2016 Reading Challenge Book #10: The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus

The tenth book of the 2016 Reading Challenge was published in 1604. Written by Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus is the book that I chose for the 1600-1699 period. In this play we are introduced to man who makes a deal with the devil, only for it to turn tragic.

Dr. Faustus is brought into the picture as a man who is convinced the end is near. Believing his work as a doctor is no longer useful he heads off on a journey to find himself. However, this journey involves him summoning the devil so he can make a deal with him. Once the deal is made with Lucifer, he promises to use magic instead of science for his medicinal practice. With the good and evil angels on each of his shoulders, Dr. Faustus is conflicted between honoring his pact with the devil and breaking it. Dr. Faustus signed the deal with the devil in his own blood, so it is not as easy to break. Using temporary powers, Dr. Faustus takes the time to explain that he is damned for all time regretting the deal with the devil. After his soul is damned to Hell, the chorus states that Faustus was damned to stipulation by him being turned asunder.

In this inspirational piece of literature we are introduced to a man who makes the ultimate mistake. Dr. Faustus broke a rule when he chose to make a pact with the devil for help. Christopher Marlowe makes it clear in his play that there is no reason to trust the devil. Published in 1604, The Tragrical History of Dr. Faustus is, not just a literary masterpiece, but a warning as well.

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