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‘Doctor Faustus is a tragedy only in its ending; it is a comedy in its unfolding.’...

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ihavenoarms | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 17, 2012 at 5:45 AM via web

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Doctor Faustus is a tragedy only in its ending; it is a comedy in its unfolding.’ How far do you agree with this view of the play? (Essay plan?)

I know this is a heavy question. I have a few points that I am going to discuss but does anybody have any interesting pointers on what they would write? Thanks =]

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jpope1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 17, 2012 at 7:13 AM (Answer #1)

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Doctor Faustus is comical in its unfolding because it pokes fun at the things that most people hold sacred. Events and people that are usually treated with seriousness and respect are made light of Thus, Doctor Faustus presents an ironic version of reality by playing with the sacred/profane dichotomy. This lightheartedness begins early in the play. Faustus is not a typical hero. His heritage is neither aristocratic nor pious. His family is poor and his name unknown is socialite circles. In the early 1600's, when this play was written, a hero of lowly origins would have been comical in itself. Furthermore, despite having a wide base of knowledge in virtually all domains of knowledge (including medicine, religion and logic), Faustus sells his soul to Lucifer for 24 years of life on earth with the service of a junior demon. The junior demon helps Faustus accomplish whatever he wants to in life. What does Faustus decide to do with his newfound powers? Nothing of importance! He spends the next 24 years making light of religion, death and love. For example, Dr. Faustus makes himself invisible in the Pope's court - simply as a trick. He steals food at the Pope's banquet. He re-animates the body of Helen of Troy simply because he can. He creates ghost-like images of Alexander the Great and other rulers. At the end of his 24 years of trickery, Dr. Faustus is delivered into the hands of Lucifer to spend eternity in hell. The comedic aspect of this story's unfolding is the way Dr. Faustus continuously makes light of people and circumstances that we usually regard with respect, austerity, and/or deference.

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nataranjan | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted January 17, 2012 at 6:00 AM (Answer #2)

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"Dr.Faustus" is a comedy only for those who like the macabre ! Necromancy, sexually desiring the dead, raising them from where they are interred to satisfy one's perversity isn't exactly what comedy is made of...the play is therefore shot through and through with ominous tragedy...trickery of the kind that produces grapes in winter ...becuse it can be brought in from the opposite hemisphere are at best, well, trickery , nothing more..which is exactly how the devil tricks you ..into believing s/he is offering you something of value , when in fact it is a trinket with which s/he steals your soul , which only foolish and tragedy struck stars of the world like Dr. Faustus play around with , like  a trinket! Which only reaffirms that there are in this world doctors and doctors, many of whom are actually moral quacks !

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