Gluttony in Doctor Faustus
Doctor Faustus is a scholar who questions all knowledge and finds it lacking. Because none of his learning will allow him to transcend his mortal condition, he rejects God and forms a pact with Lucifer all the while pursuing the arts of black magic. Of course, this is one more propaganda piece of Western Christianity attempting to argue that knowledge is dangerous and confining instead of rewarding and liberating. It also suggests a Protestant parallel in its representation that one who believes in everything ends up believing in nothing. However, if we cast aside its use as a socio-economic, ideological tool of manipulation, we can explore its character, action and themes without suffering too much offense as open-minded scholars.
In a play of five acts, twenty scenes and more than 70 pages of typed text, Gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins, consumes a mere 13 lines. While such economy of space and expression is atypical of Gluttony, it is not typical of Marlowe who surfeits our senses with images of gluttonous, swollen, and surfeited allusions. In fact, Faustus appears to be a fathead because his head has become swollen in self-conceit due to his attempt to understand more than it is within the power of humans to know. According to Marlowe (23-24), "Till swoll'n with cunning, of a self-conceit,/His waxen wings did mount above his reach/And melting, heavens conspired his overthrow!/For falling to a devlish exercise/And glutted now with learning's golden gifts/He surfeits upon cursed necromancy/Nothing so sweet as magic is to him/Which he prefers before his chiefest bliss-/And this the man that in his study sits."
Gluttony, personified, only has two dialogue exchanges with Faus...
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Fitzhenry, R. I. Barnes & Noble Book of Quotations. New York, Barnes & Noble Books, 1986.
Marlowe, C. Doctor Faustus. Barnet, S. (ed.) New York, Signet Classics, 1969.
The student may wish to begin the essay with several of the following quotes:
Puritanism - the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy. H. L. Mencken
Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it. George Bernard Shaw
Men prefer to believe that they are degenerated angels, rather than elevated apes. W. Winwood Roade
As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague interests. Charles Darwin
God is dead. F. Neitzsche
When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. Sigmund Freud (Barnes & Noble Book of Quotations, 310-312)
Through out the novel Siddhartha had constantly taken risks that he believed would lead him to nirvana. He would take these risks even if it meant leaving his family, his best friend, and having to live as a poor man searching for himself. Siddhartha has many teachers during his journey. Although he had many teachers he believed that with or without them he would have learned what he needed to learn to obtain nirvana.
In Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, Unity is a reflecting theme of this novel and in life. Unity is first introduced by means of the river and by the mystical word "Om." Siddhartha's quest for knowledge began when he left his father and sought the teachings of the Samanas. By becoming a Samana Siddhartha had to give up all of his possessions and learn to survive with practically nothing. He quickly picked up all of the Samanas' tricks like meditating, abandonment of the Self, fasting, and holding of the breath. By abandoning the Self, Siddhartha left himself and took on many other forms and became many other things. At first, this excited Siddhartha and he craved more. He took on the shape and life of everything, but he would always return to himself. After he began to notice this endless cycle he realized how dissatisfied it really made him. He had learned all the noble tools the samanas had taught for attaining the innermost Being that is no longer Self, yet even after mastering all of the arts he never progressed further than his cycle of abandoning his Self and returning to it.
In Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, the ill-fated protagonist serves as stark example of what is to come of man when he strays from God’s grace. In the play, Dr. Faustus deliberately shuns religion and rationalizes his ever-unsatisfied pursuit of knowledge, ultimately leading to a pact with the demon Mephistopheles. The Doctor’s sinful actions and inability to repent are a display of his own free choices and how he willingly chooses his downfall. A key scene in which Faustus ignores a warning of his fate-to-come is when Mephistopheles presents an outdated and unfulfilling explanation of the cosmos. While some critics have argued his lacking description of the universe is simply to torment Faustus, upon further scrutiny it becomes evident this is only one of many red flags Faustus disregards out of pride in intelligence, a reflection of his deliberate choosing to discount God.
Having attained all that he desires from the knowledge of man, Marlowe’s character Faustus turns to the only remaining school of thought that he feels he must master which is the art of necromancy. In his pursuits, he manages to summon the devil Mephistopheles, arch demon of hell, and strikes a deal to trade his immortal soul with Lucifer in exchange for being granted an infinite amount of power and knowledge that extends even beyond the limits of human understanding. However in the process of negotiating the terms of his pact, it becomes clear that Faust is in a constant state of uncertainty in terms of whether he should repent and forsake the arrangement or simply go through with it. This underlying theme of internal struggle is introduced very early and reappears in later acts with the appearance of established binaries that suggest a theme of division not only among the character of John Faustus, but within the written text as a whole. This suggests that Faustus is meant to serve as a symbol for the divided nature of man and the consequences of failing to negotiate the struggles that are a result of the divided self.
Ambition, intelligence, and will are all attributes that can help one to succeed in life. What of these when they are used to strive for power? These attributes of the human mind turn into arrogance, ignorance and, at the extreme, (lead to) eternal damnation - (as) seen in Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, and similarly in society today. Faustus is enticed to reach for more power than is attainable through mortal means: "Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits/ To practice more than heavenly power permits"(Epil. ll.7-8). In his ignorance, he gives up his soul.
Christopher Marlowe’s 14th century play “The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus” demonstrates not how the Devil can lead mankind to temptation, but how mankind through free-will can ultimately lead itself to suffering through sin. I believe that Marlowe heavily uses Christian doctrine through the actions of John Faustus in order to criticize those who do not partake in or see the seriousness of religion.
In the play Doctor Faustus the main character sells his soul to the devil and later dies and is sent to hell. A question that comes to mind when reading this book is, "Does Doctor Faustus have a Christian moral?" Even though he is persuaded to sell his soul to the devil he still may have some Christian beliefs. Some of the dialogue in the play gives some signals that tell the reader if Faustus has a Christian moral. The Cultural Studies method is shown in this paper because we are talking about someone's beliefs or morals. In this play, Marlowe shows Dr. Faustus's religious beliefs.
The Justified True Belief (JTB) theory of knowledge, often attributed to Plato , is a fairly straightforward theory of knowledge. It states that something must be true if person S believes proposition P, proposition P is true, and S is justified in believing in believing that P is true . While many consider the JTB theory to be vital to the understanding of knowledge, some, such as American Philosopher Edmund Gettier, believe that it is flawed. I tend to agree with Gettier and others who object to the JTB theory as an adequate theory of knowledge, as the JTB theory allows for a type of implied confirmation bias that can lead people to be justified in believing they know something even though it isn’t true.
Doctor Faustus can only be described as a man that had a fervent hunger for power. The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, or, which is commonly known as, just ‘Doctor Faustus’, is an Elizabethan story written by Christian Marlowe. The work represents the tragic life of a scholar, John Faustus, who later finds himself into damnation because of his decision to practice sorcery. Since he had deliberately sold his soul to the devil, he gains incredible knowledge and power through his involvement of necromancy. Though he feels he has endless power, he is later forced to face his downfall. When his 24 year period, the time he had agreed to, is over, he is taken and dragged to Hell realizing his lack of good sense.
Dr. Faustus Dr. Faustus, written by Christopher, is the story of a man that represents the common human dissatisfaction with being human. He sells his soul to the devil for what he believes to be limitless power, with full logical knowledge as to the consequences of such a transaction. He knows the stakes of his gamble with the devil. His extensive education and his cultural environment had certainly alerted him as to the dangers associated with Lucifer.
A brilliant scholar, Dr. Faustus’ thirst for more knowledge and power ultimately drive him to an eternity of damnation. No longer satisfied with worldly knowledge, Faustus turns to Necromancy, or black magic, which offers him new otherworldly knowledge, and thus, power. His goes on to live a life that many only dream of, but his tragic end was one of nightmares. Although some may argue that for all his faults, he was not a truly evil man, and thus did not deserve an eternity of damnation. However, this essay will attempt to prove that, despite his pleas for forgiveness, and his claims that he was tricked by the devil, Dr. Faustus was a smart man who knew full well what he was doing when he signed the pact with the devil, and acted on complete free will, but also that he was given countless chances to gain salvation and forgiveness, but willfully chose to continue on his dark path. Dr. Faustus’ fate was determined not by trickery on the part of the devil, but rather by his own words and actions.
Free will creates in angels and humanity the capacity to becoming an overreacher (Bakeless, 34). The inherent over-reaching quality leads Faustus of Christopher Marlowe’s “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus’’ and John Milton’s ‘‘Paradise Lost’s Satan’’ both to hell (Boas and Marlowe, 23). However, if the “hell” concept was eliminated from these texts, both Faustus and Satan might still be considered overreachers who are ambitious and exercise their free will in detrimental ways. This is due to, “Before man is death and life, evil and good, that which he shall choose shall be given to him” (Marlowe). In Paradise Lost, it is seen that Satan had to exercise his own will, and this was in contrary to the will of God, “thou against his thy will/ chose freely” (Eliot, 8). All creatures of God who fall in Paradise Lost are “sufficient to have stood, though free to fall (Fluchere and Henri, 32).
The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus is known as one of the many books to display a popular understanding of the evolution of modern Western Science. The story is about a medieval doctor who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. However, he starts to fear hell as his motive to repent for his wrongdoings haunts him. This story takes place in Europe during the 16th century, which was when major changes in philosophy and science occurred. Unfortunately, this was also when conflict between Medieval and Renaissance values occurred. People who held values from the Medieval era strongly believed in God and religion while those with Renaissance values focused on science and the natural world. This conflict is