Dr. Faustus Essay: Satirizing Renaissance Humanism

Dr. Faustus Essay: Satirizing Renaissance Humanism

Length: 758 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Satirizing Renaissance Humanism In Dr. Faustus

 
  In Dr. Faustus, Christopher Marlowe has vividly drawn up the character of an intelligent, learned man tragically seduced by the lure of power greater than he was mortally meant to have. The character of Dr. Faustus is, in conception, an ideal of humanism, but Marlowe has taken him and shown him to be damned nonetheless, thus satirizing the ideals of Renaissance Humanism.

 

M. H. Abram's A Glossary of Literary Terms defines Renaissance Humanism, stating that some of the key concepts of the philosophy centered around "the dignity and central position of human beings in the universe" as reasoning creatures, as well as downplaying the "'animal' passions" of the individual. The mode of the thought also "stressed the need for a rounded development of and individual's diverse powers... as opposed to merely technical or specialized training." Finally, all of this was synthesized into and perhaps defined by their tendency to minimize the prevalent Christian ideal of innate corruption and withdrawal from the present, flawed world in anticipation of heaven. (p. 83)

 

The character of Faustus is reasoning and very aware of the moral (or immoral) status of what he is undertaking. His opening speech is devoted to working out logically why he is willing to sacrifice both the road to honest knowledge and his soul in favor of more power. (I, 1-63) He exhibits, in his search for power, anything but animal passion; he indeed exhibits a chilling logic as he talks himself out of the possible delights of heaven. Not only is he intelligent, he also demonstrates a broad base of learning, another quality admired and upheld by humanists.

 

In several sections of the play, F...


... middle of paper ...


... with the world hereafter. (p. 83)

 

Christopher Marlowe was not a Humanist, as evidenced by how clearly the tragedy that was Dr. Faustus exemplified the downfall of a humanist and reinforced themes which conflicted with the basic tenets presented by Renaissance Humanism. If this reading is to be believed, the man was in fact violently and intelligently opposed to it. It is difficult to imagine a more effective and thorough attack on the mentality and methodology of the humanist than Dr. Faustus.

 

Works Cited and Consulted:

 

Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 7th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999.

 

Marlowe, Christopher Dr Faustus in ed. WB Worthen. The Harcourt Brace Anthology of Drama, 2nd edn., Texas: Harcourt Brace 1996.

 

Steane, J.B Marlowe Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1965.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Major Changes: Humanism and The Renaissance Essay example

- During the 15th century, Northern Europe as well as Italy witnessed a serious revival of drawing accompanied by sculpture, painting and architecture. This revival was termed as the Renaissance. The revival effected major changes onto the representation of pictorial space on these two regions. These changes on that occurred on pictorial space representation were mostly driven by new idea of “Humanism”. Humanism philosophy practically outwitted religious and secular belief. As a result, the philosophy shifted a lot f importance to the dignity and value of the individual (Prescott, 2005; Fuga, 2006)....   [tags: The Renaissance]

Better Essays
939 words (2.7 pages)

Humanism and Its Effects on Renaissance Art Essay examples

- Beginning roughly around the year 1400 an era in Europe began; one that would shape the ideas and the lives of men. This era of rebirth or renaissance came within the fifteenth century through the revival of classical texts. One central effect of the Renaissance was the production of a new intellectual idea: humanism. Humanism being defined as a, “[t]erm invented in the 19th century. . . [regarding] developments relating to the revival of Classical literature and learning in European culture from roughly 1300 to 1600” left its mark on all of Europe leaving nothing untouched not even the artist....   [tags: European Renaissance Essays]

Better Essays
1048 words (3 pages)

Humanism the Gateway to Individualism Essay

- The greatest and most influential intellectual movement of Renaissance Italy was humanism. The humanists believed that the Greek and Latin classics contained all the lessons one needed to lead a moral and effective life and were the best models for a person to live by. They developed a new kind of classical scholarship, with which they corrected and tried to understand the works of the Greeks and Romans, which was important to them. Both the republic elites of Florence and Venice, and the ruling families of Milan, Ferrara, and Urbino hired humanists to teach their children classical morality and to write elegant, classical letters, histories, and propaganda....   [tags: renaissance, italian renaissance, humanist]

Better Essays
515 words (1.5 pages)

The Impact of Renaissance on the Present Essay

- Beginning with prehistoric man, the growth and evolvement of various civilizations and the events which occurred, in one manner or another, aided in shaping the modern world that we live in today. Some of the more influential elements of everyday modern life are the result of cultural and societal changing events, which transpired throughout the years 1350-1600. During the period known today as the “Renaissance” (1350-1600), the world of art, the boundaries of marriage, and secular viewpoints were forever revolutionized, through the development and spread of “Renaissance Humanism”, which today, still affects modern day life....   [tags: Renaissance Humanism, History, Accomplishments]

Better Essays
1196 words (3.4 pages)

Is Michelangelo a Ture Renaissance Artist? Essay

- Was Michelangelo a true Renaissance artist. An even better question would be what made Michelangelo a true Renaissance artist. Michelangelo will always be a true Renaissance artist because his artwork showed freedom of thought and it was his own choice to paint in biblical themes because the church was no longer in control. He also showed emotion and attention to detail in his works. Michelangelo also went to the Morgues and studied the dead during his free time to get a better look at the human body and its aura....   [tags: renaissance, artists, humanism]

Better Essays
608 words (1.7 pages)

Essay about Humanism in European Renaisaance

- The European Renaissance was a time of great change. The people of that time were beginning to take an interest in learning and also began to follow the idea of humanism. Humanism was a way of life where a person would reject most religious beliefs and focus on the here and now. One of the main things Humanist believed in was individual achievement. This gave many artists the opportunity to be known around Europe for his or her talent and not be criticized for being selfish. This is exactly what Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, or more commonly known as Donatello did....   [tags: achievement, selfish, artist]

Better Essays
1006 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about The Relationship Between HUmanists and the Renaissance Era

- The issues of interpreting humanism in regards to art are increased by the idea of renaissance art. Some students unhesitatingly talk of the artistry in the age of humanism and even the art of humanism Insofar as they engaged themselves with the visible artistry. Traditional or modern all’antica, they did so because of what they considered typical passions. For their aspect, many performers and performances of art shown a information about sources, preferences and values in favor among not only humanists, but customers and other sections of the community knowledgeable along humanist collections....   [tags: humanism, renaissance art, artistry]

Better Essays
647 words (1.8 pages)

The Renaissance and Humanism Essay

- The Renaissance and Humanism You may wonder about, "The Renaissance" and its relationship to another term, "humanism" which fits into the same time period. If you check the dictionary, you will find that both terms can be used in a broad sense or more specifically. Humanism refers generally to a "devotion to the humanities: literary culture." (My definitions come from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary). According to that definition we should all be humanists. The other general meaning is the one that disturbs the fundamentalists who attack secular humanism: "a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially a philosophy that usually rejects supe...   [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers]

Better Essays
1790 words (5.1 pages)

Renaissance Humanism Essay

- Many diverse ideas flourished during the European Renaissance which had a lasting impact on the world. Humanism is a worldview and a moral philosophy that considers humans to be of primary importance. The aspect of humanism first thrived in 14th century Italy, and later spread north in the 15th century. Initially humanistic ideas about education were quickly adopted by the Italian upper class. The Italian ideas and attitudes towards life and learning impacted nobility in other parts of Europe. They were able to accept and adapt to this new lifestyle....   [tags: Moral Philosophy, Human Nature]

Better Essays
820 words (2.3 pages)

Humanism and the Renaissance Essay

- Humanism and Renaissance Humanism brought MAN to the forefront causing a veritable cultural revolution. Reason and the will to better understand the world fomented progress in the scientific fields. Intellectuals throughout Europe came under the influence of humanism which was disseminated with the invention of the printing press and the guidance of princes. Finally, humanism had a religious impact as well with the protestant reformation and bringing religious pluralism to the west.--- Humanism and the Renaissance ============================ Crises at the the end of the middle ages, i.e....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
2018 words (5.8 pages)