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Essay on Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus - Is Dr. Faustus Crazy or Sane?

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Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus - Is Dr. Faustus Crazy or Sane?    


Christopher Marlowe's play, Dr. Faustus, is the story of the struggle of one man who is battling with himself over what he values most in life, and to what extent he will go to obtain what he desires. The battles over the control of one's ego and what a person values in their life are the two underlying struggles in this work. Faustus is a very educated and high member of society, but he was born in a lower class and has struggled all his life to be a wealthy person. He attains this opportunity to become wealthy when he learns how to call upon Satan, and he makes a deal with the devil to attain all the riches in life for his soul. Through out the play Faustus struggles with this decision and changes his mind back and forth with the devil to go back on the deal. Faustus is a human character, therefore he is tempted as all humans are and will be lead astray by false promises of happiness attained by wealth and knowledge. Dr. Faustus is a play dealing with the psychological effects that comes with the acquirement of wealth and knowledge in a non-ethical manner.

The obvious elements of a psychological battle are in the characters' attempts to control their ego and superego. The "good" angel is the trademark of the good thoughts and the Superego in the story, and the "bad" angel is the trademark of the ego in the story. The good angel always gives Faustus the opportunity to repent and come back to God, and that God will forgive him and allow him to enter into heaven. "Never too late, if Faustus will repent...Repent, and they shall never raze thy skin"(II, iii; 84,86-87). The good angel argues with the bad angel while Faustus contemplates repenting his sin...


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...irst, as being nothing.

Faustus is never happy with all the goods that he received, because there was always the battle in the back of his mind between controlling his ego and superego. Faustus' fear and lack of self worth ruled over him and gave way to his inability to ever attain happiness. The psychological effects that Faustus experienced were a loss of his identity, happiness, and loss of control in his life. The struggle that Faustus went through emotionally and physically were supposed to be controlled by him, but when the end came he had no control over anything in his life, with his destiny having already been set. When the play ended Faustus had realized that twenty four years of complete extravagance was not what happiness was, and the only happiness that he could attain would be given to him by a wife or partner in life, which he would never attain.


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