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What does Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus tell us about the author and the time at which the play was written? This free course, Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, will help you to discover the intricacies of the play and recognise how a knowledge of the historical and political background of the time can lead to a very different understanding of the author's intended meaning.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- read closely – analyse a passage from the play
- examine genre – what kind of play is Doctor Faustus?
- consider themes – what are the main themes or issues explored in the play?
- read historically – what are some of the connections between Doctor Faustus and the historical period in which it was written?
- read biographically – what, if any, insights does Doctor Faustus give us into the character and reputation of its author?
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Christopher Marlowe
- 2 Reading Doctor Faustus
- 3 Hero and author
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
This course is on Christopher Marlowe's famous play Doctor Faustus. It considers the play in relation to Marlowe's own reputation as a rule-breaker and outsider and asks whether the play criticises or seeks to arouse audience sympathy for its protagonist, who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for 24 years of power and pleasure. Is this pioneering drama a medieval morality play or a tragedy?
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 18th January 2016
Last updated on: Monday, 18th January 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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