Doctor Faustus (play)
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The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus
Frontispiece to a 1620 printing of Doctor Faustus showing Faustus conjuring Mephistophilis.
Written by Christopher Marlowe
Seven Deadly Sins
Pope Adrian VI
Raymond, King of Hungary
Archbishop of Rheims
Duke of Saxony
Hostess of a tavern
Duke and Duchess of Vanholt
Alexander the Great
Helen of Troy
Date premiered c. 1592
Original language English
Setting 16th century Europe
The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play.
"No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition... and the centrality of the Faust legend in the history of the Western world precludes any definitive agreement on the interpretation of the play..."
The Admiral's Men performed Doctor Faustus twenty-five times in the three years between October 1594 and October 1597. On 22 November 1602, the Diary of Philip Henslowe recorded a £4 payment to Samuel Rowley and William Bird for additions to the play, which suggests a revival soon after that date.
The powerful effect of the early productions is indicated by the legends that quickly accrued around...