Doctor Faustus is based on a German legend that has been around for ages, and it's a legend that still persists in many forms today. Why do you think the story is so lasting?

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swd337 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marlowe's Faustus touches on universal human themes like power, greed, wealth, fame and the afterlife -- and it's likely that these themes, timeless as they are, give the story lasting impact. Like most of Shakespeare's plays, the time in which Faustus is set isn't as important as its themes, which transcend time and place. Faustus sells his soul to the devil in exchange for Mephistopheles' faithful service for a period of 24 years. We've seen other renditions of this in literature, in film, even in song (e.g. the famous tune "Devil Went Down to Georgia" by Charlie Daniels). As many human beings continue to turn to religion in search of meaning, stories like Faustus strike a chord with the desire to find fulfillment in things of heaven rather than the things of the world (which for Faustus bring about destruction and eternal damnation). And even for non-religious folks, stories like Faustus still serve as a warning against indulging greed, lusting for power and craving fame -- all things that, in themselves, cannot bring true happiness.