Doctor Faustus Essays: The Appeal of Evil in Dr. Faustus

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The Appeal of Evil in Dr. Faustus Christopher Marlowe had a thorough idea of what his audience wanted. The audience of that time wanted to be wild and evil but due to the strong influence of the church this was not possible. Most people want to see violence, sin, and give in to temptation but could not because of the label that society and the church would place on them. Marlowe gave them a play where they could see and experience all of the things that people wanted to do but could not or would not because they were dangerous and sinful. In Act I Marlowe sets up the dramatic summoning of the Devil. First Marlowe lets Faustus describe the setting: Faustus. Now that the gloomy shadow of the night, Longing to view Orion’s drizzling look, Leaps from th’ antarctic world unto the sky And dims the welkin with her pitchy breath……(I.iii, 1-4) If we look at this passage we see many references to how the stage looked and what the atmosphere of the audience was like. First, Faustus states that the setting is now perfect to begin the summoning of the Devil. Darkness would cover the stage and the audience as the gloomy shadow of night dimmed everything. The darkness loomed so low and black that Orion could not even be seen. Faustus went on to describe the scent in the air, the scent of Pitch, the scent of Hell! The audience was mystified and horrified at the same time. Now that the setting has been set and piqued the audience’s interest, the incantations can begin: Faustus, begin thine incantations And try if devils will obey thy hest, Seeing thou hast prayed and sacrificed to them. Within this circle is Jehovah’s name Forward and backward anagrammatiized, Th’ abbreviated names of holy saints, Figures of every adjunct to the heavens, And the characters of signs and erring stars, By which the spirits are enforced to rise: (I.iii, 5-13) Here we see that Faustus starts to summon the Devils from the depths of Hell. Faustus claims that he has sacrificed and prayed to them, that he has made Jehovah’s name anagrammatiized. At this point the audience would have been actually frightened. They would be fearful of what God might do for Faustus taking the names of holy men and changing the letters around and spelling words from them.

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