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Deconstructing Faust - Essay Example

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The basic story begins with a scholar or artist who is unsatisfied in some way, either in a search for power, a search for internal worth, or a search for artistic expression. This…
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Deconstructing Faust
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Download file to see previous pages There are many main versions of the play, but the three most popular versions include Christopher Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus” published in the 16th century, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Faust” in the 1700s and Charles Gounod’s opera “Faust” first performed in the 1800s. It is in how these versions vary that one can begin to track the different ways in which the character’s progression can be shown as well as the various ways in which the story can be used to make poignant social commentary. By the same token, looking at the individual discussion points included in certain reviews of these productions can provide an intense understanding of the production as a whole, both in terms of its context as well as in terms of its emotional impact. Within Tim Ashley’s review of the 2004 Royal Opera House production of Gounod’s 1859 opera Faust, one can see both how the play separates itself from other renditions of the Faust legend and how the critic attempts to separate himself from other critics in terms of presentation and reception theory.
In his review, Ashley points out several distinguishing characteristics of Gounod’s play that differ from other versions of the Faust legend, such as those produced by Christopher Marlowe or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The play described by Ashley begins with a reflection of the playwright himself as the set and the character teeter totter between the majestic sounds of the organ loft at Notre Dame and the more directly personal adoration of the theatrical stage. Faust himself is shown as the aging composer still trying to find satisfaction among the two. In this opening alone, there is significant difference to the other Faust legends simply through the focus on the artistic side of Faust as opposed to the scholarly character most of the other legends depict. For instance, Marlowe’s Faustus is presented as a truly ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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