Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

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How much would one man be willing to give up for earthly power? Would he forfeit his soul? In Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, the protagonist Doctor Faustus forfeits his soul to Lucifer in exchange for 24 years with Lucifer’s powerful servant Mephistophilis under his control. Marlowe wrote the play in the 16th century, a time when religion was important in society (DelVecchio web). Marlowe focuses on this topic in the play, especially with Faustus. “Doctor Faustus is a play about religion” (DelVecchio web). He shows the moral decay of Faustus after accepting a deal with the devil. Doctor Faustus goes against the religious values of his time period and makes a deal with Lucifer for power. Marlowe makes it apparent through the questionable use of this power that Faustus is not a man that should control it. Marlowe uses the character Faustus to warn others of the seven deadly sins. One of the most apparent sins Marlowe emphasizes in Faustus is his greed. His greed is the reason he is able to overcome his feelings of guilt and accept Lucifer’s deal. Faustus openly admits how he will use his newfound power to satiate his greed when he says, “I’ll have them fly to India for gold, / Ransack the ocean for orient pearl, / And search all corners of the new-found world / For pleasant fruits and princely delicates” (Marlowe 5). Marlowe shows that even though Faustus pretends his reasons are noble, his real concerns are riches and luxuries. These riches and luxuries are more important to him than his soul or a chance at an eternal life in heaven. According to Mebane, “The ‘delight’ he experiences in his worldly pleasures has the bewitching power to delude him into seeing the things of this world as more valuable, more gener... ... middle of paper ... ...Inc., 1964: 112-119. DelVecchio, Doreen. “Thelogy’s Tragic Glass: The Christian Background to Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.” Open Access Dissertations and Theses. 1982. 19 Mar. 2014. . Larson, John. “Doctor Faustus—Selling His Soul to Make a Point.” Luminarium. 2010. 18 Mar. 2014 . Marlowe, Christopher. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Plano Libraries. Feb. 1997. 18 Mar. 2014 <>. Mebane, John S. Renaissance Magic and the Return of the Golden Age: The Occult Tradition and Marlowe, Jonson, and Shakespeare. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, 1989. Questia School. 18 Mar. 2014 .
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