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The tragical history of 'Doctor Faustus', which followed in the wake of 'Tamburlaine', is acclaimed by all as Marlowe's best play in which the leaven of fertile poetry and fearless imagination works wonders.

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Introduction: The tragical history of 'Doctor Faustus', which followed in the wake of 'Tamburlaine', is acclaimed by all as Marlowe's best play in which the leaven of fertile poetry and fearless imagination works wonders. The idea of a passionate struggle to reach beyond the grasp of ordinary mortals as its theme Marlowe takes this old story of the medieval magician who sells his soul to the Devil for twenty four years of pleasure and the gift of all knowledge and gives it a significance as in to that of such world old myths as Eve's eating the apple and Prometheus' defiance of Gods. Hence, making the Faustus legend a symbol of humanity's splendid struggle to reach the stars, as well as a tragedy of infinite aspiration ending in agony and remorse. Inspite of the critics and scholars being one in their opinion to recognize Christopher Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus' as one of the masterpieces of British drama there cannot be any denying the fact that the most glaring weakness of 'Doctor Faustus' lies in the lack of a well knit or an organic plot. Aristotle's definition of Tragedy : According to Aristotle 'Tragedy' in the real sense is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, ...read more.


Analysis of 'Doctor Faustus': Limitations & Drawbacks: A critical study of the play in the light of the above clearly reveals the drawbacks in the plot construction of 'Doctor Faustus'. Although the first few scenes, which create the initial incident of the plot, are well planned and when 'Faustus' is found to be discarding all other branches of knowledge to accept only the art of necromancy as a sole subject of his study the birth of conflict takes place. Then in the scenes in which Faustus raises the spirit of 'Mephistophillis' and ultimately sells his soul to the devil by writing a deed of gift in blood, creates a rising action and climax of the drama develops to a great extent on the right lines . But then comes the scene - specially the comic scenes which serve of little purpose in the development of the plot to reveal the 'd´┐Żnouement' or the falling action leading to the 'catastrophe'. From the stand point of plot-construction this middle portion of the play is the weakest. These scenes have been treated as separate episodes without any organic unity to with the structure of the drama .Although the beginning and the end have been nobely executed yet the middle remains still with no progress. ...read more.


Similarly the summoning of Mephistophillis, the signing of the contract, the Helen episode and the final scene are all might scenes that go a long way to establish Marlowe as a great Dramatist. But the minor incidents, which fill in the play, are of little moment; hence they are just a necessary bridging between the few great situations where the emotional and intellectual vacillations of Faustus ' mind are laid bare. Conclusion: Hence the fact remains that 'Doctor Faustus' is unquestionably a masterpiece by Christopher Marlowe and one of the greatest and the most powerful tragedy to be written before Shakespeare inspite of its flaws and limitations. But at the same time it is also clear that though the beginning of the play just like the end has been perfectly executed but the middle portion is weak and does not serve its purpose. As Levin puts it: "The structural weakness of the plot however corresponds to the anti-climax of the parable; it lays bare the gaps between the bright hopes of the initial scene and the abysmal consequences of the last". Therefore, the statement that Doctor Faustus has a beginning and an end but no middle can be accepted to some extent as the middle portion though existing is not relevant to the development of the play. ...read more.

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