Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Theatre and Dance

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Amy Lehman

Abstract

This study examines plays by Christopher Marlowe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and David Mamet about Faustian figures. All three authors use the idea of a “deal with the devil” as an inspiration to examine human nature and hubris, but did so in distinct ways shaped by their personal styles, historical eras, and personal philosophies. By examining the common ground, and the areas of deviation, in these three plays separated by hundreds of years, this study will isolate and identify the key aspects of a Faustian Pact. Whereas Marlowe views Faustus as a rebel, whose fall from salvation comes due to his ego and pride, Goethe views these same qualities as indicative of true worthiness, and rewards Faust with salvation at the play’s end. Mamet, however, is less concerned with Faustus willingly giving up his soul and prefers to examine how Faustus’ pride blinded him to his situation, rather than leading him to any misadventures. Finally, this study will conclude with notes on the composition of a new Faustian play and use the research and information gleaned from the three preceding Faustus plays to justify its existence, its continuation of established tropes, and its subversion of others.

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