Essay about Faustus : A Tragic Hero Or An Antihero

Essay about Faustus : A Tragic Hero Or An Antihero

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There seems to be quite a debate on whether Faustus is a tragic hero or an antihero. Many people describe an antihero as someone who is “flawed,” a character that is corrupted, selfish, full of arrogance, and one who lacks heroic characteristics. An antihero can also be, the protagonist. In the play, Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe starts by describing Faustus’s accomplishments and gives the audience a background of where he comes from, where he was born, who his parents were, etc. Faustus soon realizes that even though God has given him the skills and intelligence to accomplish his aspirations, he still does not possess any “real” power. He is not satisfied with his knowledge and decides to practice black magic. “Necromantic books are heavenly/ that most Faustus desire” (I.i.49-51). He seeks out his friends who are “magicians” and summons up a demon named Mephostophilis. Even though Faustus was warned numerous times by the good angel to set aside his fascination with occultism and to focus on God, he chooses to listen to the wicked angel and sells his soul. Anyway, Faustus is an antihero because he is selfish, he lacks a sense of morality, and engages in devilry.
It seems that all Faustus ever wanted was power. He showed great knowledge, and, in fact, he was considered to be brilliant. He was a doctor, a lawyer, a philosopher, and a theologian. Although, Faustus had everything any man could ever need, he soon grew tired of it and craved more. Nothing was enough for Faustus, he was never pleased; he always craved more than what he could have. “Waxen wings did not mount above his reach, and, melting, heavens conspired his overthrow/ falling to his devilish exercise” (I.i.21-22). He was not content with having the knowledge he...


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...regarding Satan’s history. “Was not Lucifer an angel once? / Yes Faustus, and most dearly loved of God/ How comes it, then, that he is the prince of devils? / By aspiring pride and insolence, for which God threw him from the face of heaven” (I.iii.67-75). Although, Faustus had numerous times to ask for forgiveness, I think Lucifer is what held him back every time. His control over him is what made Faustus physically and mentally frail. He was tempted many times and was distracted by living in the “moment,” that he seem to forget the consequences for his actions. In my opinion, Faustus never really had “control” over himself. Once he sold his soul to the devil, he relied on Mephostophilis to do all the magic. He always had to ask Mephostophilis for permission to use magic. Faustus is an antihero due to his selfishness, lack of knowledge and involvement with necromancy

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