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Drama, From Everyman to Dr. Faustus

Medieval Drama: -s.X liturgical plays like Queen Quaeritis, later on, other plays with biblical themes acted inside church. -s.XIII, plays performed outside, on the occasion of Church feasts and in the vernacular. -mystery plays played by the guilds (carpenters would stage The Flood Noah) -by s.XV, morality plays (Everyman) present the conflict between vices and virtues and debate the fate of mans soul after death. The Castle of Perseverance An allegory of vices and Virtues: -contemplation -active life, vain glory of imagination -free will -unprecedented spread of literacy -women (novels->post -Arthurian novels, romance biblical, Book of Hours-hours at which to pray) Everyman -composed in 1485; maybe translation of the Dutch play Ekerlijk. -printed in 1528-1529. Here begineth a treatise how to hye Fader of heven sendeth seethe to somon every creature to come and gyve a-counte of theyr lyves in this worlde, and is in manner of morall playe. -popular drama (biblical, morality to teach something) -drama for leisure, past time, at court masks, interludes, short plays, less than 1 hour. -treatise they did not have the genre of drama, they did not know how to call it. - a play was a game. -lines 1-12 voice of the author- the messenger -Dethe just a mighty messenger -man as a pilgrim. -longer time (he asks for a little more time typical for that age) -anagnorisis recognition, knowledge From Morality to Marlowe: -idea of death becomes omnipresent -the skull major motif The Faustus Myth -the popular book Volksbuch of Dr Johann Faust published 1587

-the English translation in 1592. In fact tales of magic reach their lowest level in the biography of Faust. Had this been the only element in the book, its hero could no longer have survived the sixteenth century. But the strong religious fervor in the biography portions gave a cosmic nature to the conflict and reality to the sorcerer and his familiar. It was his which carried them both with breathtaking speed into Enlightenment drama. Christopher Marlowe -1564-1593 (killed in a tavern fight) -Marlowe was often deemed a spy, a heretic, a homosexual -1593 charged with atheism. Plays Dido, queen of Carthaga (not performed abandoned wife of Eneas on his way to Rome she commits suicide) Tamburlaine (1587) about the famous Mongolian leader The Jew of Malta (predecessor of the Merchant of Death) Edward the Second (the gay king) The Massacre of Paris (the killing of Protestants in Paris) The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus (a wizard transgressor of human nature) -what made me famous, destroyed me -university wit, went to university, not common for a lower class -transgressors, over-readers, outcasts. -bookish background. Marlowes Dr. Faustus: -like most Elizabethan writers, Marlowe took no interest in publishing his plays they were meant for the stage not for print. -performed 25 times (1594-1597) Two quarto editions published post-humously: 1. 1604 quarto (A-text) the text is short by the standards of the age(1485 lines) 2. 1616 quarto (B-text) it omits 36 lines, but adds 676 lines, considered and interpolation by the most authoritative edition. Faustus: Everyman or Overreach? Dr. Faustus is best understood as not an affirmation of Divine Law, or conversely of Renaissance Man, but an explication of subversion through transgression David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen, Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus and Other Plays Jonathan Dollimore, Subversion through Transgression in Radical Tragedy Clifford Leech, Christopher Marlowe: Poet for Stage was it necessary that a mere creature should be reduced to crying out for the Earth to bury him, to give him some precarious refuge from the justice of his creator if Faustus

becomes an insect about to be crushed by the stretched-out arm of God, that arm seems overweighty for the task -wants to break free from God, doctrines -late morality play -chorus the voice of common sense -sophism illogical thought- logical mistake that leads to a syllogistically thought. -medieval good angel-bad angel -Mephistophilis (invented Greek word=the one who hates light) -protestant propaganda friars are all corrupt Franciscan friar -blasphemy Consumatum est last words of Christ on the Cross -he uses his powers for practical jokes -a lot of clownery, low nature magic -during the contract Faustus is asked to repent -the devil can only touch his body but not his soul the old man