Doctor Faustus was written during 1588-92 (A text), by Christopher Marlowe (1564-93). The passage in question (1.1.121-150) is from a conversation between Faustus, the main protagonist, and two friends, who are trying to tempt him into practicing the art of necromancy. From this passage, I will describe some of the features of the language that I feel are distinctive. In addition, I will show how poetic technique and punctuation enhance these features and finally, demonstrate how they all convey meanings to the audience.
It is evident on first reading the passage that the language used is heightened and flamboyant, for example; ‘Like Almaine rutters with their horsemen’s staves’ (1.1.127). Figurative language, such as simile, is utilized here (Pacheco, p38), creating powerful imagery for the audience. Marlowe portrays the three friends as glamorous and their future achievements as worthwhile; however, he has subtle means of informing the audience that all is not as the characters anticipate.
Marlowe has incorporated the ambiguous word‘…perform’ (1.1.138) in this passage, which ‘…implies both active accomplishment and illusory fabrication…’ (O’Connor, 2003, p151). This illustrates that there is more to the unfolding story than is immediately apparent and a positive façade is presented, hinting that what the characters are reaching for, may be unobtainable. These features are integral, but there is poetic technique and punctuation to consider and the role they play in constructing the passage.
Pacheco describes the poetic style as blank verse and mainly Iambic pentameter, ‘…meter that closely reproduces the cadence of English speech’ (2008, page 35). The passage is essentially Iambic pentameter, with only a couple of lines...