Doctor Faustus: A Deal with the Devil

Let me preface this by apologizing, for I am about to include one of my favourite tv shows in this blog post. I have two good reasons: 1) Because I can, and 2) Because it actually has something to do with the text.

So this week our assigned reading was Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. For those unfamiliar with the text, it is about a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for power and knowledge.

You may be thinking, What?! Why would someone do such a crazy and stupid thing?!

Well, in one of favourite shows, Supernatural, this theme is one that is brought up often. What must be going on in someone’s head to make a deal with the devil, especially as, historically speaking, the devil doesn’t seem like a very trust-worthy guy.

In Supernatural, the main character’s have often made deals with demons and devils alike, usually for a good reason. In their cases, they do it to save family members, or to try to right a wrong. Sometimes even, to save the world

Unlike them, Faustus does not seem to do it for others, or the greater good. His reasons are for him, and eventually lead to his demise (surprise, surprise!).

This question is one I have always been curious about: in our day and age, what would it take for someone to make a deal with the devil? Knowing full well it may not end nicely?

What would possess someone to do something so risky? Extreme poverty, sickness, depression?

It makes you wonder what we as humans are capable of doing if we really want something enough.


Born to be different

So I happened by my copy of Antigone in my town’s used book store. I bought it before we had known what editions we would need, but somehow fate led me to buy the exact edition we would be using. It was a used copy, and there were some minor notes inside. One thing that struck me from the beginning was on page 20, the official first page of the play, there was a note beside the character description of Antigone.

Antigone daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta

Scribbled beside it in pencil it said:

– Born to oppose.

From the beginning of the play I tried to understand what the previous owner had meant. Having read Oedipus Rex, I immediately thought of the title character’s strife to break out of fate’s grasp. Both Antigone’s mother and father tried to deny fate, and opposed what the prophets had told them. But as we know, it didn’t work out well for either of them.

Could this be what the mysterious note meant?

Or could it have to do with the origins of Antigone’s name, as discussed by Professor Crawford today in his lecture. Anti means against, while gone has many translations. The one’s that fit most seem to be birth/motherhood/offspring,  bends/angles/corners, or gonos which means seed or semen. So could he or she have meant that Antigone’s own name means to be against bending to the will, to be against the role of woman in her time?

Maybe. But I also think that Antigone is less “Born to Oppose”, and more “Born ahead of her time”. From the beginning of the play she is shown as a strong female character, unafraid of Kreon like her sister Ismene. She has no fear of disobeying his rule, and doing what she believes is right. Her sister even says “We are women, born unfit to battle men” (23). Yet, nothing deters Antigone from her goal.

This could be because by this point she has nothing to lose (why does everyone always seem to die?!) but I like to think of it as her conscious decision to not let the rules of her time govern her. I’d like to think of her as some Athenian feminist.

So maybe I’ll never know exactly what the previous owner had meant, but reading this book, I don’t think either of us are far off.


So, welcome to my blog fellow Arts One peeps.

My name is Alexandra, but most people call me by my nickname which is Ola. I honestly respond to Alex or Ola, so feel free to yell out whichever one.

I have a lot of things I enjoy and a ton of hobbies, so I’m not going to bore you with everything. Realistically though, I probably have something in common with you!

I am a lifeguard and swim instructor, and love my job. I am a field hockey player (captain in high school, wha whaaat!), a horse back rider, an actor, and a musician. I have played piano for about 14 years and alto saxophone for 6 years. I love travelling, and one of my favourite and life changing trips was when I flew to the Dominican Republic with a group of people and lived in a small mountain village where we built houses and spent time with the locals. I also love to read and write (hello, arts one!) and hope to one day publish a book. I love reading YA fiction, but also enjoy more classical pieces like the ones we are reading. I was one of those kids whose parents had to tell them to stop reading, since I never wanted to do my other homework. I am also fluent in Polish and French.

Well that’s all I can think of for now about me! As to why I chose Arts One, I was scared of coming to University as I was pursing English and Psychology, since I knew my class sizes would be HUGE. When I heard how much one on one time we would receive with professors and other students, I was super interested. I thought the challenge would be interesting, and it would force me to read books that I normally would not pick up on my own. Plus, as a very opinionated person, I thought it would be awesome to voice mine and hear others’.

Anyways, I think this is sufficiently long. I hope to get to know all of you!

Ola 🙂