From Divine Skepticism to Pleas for Divine Intervention Essays

From Divine Skepticism to Pleas for Divine Intervention Essays

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How much influence can a person have in the world before he or she turns thirty years old? Most people never have any true influence in the world and even fewer have done so while being in their twenties, but Christopher Marlowe, a 16th century English dramatist, is one of those few. Within his writings, Marlowe is able to steer his audience and keep them between blasphemy and heroism during a time when the known world executed those who did not believe in God. Marlowe steers his audience within this fine line in Doctor Faustus, a play in which the titular character views magic as a vehicle to gain wealth, power, and adoration. Although the play was printed in 1604, ten after Marlowe’s death, it tackles the divine skepticism that was apparent at the time as Faustus does not believe in heaven or hell and sells his soul to Satan in exchange for magical powers. Perhaps, the most significant aspect of the play is Doctor Faustus’s last speech when he realizes that the devil will soon drag him to hell. In response, Faustus turns to God for salvation but, God does not respond to Faustus’s cries. Through a combination of imagery, diction, meter, tone and allusion, it is apparent that Faustus’s speech exposes the fact that Faustus solely seeks personal pleasure in his quest for the devil and in his future desire for God.
Once he realizes that he is going to suffer eternal damnation, Faustus looks towards God and heaven for safety. Faustus begins his speech at 11:00 PM, an hour before the devil promised to take him to hell and pleads, “Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,/That time may cease and midnight never come./Fair Nature’s eye, rise, rise again, and make/Perpetual day; or let this hour be but/A year, a month, a week, a na...

... middle of paper ...

...ifer because Faustus himself is at fault for being deprived of the joys of heaven. He sought the devil because he did not believe in heaven and wanted to experience earthly pleasures; however, once he realized that he was damned, Faustus seeks and believes in God and wants to experience the very same heavenly joys that first thought of as vile. It is evident that Faustus only wants to feel joyous: he does not want to feel pain in hell; he simply wants the power and notoriety that come with being one of Satan’s disciples.

Works Cited

"Latin Proverbs, Mottoes, Phrases, and Words: Group O." English-Word Information. N.p., n.d.
Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Marlowe, Christopher. Doctor Faustus: A Two-Text Edition (A-Text,1604; B-Text, 1616)
Contexts and Sources Criticism. Ed. David Scott Kastan. 4th ed. New York: W.W.
Norton, 2005. Print.

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