Marlowe pp 177-187 | Cite as

The Instability of Faustus (1964)

  • J. B. Steane
Part of the Casebook Series book series (CASEBS)


If Faustus is a great work, it is also a flawed one. It is not merely a matter of two poor scenes and two which degenerate into nonsense, a sequence of trivial episodes and two occasions where the climax is disappointingly followed up. There is also, more seriously, a lack of sustained concentrated writing in places where one might have hoped for it, and often, by Shakespearean standards at any rate, a poverty of poetic texture. Sometimes, as one is thinking how to describe something in the play, a Shakespearean phrase comes to mind: Faustus, for instance, might be described as


Almost to Ielly with the Act of feare.

(Hamlet, I 11)


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) 1969

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  • J. B. Steane

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