Doctor Faustus | Study Guide

Christopher Marlowe

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Christopher Marlowe

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About the Title

The title Doctor Faustus refers to the play's protagonist as well as the historic figure Dr. John Faustus—an English version of the name Johann Fausten—who was a self-proclaimed magician and wizard at a time when witchcraft was feared and condemned by Catholics and Protestants alike. The play was first published in 1604 with the more lengthy title The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. The extended title calls attention to the play's genre but also provides a contrast. Doctor Faustus is not the typical well-to-do hero of a tragedy. In fact, he's a commoner, which suggests that no one is immune to tragedy.


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