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The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Essay

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In Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Faustus tries to reach divinity through knowledge; this desire drives his pact with Lucifer. Adrian Eckersley proclaims in his literary journal, “Why doesn't Dr Faustus just repent? Adrian Eckersley compares Marlowe's unrepentant sinner with Claudius in Hamlet,” that once Faustus obtains supreme knowledge he is nothing special. This is not the case; the character, Faustus, obtains awesome familiarity in subjects only shared by God and the Devils. In the literary journal, “'Falling to a diuelish exercise': The Copernican Universe in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus,” Gabrielle Sugar argues that Faustus does not have total access to infinite knowledge. Since Mephistopheles will not disclose to Faustus whether Copernicus is correct or not, Sugar believes that he does not have knowledge that “exceeds human boundaries” (Sugar, LRC). Christopher Marlowe is not providing society with answers to the timeless inquiries of God and religion, he is only giving us the questions that we must ask ourselves.
Eckersley’s argument is that Faustus’ infinite knowledge is not that powerful. He writes that Faustus realizes he does not “have much real power” (Eckersley, LRC) in the middle acts of the play. He thinks that Faustus’ pranks and tricks are the full extent of his capabilities and that Marlowe does this to show that God does not have much power either, this argument is wrong. Eckersley thinks that Marlowe’s entire purpose of the play is to showcase how weak God actually is. What Eckersley misses is that Marlowe is not trying to send a one-dimensional message about the nature of God. Marlowe is not attempting to show that God does not exist or that he does exist and is indifferent to hum...


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Works Cited
Eckersley, Adrian. "Why Doesn't Dr Faustus Just Repent? Adrian Eckersley Compares Marlowe's Unrepentant Sinner with Claudius in Hamlet." The English Review 21.4 (2011): 5. Literature Resource Center. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. .

Marlowe, Christopher, and David Scott. Kastan. Doctor Faustus: A Two-text Edition (A-text, 1604 ; B-text, 1616) Contexts and Sources Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. Print.

Sugar, Gabrielle. "'Falling to a Diuelish Exercise': The Copernican Universe in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus." Early Theatre 12.1 (2009): 141.Literature Resource Center. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. .



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