Legally Speaking: State as Community in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus
8 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2008 Last revised: 9 Nov 2009
Date Written: December 9, 2008
Marlowe's Doctor Faustus appears to have been largely neglected by scholars in law and literature, despite its seeming promise in that arena. The paper first reads the play through the lens of a debate between Robin West and Richard Posner about autonomy and consent in Kafka, dredging up the bits and pieces of law and literature-type scholarship along the way. The paper then argues that it is important to remember that, at the time of the play's publication, there were actual laws outlawing pacts with the devil, and so Faustus can be read both as a metaphor and as the product of actual contemporary fears.
Keywords: Richard Posner, Robin West, Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Law and Literature
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