Essay: William Shakespeare

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  • Subject area(s): English literature essays
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  • Published on: February 6, 2016
  • File format: Text
  • Number of pages: 2
  • William Shakespeare
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I was taught William Shakespeare is THE ultimate playwright, and perhaps this statement is not far from truth. However, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of Shakespeare. It is my firm belief that theatre is losing its vigor. Theatrical companies and college seasons have grown stale because they are afraid to take chances. They continually perform the same popular plays again and again because, quite frankly, they get butts in their seats. Do not get me wrong, I will concur that theatre is in fact a business and our theatre department more than ever needs funds. However, I believe even more so the business of theatre is art, not the other way around. As an artist, it is my duty to excite an audience, create controversy, and tell a story. Thus, I believe the best way to perform is creating something “fresh”. What do I mean by “fresh”? Simply said, please no more overdone Shakespearian works like Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet. These shows, though great, have grown stale. Still, “fresh” does not limit a season to contemporary works. What I mean is that we do not need Shakespeare to revive classics. Instead, let Millikin teach our audiences to want surprises, not pacifiers, to be intrigued with a story they have never before heard, and to learn of an artist of conceivably equal caliber to Shakespeare. Henceforth, I believe Christopher Marlowe’s “Dr. Faustus” is a fresh contender for next years’ 2015-16 season. “Dr. Faustus” is worth performing because not only is the play relevant, it is relatable. The combination of these elements will, in turn, bring opportunity for exciting spectacle that will astound the Millikin community.
Christopher Marlowe’s tragically captivating “Dr. Fautus” exists as ahead of its time today as it was when it initially shocked spectators in the 16th century. While written in a Renaissance-esque language that may challenge Millikin audiences, it is this very language that creates tremendous poetry and literary merit within its pages. For example in one line spoken by Faustus, Marlowe employs a myriad of poetic devices such as alliteration, historical allusion, and imagery, “Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss: Her lips sucks forth my soul, see where it flies!”(Marlowe 52). Here, Marlow alludes to the historical figure Helen of Troy and the audience can vividly envision the heavenly Helen kissing Faustus as she simultaneously “sucks forth” his soul. The innovative play was the first to successfully implement a combination of iambic pentameter and blank verse, a form of verse that later became Shakespeare’s trademark. MORE
With todays ‘s society bursting with TV, movies, and video games concerning dark magic, the plot of Dr. Faustus alone will charm young contemporary audiences. Doctor Faustus is Christopher Marlowe’s most renowned and controversial work. In the medieval legend, supposedly based on a true man, Doctor Faustus was an intellectual who had come to the hopeless recognition that his capacity for knowledge was inadequate. To excel further his all-encompassing knowledge of the universe, Doctor Faustus made a deal with the devil. Thus, he acquired the infinite supremacy he coveted — but at a grim price. In 24 years, he would be required to surrender a irreplaceable possession: his soul. The plot intrigues all audiences with Faustus surreptitiously tempted by the devil to slip deeper and deeper into sin. The pursuit of power and the lure of temptation remain themes that undoubtedly intrigue. But the question remains: should we revive Marlowe’s play? Undeniably, it is comprised of transcendent poetry and a provocative topic, but what else does it have to offer? It is relatable.
The admonitory play creates a engaging lens for scrutinizing our own temptations and sing. The legend emphasizes society’s reliance on knowledge and our predisposition for abusing it. The storyline seems to easily fit within our 21st century values. Today, one might say knowledge is what defines us as a species; it’s what makes us cultured and productive. However, it’s also what makes us dangerous and unpredictable, just as necromancy was to Faustus. In short, the possession and use of knowledge explains more than anything else why humankind is a force to be reckoned with we— collectively are Faustus; But, unlike the original Doctor Faustus, our pact with the devil is not blood binding: We didn’t sign anything, our devil is the ever-expanding technology that surrounds us. At every turn, we are faced with our sin: too much knowledge. In today’s society, we do not need a pact with the devil to learn secrets of the universe. One might simply type it into Google. And just like Faustus the sin is not so much the overflow of knowledge itself but what you do with it. If we accept that knowledge is repeatedly used to accomplish a goal or task, then it is not inconceivable that there are those who go beyond and use knowledge to reach their own selfish end, oftentimes at the expenditure of others. Furthermore, knowledge, like most other resources has the potential to be stashed or refused to others. Although being dangerous doesn’t mean that something is not useful, we must recognize that some knowledge can be more dangerous than others, particularly that which can be used to kill or oppress people. The ways that people use knowledge for power are diverse, widespread, and potentially dangerous. Consequently, with all this knowledge comes responsibility. Thus, through the performance of Christopher Marlowe’s morality play, the audience will inevitably face their in ner demons, making the show not only brilliant, but also thought provoking, and relevant.

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