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A Divided Self: The Many Facets of Faustus Essay examples

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Having attained all that he desires from the knowledge of man, Marlowe’s character Faustus turns to the only remaining school of thought that he feels he must master which is the art of necromancy. In his pursuits, he manages to summon the devil Mephistopheles, arch demon of hell, and strikes a deal to trade his immortal soul with Lucifer in exchange for being granted an infinite amount of power and knowledge that extends even beyond the limits of human understanding. However in the process of negotiating the terms of his pact, it becomes clear that Faust is in a constant state of uncertainty in terms of whether he should repent and forsake the arrangement or simply go through with it. This underlying theme of internal struggle is introduced very early and reappears in later acts with the appearance of established binaries that suggest a theme of division not only among the character of John Faustus, but within the written text as a whole. This suggests that Faustus is meant to serve as a symbol for the divided nature of man and the consequences of failing to negotiate the struggles that are a result of the divided self.
As first introduced, Dr. Faustus appears to be an individual full of ambition that has made a name for himself within the academic community and is well respected by his peers. However, because the knowledge of man was something that he had appeared to have easily mastered, Faust becomes discontent with it much like a child tires of an old toy. Here Marlowe establishes the binary of want versus need, in which a gift is bestowed upon an individual who has put forth little to no effort in obtaining it and as a result possesses an overall lack of appreciation for its value. This applies to the young doctor in the sen...


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Bevington, David M; Rasmussen, Eric. “Doctor Faustus A- and B- texts (1604, 1616): Christopher Marlowe and his collaborator and revisers.” Manchester, England: Manchester University Press. (1962). Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Dec. 2013 (Bevington)
Guenther, Genevieve. "Why Devils Came When Faustus Called Them." Modern Philology 109.1 (2011): 46-70. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Dec. 2013. (Guenther)
Kostić, Milena. "The Faustian Motif in Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus." Facta Universititas 7.2 (2009): 209-22. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
Okerlund, A.N. "The Intellectual Folly Of Dr. Faustus." Studies In Philology 74.3 (1977): 258. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.
Reynolds, James A. "Marlowe's Dr. Faustus: 'Be A Divine In Show' And 'When All Is Done, Divinity Is Best'." American Notes & Queries 13.9 (1975): 131. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.



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