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Overreachers, a Look at Doctor Faustus and Satan Essay

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Free will creates in angels and humanity the capacity to becoming an overreacher (Bakeless, 34). The inherent over-reaching quality leads Faustus of Christopher Marlowe’s “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus’’ and John Milton’s ‘‘Paradise Lost’s Satan’’ both to hell (Boas and Marlowe, 23). However, if the “hell” concept was eliminated from these texts, both Faustus and Satan might still be considered overreachers who are ambitious and exercise their free will in detrimental ways. This is due to, “Before man is death and life, evil and good, that which he shall choose shall be given to him” (Marlowe). In Paradise Lost, it is seen that Satan had to exercise his own will, and this was in contrary to the will of God, “thou against his thy will/ chose freely” (Eliot, 8). All creatures of God who fall in Paradise Lost are “sufficient to have stood, though free to fall (Fluchere and Henri, 32).

Faustus, a man who is brilliant, tends to have reached the natural knowledge limits. He is an early sixteenth century scholar in the German city of Wittenburg (Gregg, 5). He is fiery, arrogant and has a thirst for knowledge. Faustus is an intellectual, who is familiar with issues such as demon astrology and summoning that is usually not taken to be an academic subject by the current universities. Faustus makes the decision of selling his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and earthly power, as well as twenty-four years of an additional life. He goes on to waste his time on low tricks and self-indulgence. Faustus is seen to be the key character in the play, which consists of few characters that are seen to be truly developed. Mephastophilis is the devil who appears at the summoning of Faustus', as well as the devil that has the role...


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...abethans. New York: Hill and Wang, 1967.Print
Gregg, W. W. "The Damnation of Faustus," in The Modern Language Review, 1946.Print
Marcus, Leah S. Recent Studies in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama. No. 2 ed. Vol. 32. N.p.: Rice University, 1992. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. JSTOR. Web. 8 Dec. 2013. .
Marlowe, Christopher. “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2006. 501-534.Print.
Marlowe, Christopher, and David Wootton. Doctor Faustus with The English Faust Book. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2005. Google EBook, 1 Sept. 2005. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.
Tillyard, E. M. W. The Elizabethan World Picture. New York: Vintage Books, 1959.Print
"Christian Theology." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Aug. 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2013.


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