Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

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This essay takes a look at how the given passage from Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus reflects the play as a whole, and what the passage contributes to the play. Doctor Faustus deals with many issues, for instance: the failure of ‘Renaissance man—of his dreams and aspirations and, more particularly, his failures and illusions.’ This idea of overreaching is central to the excerpt. Moreover, religion plays a large role in the extract, and continues to resonate throughout the entire play. This paper looks at both, the overreaching Renaissance man and religion, closely to show the importance of the passage under analysis to the complete work. Moreover, during Marlowe’s time, drama was considered to be ‘a satanic opposition to the Word of God’; therefore, this essay will determine whether Doctor Faustus was originally created to challenge or subvert such criticism. Furthermore, the poetic style, rhetorical devices, and intertextuality Marlowe employs are analysed to show how they may be different to the rest of the play, and how this affects the play as a whole. It is important to recognise that Marlowe’s personal life and beliefs may have had an impact on his work; however, this paper focuses on the play itself, and does not draw parallels with Marlowe and, the protagonist, Faustus. All in all, this essay considers whether one can see the entirety of the play in the chosen section. William Hazlitt considers the character of Faustus to be a ‘personification of the pride of will and eagerness of curiosity, sublimed beyond the reach of fear and remorse.’ This is exemplified when Faustus decides to surrender his soul, disregarding all reprimands in order for him to gain more power over the span of ‘four-and-twenty years’. Prec... ... middle of paper ... ...ion to English Renaissance Tragedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 163-173. Hazlitt, William, ‘Critics on Marlowe: 1592-1930’, in Judith O’Neill (ed.), Critics on Marlowe: Readings in Literary Criticism IV (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1969) pp. 9-27. Healy, Thomas, ‘Doctor Faustus’, in Patrick Cheney (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Marlowe, Christopher, Doctor Faustus: A Norton Critical Edition (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2005). Masinton, Charles G., ‘Faustus and the Failure of Renaissance Man’, in Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus: A Norton Critical Edition (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2005), pp. 344-52. McDonald, Russ, ‘Marlowe and Style’, in Patrick Cheney (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
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