On Faustus, the Smith Administration and the Queen

“God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!”

So the other day the University Gang went to see a garden production of Doctor Faustus. This post was originally going to be a review of that, but actually, it being a student production, it would have had absolutely no relevance to anyone outside of the University Gang. So this is going to be a Miscellaneous post instead, containing a few general thoughts on Faustus as well as a couple of other things.

Doctor Faustus is a 16th-century play by a certain Christopher Marlowe about a man who sells his soul to the devil in order to gain twenty-four years of “power” (which, in fact, manifests itself, rather underwhelmingly, as a megalomaniac demon and a handful of magic tricks).

My main gripe with Doctor Faustus is that the good doctor is clearly an idiot. There is literally no other way of explaining exactly why he decides that it is a good idea to sell his soul to the devil. The usual argument is “He was seduced by power”. Well, I wasn’t convinced. He did not look like he was having enough fun to want to damn his soul for eternity.This, in my view, is a major flaw. Despite the amazingness of the language and the rather impressive acting (Mephistopheles the Megalomaniac Demon, especially, was genuinely scary), Faustus never seemed like a real person because there was no real reason for him to do what he did.

Talking of good doctors, the BBC released a statement last night to the effect that Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, is leaving Doctor Who at the end of the year. Although this is something of a surprise, given all the recent soothing words from the BBC about the secure future of series 8 and the Eleventh Doctor, I can’t actually bring myself to care that much, beyond a vague hope that the departure of the Smith Administration will somehow make Doctor Who better again. Although Stephen Moffat shows no signs of leaving, so I do not hold out much hope of that. My only worry is about the whole 13-regenerations thing: although it was apparently refuted in an episode of The Sarah-Jane Adventures, it’s still, apparently, a canonical fact that the Doctor may only have 13 regenerations, so there are only two Doctors left. I realise this is a fairly insignificant thing to worry about. But I do.

On a more cheerful note, happy Coronation Day to everyone! Today is the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in Westminster Abbey, which is quite amazing when you think about it. Long may she reign, indeed. (This is the reason why the British National Anthem has taken the place of my Quote for the Day. In case you hadn’t realised.)

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