, Research Paper
The Old Mans speech in version A of The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe seems to be coming from a kinder, more compassionate Old Man than in version B. In version A, it seems to be coming from someone who deeply cares about Dr. Faustus, and is talking from a friend s standpoint. In version B the Old Man seems to be talking from more of an authoritative position. One in which the Old Man is not a friend but someone assigned to reprimand Dr. Faustus for his wrongdoings.
In version A the Old Man talks softly and calmly of Dr. Faustus flagitious crimes of heinous sins and speaks of the celestial rest found in heaven, a place in which he can still repent and be admitted to. He speaks mostly of not what he has done wrong, but of what he needs to do in order to be saved by the savior sweet. To drop blood and mingle it with tears , regretful tears of Dr. Faustus heavy head filled with vile and loathsome filthiness , tears asking for forgiveness. It almost seems as if in this version there is a good chance Dr. Faustus will repent and go against the fait of him, foreshadowed earlier in the play.
Version B deals mostly with the Old Man telling Dr. Faustus what not to do, if he does not want to go to hell. He tells Dr. Faustus to leave this damned art and repent before it is too late, and he is banished from the sight of heaven. The Old Man speaks rather bluntly and frankly about what hell is all about instead of beating around the bush like it seems he does in version A. The Old Man after being so blunt then goes on to say that he is not speaking out of anger towards him, but out of tender love. The Old Man also says that this is just a friendly reprimanding, not so much a threat. Whether or not the Old Man is being truthful with this is up to the reader to decide.
Even through these differences the two passages convey the same basic message, repent before it is too late. Thus, my reading of the play at this point is not effected. The fait of Dr. Faustus is told to us early in the play through the reference to mythological Greek character Icarus, so there is not too much room for change in opinion while reading the play. This play also being a play of a tragic hero displaying a common trait of these heroes, hubris, you know this trait will be his downfall and lead to his demise.