Comparison Between Christopher Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus' and William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'
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Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus versus William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
Both Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night deploy many of the same characteristic rhetorical features of 16th century verse dramas. Both plays are characterized by highly elaborate language, usually in iambic pentameter, although different types of verse structures are occasionally used to convey different moods or character types. Both plays combine tragedy and comedy within the same narrative, often showcasing comedic scenes after tragic ones and vice versa. However, Marlowe and Shakespeare's use of language reflect fundamentally different views of the human character in literature. Marlowe's language is essentially presentational. He tells rather than shows the listener what is going on and how Faustus' character is evolving. Shakespeare, in contrast, uses language to dramatize scenes in which characters undergo real, meaningful changes.
At the beginning of Doctor Faustus, the Chorus looks at the audience and explains what the play will be about. In the first soliloquy, Faustus is a learned scholar and is contemplating selling his soul to the devil. "What doctrine call you this, Che sera, sera, / What will be, shall be? Divinity, adieu." Faustus speaks in a language filled with literary allusions and complex verse. He summons Mephistopheles after being visited by two angels, one of whom counsels him to sell his soul, the other of whom tells him to be