…with the devil.
Thanks to a fellow Amazon reviewer, I was privileged to see the operatic version of this classic tale under the summer night skies of Santa Fe. I knew the essence of the story prior to viewing the opera, but had never actually read one of the versions. The tale is based on Germanic folklore, and is set in that country, even though Christopher Marlowe is English. His was the first formal written version of the tale. Subsequent versions would be produced by Goethe and Thomas Mann – and, of course there is the opera itself, written by Charles Gounod, and first produced in Paris, in 1859.
Twenty four years of knowledge and power. That is the value Dr. Faustus places on his immortal soul. He will join Mephistophilis (one of the varying names for the devil) for all eternity for “…letting him live in all voluptuousness…” “…to give me whatsoever I shall ask, to tell me whatsoever I demand, to slay mine enemies, and aid my friends…”
Throughout Marlow’s version, he takes numerous jabs at organized religion, for example: “Both law and physic are for petty wits; Divinity is the basest of the three…” and “Go, and return an old Franciscan friar; That holy shape becomes a devil best.” One of the themes of Marlow’s tale is that the bargain may have resulted from too much learning… the desire to read it all. Hum!
Once again the play is the thing… as we have seen acted out over the one and a half years… the thirst for the power of the Presidency of the United States, and the seeming “anything goes” ethos. No lie, no trick is beneath anyone. A deep embrace of Mephistophilis, not for 24 years, but for four. But don’t get me started…
As for Marlowe’s first formal version, written in the late 16th century, 4-stars, and I hope to read the more fully developed work of this tale as written by Goethe.
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Revised ed edition (1 November 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0713673761
- ISBN-13: 978-0713673760
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.1 x 19.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 141 g
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