Magic and Religious Aspirations of Faustus Essay

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71 ASPIRATION FOR WORLDLY KNOWLEDGE AND MAGIC POWER DOCTOR FAUSTUS Doctor Faustus is based on the German story of Doctor Faustus or Faust, who was believed to have sold himself to the Devil. His history, with many marvelous additions, appeared at Frankfort in 1587, in a small volume, generally known as the Faustbush. Its English translation, The Historie of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus appeared in 1587 or 1588. 1 Though the real Faustus was active in early sixteenth century, the German account of his life, Historia von Doctor John Faustus, also known as ‘the Spies Faustbush’, upon which the English version of P.F. Gent was based, did not appear till 1587. This Historia Faustus was born around 1480 perhaps in a village 72 near Wurtemberg or Heidelberg in southern Germany and died in the late 1530s at Staufen in Baden. 2 It was translated into English in 1592. Its Lutheran bias, and specifically anti-Catholic point of view shows up in Marlowe’s play, most obviously in the scenes at the papal court. 3 It was probably first performed in 1594, a time of tremendous change in Europe. The Medieval times were over and the Renaissance was beginning, however, influences of both times can be found in the play. This play is transitional play where beliefs from both time intermingle, sometimes with disastrous results. The Renaissance is specifically applied to the widespread culture revival, the new wave gradually spreading over Western Europe and England in the following two centuries. The revival of learning, new geographical discoveries and more significantly the rebellion against the medieval pattern of living and thinking dominated by religious dogmas and Christian theology were the main sources of 73 stimulation. Another great contributory factor for the growth of this movement was the revival of interest in

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