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Farouk Campbell

Doctor Faustus at the Young Vic

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe charts the downfall of the Wittenberg scholar, Dr John Faustus.

Daring to go beyond the realms of human knowledge of Aristotle and Galen and travelling the murky paths of dark necromancy, Faustus challenges the conventions and studies the metaphysics of Magicians to gain "knowledge, power, omnipotence and pleasure".

Pride being the hallmark of most tragedies and the down fall of all men is no less apparent in Faustus. Making a pack with the devil he dams himself and reveals his pride and desires: "A sound magician is a mighty god."

Is Faustus relevant to audiences today? Yes. The religious aspects may have abated but the concepts of pride and pleasure gratification as well as stretching the ethical debate in the quest to expand knowledge is an extremely relevant parallel. While this is a must for all Jude Law fans and a chance to see Marlow's controversial masterpiece the play was not sufficiently gripping for me. It suffers from a lack of intensity in displaying the tragic and the doom Faustus engulfs himself in. Richard McCabe as Mephistophilis and Annette Badland as Beelzebub (et al) gave fine performances.
Young Vic

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