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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the way in which Nathaniel Woodes's The Conflict of Conscience, offers a model for Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus in its post-Reformation story of a lapsed convert confronting the terrors of damnation. It argues that the dramatic excitement of Doctor Faustus as a play is intensely real even while we understand intellectually that only one outcome is possible. The dramatic excitement is indeed like that of The Conflict of Conscience, even if Woodes's play is poorly written by comparison. What both plays represent is the way in which English drama offered to Marlowe and to other late Elizabethan dramatists, including Shakespeare (especially in Macbeth), a potential for tragic greatness founded in the wrenching paradoxes of Calvinist theology.

Keywords: plays, post-Reformation, English drama, Calvinist theology

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