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Analysis

Literary Devices in Doctor Faustus

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Marlowe's plays were famous in their day for their exotic, far-flung settings, and Doctor Faustus is no exception. Dr. F does some major globetrotting. He travels to Rome and the court of Carolus i...

Genre

We probably don't need to work too hard to convince you that Doctor Faustus is a drama. And it may seem pretty obvious to you that it's a tragedy as well. Talented intellectual signs soul over to t...

Tone

Doctor Faustus deals with some serious—and seriously depressing—stuff. This is, after all, a play about someone who sells his soul over to the devil, and then agonizes about that decision for t...

Writing Style

The Verse! It's Blank!The main plot of Doctor Faustus is written in blank verse, which is a lot less blank than it sounds. Blank verse is the fancy pants term for unrhymed iambic pentameter, which...

What's Up With the Title?

Although we know it today by its short name—Doctor Faustus—the full title of the play when it was first printed in 1604 was The Tragicall Historie of Doctor Faustus. Now consider the title of t...

What's Up With the Ending?

Once the ending of the play is all tied up and Faustus has been carted off to hell, the Chorus appears yet again for one last hurrah. After observing that "the branch that might have grown full str...

Tough-o-Meter

Here's the hard part: Doctor Faustus is written in Renaissance English, which means it contains some words that might look a little odd to us modern folk. That's why the dictionary's your new best...

Plot Analysis

Faustus, a fancy pants scholar and all-around boss decides he's bored with all the typical scholarly disciplines—philosophy, theology, medicine, and law. He decides to study magic instead, and ge...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

AnticipationBooker's "anticipation stage" is defined by the restlessness of the hero, and that's exactly what we see in Faustus as he sits in his study considering, then rejecting, various academic...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Faustus considers and rejects various academic disciplines. Theology? Nope. Medicine? Pssh. Law? Hardly. Magic? Hey, now there's an idea. But every awesome magician needs a faithful servant, so to...

Trivia

Marlowe, Christopher Marlowe. Okay, that might not have a very good ring to it, but nevertheless, many people believe that Christopher Marlowe was a government spy, recruited while he was a student...

Steaminess Rating

There's a lot of talk here, but not much action. So while there's a bawdy line here or there, even Faustus's lovin' of fair Helen only involves a few actual kisses and hugs.

Allusions

Aristotle, Analytics (1.1.5-6) Aristotle, De Sensu (1.1.13)Galen (1.1.13)Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics (1.1.16)Justinian, Institutes (1.1.27-32)Jerome, Vulgate [Latin Bib...
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