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The Legend of Faust Early Modern Period in Germany (1350- 1600) also gave rise to legends. Early Modern Legends are folk heroes, not warriors or chieftains.

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Presentation on theme: "The Legend of Faust Early Modern Period in Germany (1350- 1600) also gave rise to legends. Early Modern Legends are folk heroes, not warriors or chieftains."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Legend of Faust Early Modern Period in Germany (1350- 1600) also gave rise to legends. Early Modern Legends are folk heroes, not warriors or chieftains. Different society. Like earlier legends, folk heroes also exist on the margins of recorded history. Examples:Till Eulenspiegel Johann Faust

2 The Legend of Faust The historical Georg Faust is a shadowy character, probably lived c. 1480 – 1538. He is a contemporary of Martin Luther. Historical documents mention Faust in Heidelberg, Knittlingen, Wittenberg etc., but may refer to different individuals. Faust seems to have been an astrologer and alchemist of ill-repute – not uncommon!

3 The Legend of Faust Faust was a Renaissance Man, one active in all branches of arts and sciences. Many similar characters from the period: Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus) Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei (Italian) Cornelius Agrippa (German) John Dee (English) Copernicus (Czech) Unlike these, Faust seems to have been more of a swindler than a real scientist.

4 The Legend of Faust The Faust Legend is a conglomeration of these characters and earlier medieval accounts of wizards and sorcerers: Merlin the Magician Simon Magus Theophilus The Faust Legend arose – about 70 years later – as a loose collection of stories associated with Faust. Oral Transmission.

5 The Legend of Faust The first version of Faust was published by Johann Spies in Frankfurt in 1587: Historia von D. Johann Fausten dem weitbeschreyten Zauberer und Schwarzkünstler An independent manuscript version from Nürnberg may be slightly older. Spies presented a moralistic tale from a staunch Protestant perspective.

6 The Legend of Faust The one defining element of all versions of the legend is the Pact with the Devil. An ancient idea, found in a number of classical and medieval works. Faust fascinated Renaissance audiences because his pact called into question the great advances of the age – humanism, science, art, and philosophy.

7 The Legend of Faust The Spies Chapbook of 1587 (Volksbuch) presents Faust’s life as a warning not to seek forbidden knowledge or experience. The Chapbook constructed as a frame tale: opening chapters discuss his sinful pact w/ Mephisto concluding chapters discuss the consequences Inside chapters list Faust’s adventures. Very episodic, entertaining, little moralizing.

8 The Legend of Faust The Spies chapbook established a number of elements that are conventionally retained in other versions of the legend: 1.Faust’s career as a scholar and astronomer 2.His frustration with limitations of human knowledge 3.His turn toward necromancy to aid his search for knowledge 4.His pact with the evil spirit (Mephostophilis) 5.Cosmological discussions of heaven and hell 6.Visitations by various demons and spirits for amusement 7.Travel through European countries and capital cities

9 The Legend of Faust 8.A visit to the Imperial Court of Charles V as a Magician 9.A visit to the Pope in Rome, where he mocks the Pontiff 10. Pranks played on the other courtiers of Charles V 11. Further pranks played on all manner of people – horse traders, inn keepers, peasants, Jewish peddlers, etc. 12.Riotous living with his students – drinking and carousing! 13.The conjuration of classical heroes, esp. Helen of Troy 14.Failed attempts by pious men to return Faust to the Lord 15.A marriage to (a demon in the form of) Helen of Troy 16.Faust’s despair as his appointed time draws to a close 17.Faust’s gruesome death presented as a warning to others

10 The Legend of Faust The Spies chapbook was, to judge from translations and new editions, very popular. English Version (EFB) appeared in 1592: The Historie of the damnable life, and deserved death of Doctor John Faustus, Newly imprinted, and in convenient places imperfect matter amended: according to the true Copie, printed at Franckfort, and translated into English by P. F. Gent.[leman].

11 The Legend of Faust A selection of chapters from The Damnable Life (EFB) is printed on pp. 92-145 of the Signet Classic edition of Marlowe. Suggested Reading for class! The EFB is a close translation of Spies, but it contains new material used by Marlowe. New versions of the legend typically add new episodes appealing to later societies.

12 The Legend of Faust Marlowe’s drama cannot be dated exactly: he may have used the German version, or only the English, or some combination: The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. Marlowe died in 1593, but the first printing of Doctor Faustus was in 1604. A later printing in 1616 contained a number of differences.

13 The Legend of Faust After Marlowe, a number of other editions were written in Germany: 1599 Expanded Chapbook edition by Widmann 1674 New additions by Pfitzer (love for a village girl) 1725 The “well-meaning Christian’s” children’s story 1650-1750 English comedians presented a version based on Marlowe throughout Germany; this was also the basis for the beloved Faust puppet play. 1759 G. E. Lessing wrote fragments of a Faust drama – this was the first version to save Faust from damnation!

14 The Legend of Faust Later versions of Faust legend in Germany (Storm-and-Stress to Classicism): 1778 Faust’s Life by Friedrich (Maler) Müller 1791 Faust’s Life, Deeds, and Ride to Hell by Klinger 1770-1808 Faust, Part One, by J. W. Goethe 1833 Faust, Part Two by Goethe (publ. posthumously) Goethe’s work is a masterpiece of world literature, extremely influential on all subsequent versions of the legend.

15 The Legend of Faust Later versions of Faust legend appeared throughout Europe and America. Every generation presents its own version of the Faust legend, based upon their own aspirations, desires and fears. Modern versions of Faust do not usually punish Faust for seeking forbidden knowledge and experience. What would a contemporary American version look like?

16 Christopher Marlowe Marlowe probably a spy for Queen Elizabeth's secret service, perhaps spying on Catholics abroad. Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564 (the same year as Shakespeare), son of a shoemaker. 1578 a student at King’s School, Canterbury 1580 a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge 1584 received his BA 1587 Cambridge rejected his MA, probably because he refused to continue his religious studies The Queen’s Privy Council intervened, ordering the university to give Marlowe his degree, for he had been “engaged... in matters touching the benefit of the country.”

17 Christopher Marlowe 1593 Thomas Kyd, a roommate, was arrested for heretical books; he claimed they belonged to Marlowe. Marlowe was arrested, but in effect put on probation. On 30 May, Marlowe was having a feast with three friends at Deptford, when a quarrel broke out about the bill. Marlowe struck Ingram Frizer with the handle of a dagger. Frizer stabbed Marlowe through the eye “... in such sort that the brains coming out at the dagger point and he shortly thereafter died.” Marlowe was posthumously accused of atheism, treason, and of holding the opinion “that they that love not tobacco and boys were fools…”

18 Christopher Marlowe Several “conspiracy theories” Marlowe was probably murdered on the orders of the government, as a spy who knew too much. The whole barroom brawl was possibly staged. Frizer was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth two weeks later. Shakespeare: When a man's verses cannot be read, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. “As You Like It" Act III, scene 2.

19 Doctor Faustus I A five-act play in the tradition of the Elizabethan theater. Probably written c. 1592, not published until 1604. The phrase “Faustian bargain” has entered the English lexicon, referring to any deal made for a short-term gain with great costs in the long run. Prologue: Character of Faust introduced (cite Pr. 11-27). Faustus, a well-respected German scholar, grows dissatisfied with the limits of traditional forms of knowledge – philosophy, medicine, law, and theology – and decides that he wants to learn to practice magic (cite I.1. 47-60). He wants limitless dominion, knowledge and experience.

20 Doctor Faustus I Faustus is visited by good and evil angels, who each offer him advice. Religious framework (cite I.1. 67-74). Faustus summons a devil with thunder and lightning; he can’t bear to see his natural shape. Tells him to return as an old Franciscan Friar! (“That holy shape becomes a devil best” – criticism of Catholicism) Devil returns as Mephostophilis. Faustus asks Mephostophilis about Lucifer and hell – the theological discussions begun immediately. Mephostophilis tries to warn Faustus about becoming a slave to Lucifer!! (cite I.3.75-81)

21 Doctor Faustus I Faustus is unimpressed, he suggests a pact with Lucifer: for 24 years, he asks for use of the powers of dark magic with Mephostophilis as his servant. Then Lucifer can claim his soul! (cite I.3.82-100). Mephostophilis leaves to present the proposal to his master, Lucifer. Faustus' aide Wagner forces Robin to be his servant for seven years, otherwise he will let lose lice upon him. Robin is not too impressed (he already has lice) Wagner summons two devils, which does the trick – comic relief.

22 Doctor Faustus 2 Mephostophilis returns with his master's answer: Lucifer agrees to the deal. Faustus is told to “write a deed of gift with thine own blood” (II.1. 36). Heavenly intervention: Faustus' blood dries unnaturally quickly before he can sign the pact. A second Intervention: Faustus signs the pact with his blood but a strange inscription appears on his arm: “Home fuge!” pact is presented in detail (cite 2.1. 95-15). Faust does not believe in “hell on earth”, requests a wife – given a female devil (“here’s a hot whore indeed!” 151).

23 Doctor Faustus 2 Theological discussions of creation, heaven and hell. Lucifer appears, tells Faustus not to think of Christ for he is damned! Faustus promises to abjure God forever (cite 2.2. 101-105) To distract him, Lucifer and Belzebub present demonic personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins. Entertainment: “O, how this sight doth delight my soul” Comic relief: stock character clowns Dick and Robin try to do magic spells from one of Faustus' books. Comic relief was an important feature of Elizabethan Drama, often parallel action as farce instead of tragedy.

24 Doctor Faustus 3 The chorus tells about the Faustus’ adventures and experiences flying on dragons through the universe. Faustus and his sidekick now travel to Rome to see the Pope, playing tricks on him (criticism of Catholicism). Faustus and Mephostophilis dress as Cardinals and rescue Bruno, a rival to the pope supported by the German emperor. When the masquerade is discovered, the real cardinals take the blame and are led to prison to be executed. Faustus is invisible and plays pranks on the pope. He snatches his dish, takes away his wine, etc... finally strikes the Pope!

25 Doctor Faustus 3 / 4 Comic Relief: Robin manages to conjure Mephostophilis, who is annoyed, turns Robin into an ape and Dick into a dog. Act 4 takes place at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Faustus is now famous as an astrologist, who provides entertainment through the use of black magic. Benvolio, a courtier, is introduced as an antagonist to Faustus. He is envious and distrustful. Faustus conjures the image of Alexander the Great for the emperor, while Benvolio pretends to fall asleep. Faustus put horns on Benvolio’s head, humiliating him in front of the emperor and the court. (Horns an allusion to cuckolding – i.e. his wife has been unfaithful). Pranks.

26 Doctor Faustus 4 After the Emperor has had a good laugh at poor Benvolio’s expense, he has Faustus remove the horns – “And hereafter sir, look you speak well of scholars” (4.2. 116). Benvolio and his friends resolve to kill the doctor for the humiliation that Benvolio had to endure. They lay an ambush; Benvolio cuts off Faustus’ head. While they discuss how to humiliate the dead body, Faustus rises alive, terrifying his slayers (cite 4.3.69-93). Slapstick comedy. Another prank: Faustus and the horse courser. Example of folk humor, getting even with unpopular social types. Note the pun on “horse-flesh” (whore’s flesh)

27 Doctor Faustus 4 Showdown between Faustus and a group of his drunken victims at the court of the Duke of Vanholt. Comic effect through Faustus' courtesy and the behaviour of the drunken party. All of the clowns whom Faustus has tricked are there. When they reproach Faustus with his deeds, he simply charms them, to the amusement of the nobles. First conjuring of Helen of Troy for the Duke. Faustus might have achieved great things, discovered new lands, revealed mysteries hidden beyond human understanding, but he has reduced himself to showing parlour tricks and playing pranks on the common people.

28 Doctor Faustus 5 Wagner enters and speaks about Faustus dying shortly. He has made his will and given his belongings to Wagner. Feasting and drinking with students – distractions in his final days. A scholar asks Faustus to conjure Helen of Troy, since they determined she was the most beautiful of all women. Helen of Troy appears, makes a profound effect on the men. An Old Man appears, gives Faustus another warning. He despairs and almost repents his sins (cite 5.1. 35-77). To distract Faustus, Mephistopheles gives him Helen “to glut the longing of his heart’s desire” (cite 5.1. 86-114).

29 Doctor Faustus 5 Beginning of the End. Lucifer comes from hell and asks Mephostophilis how Faustus “doth demean himself.” Mephostophilis responds that Faustus “numbs himself with idle fantasies” (cite 5.2. 11-19). The scholars visit Faustus a final time; he confesses his bargain with the devil. They urge him to repent, but he feels it is too late (cite 5.2. 40-65). The scholars leave to pray, he bids them farewell. Good and Bad Angels comment on Faustus and his errors (5.2. 106-139). Soliloquy with one hour left to live (cite 5.2. 140-197). The night is spent with “fearful shrieks and cries.”

30 Doctor Faustus 5 The ending is similar to medieval Morality Plays; the mouth of hell appears and swallows the unrepentant sinner. The Chorus provides an epilogue: Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight, And burned is Apollo's laurel-bough, That sometime grew within this learned man. Faustus is gone: regard his hellish fall, Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise, Only to wonder at unlawful things, Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits To practice more than heavenly power permits. (5.3. 1-8)

31 Doctor Faustus Important Themes 1. The Idea of Sin – acting contrary to the will of God. In making a pact with Lucifer, Faustus not only renounces God, but he deliberately chooses to swear alliance to the devil. His despair is a further sin – doubting God’s grace. Faustus has repeated admonitions to repent (Angels, Old Man, Scholars, etc.) – until the very last scene, where Marlowe seems to leave the Christian framework. To heighten the dramatic effect, there is no forgiveness when Faustus begs for it. Is Doctor Faustus a Renaissance Morality Play?

32 Doctor Faustus 2. Conflicting World Views Conflict between the value systems of the middle ages and the Renaissance (Early Modern Period). Scholar R.M. Dawkins famously remarked that Doctor Faustus tells “the story of a Renaissance man who had to pay the medieval price for being one.” The medieval world placed God at the center of existence, man and science were shunted aside. In the age of secular humanism, man was the center of existence; Faustus’ obsession with individual experience and knowledge made him a poster boy for the age (and a kindred spirit to Marlowe). Was Faustus as a humanist martyr?

33 Doctor Faustus 3. Power Corrupts In the beginning, Faustus has heroic plans, he wants to transcend ordinary limitations, expand the boundaries of science and unveil the secrets of the world (while making a little money and becoming famous, too). However, when Faustus gains his limitless power, he contents himself with cheap tricks for the nobility and even cheaper pranks for the commoners. His great individualism degrades into selfishness and debauchery. A tragedy of corrupted desire?

34 Doctor Faustus 4. The image of Man Divided Throughout the play, Faustus constantly wonders whether he should repent or not. He is caught between two desires: To do good and to serve God, or To grasp the power and the pleasure that Mephostophilis offers Symbols of this struggle within Faustus: The Good and the Bad Angel. A very Protestant idea (Martin Luther’s theology), that man is by nature weak and divided, and that one can be saved only by personal trust in God’s grace. Faustus as an illustration of Lutheran theology?

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