspects as plot and character that are also found in other genres.

One of the first things you might look at is the role of the chorus and how it both retains the narrative character of the Greek chorus but also transforms the chorus from it ritual role and emblematic function as “everyman” to narrative device.

Another issue you might consider is how the representations of the Devil on stage are indebted to the Mystery and Morality traditions of medieval drama and yet present a more individualized and fully characterized Devil.



While written in the Renaissance language that often challenges high school and college students,Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is a play for the ages. In a culture laden with books, movies,television shows and video games about black magic, the subject matter alone will captivatecontemporary young adults. And with its themes of ambition, desire, fate, and free will,Marlowe’s

drama is excellent comparison material to works both old and new. As a genre study, Dr. Faustus is a morality play, a historical allegory, the tale of a hero gone bad due to the dilemmas presented by an ever changing world. When Faustus is confronted by the Renaissance preference for analytical reason over the medieval deference to God, he must choose the course he believes is right, and in the process, loses his soul.