Christopher Marlowe: Doctor Faustus

(1453 words)
  • Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University)

Doctor Faustus is at once one of the most impressive and one of the most frustrating of Elizabethan plays. It has come down to us in two texts, the 1604 'A' text and the 1616 'B' text, both of which show clear signs of a hand or hands other than Marlowe's. We cannot, therefore, ever feel confident that what we read is the text as Marlowe left it or as he would have wished us to have it.

However, even though the details are murky, the overall design of the play seems clear. Doctor Faustus, an eminent Wittemberg scholar, is bored by all the academic disciplines and branches of knowledge which he has mastered with such ease, and decides to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for twenty-four years of unlimited power and …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Hopkins, Lisa. "Doctor Faustus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. English Renaissance Theatre - Elizabethan