Doctor Faustus died a death that few could bear to imagine, much less experience. After knowing for many years when exactly he would die, he reached the stroke of the hour of his destiny in a cowardly, horrid demeanor. Finally, when the devils appeared at the stroke of midnight, tearing at his flesh as they draw him into his eternal torment, he screams for mercy without a soul, not even God Himself, to help him. However, what to consider Doctor John Faustus from Christopher Marlow's dramatic masterpiece The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is a very debatable issue. For example, one can see that he threw his life away for the sake of knowledge, becoming obsessed with the knowledge that he could possess. In this case, he is unarguably a medieval tragic hero. However, when considering the fact that he died for the sake of gaining knowledge, pushing the limits of what is possible in spite of obvious limitations and, eventually, paying the ultimate penalty, he could be considered a Renaissance martyr. These two points of view have their obvious differences, and depending on from what time period one chooses to place this piece of literature varies the way that the play is viewed. However, the idea of considering him a martyr has many flaws, several of which are evident when considering who Faustus was before he turned to necromancy and what he did once he obtained the powers of the universe. Therefore, inevitably, the audience in this play should realize that Faustus was a great man who did many great things, but because of his hubris and his lack of vision, he died the most tragic of heroes.
Christopher Marlowe was born on February 6, 1564 (Discoverin...
... middle of paper ...
...is truly merciful because he forgave such a blasphemous heathen as Faustus. Faustus could have become an example for all of mankind and proven that if he could be forgiven, then all could be forgiven. However, because he was stubborn, ignorant, and blind, he refused to see that he was never truly damned until he was drug by the devils into the heart of hell itself.
Discovering Christopher Marlowe
Henderson, Philip. Christopher Marlowe. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1974.
Marlowe, Christopher. The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe. Ed. by Fredson Bowers. Cambridge: CUP, 1973
Snow, Edward A. "Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and the Ends of Desire." Two Renaissance Mythmakers: Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson. Ed. Alvin Kernan. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Doctor Faustus as Apollonian Hero How long will a man lie i' th' earth ere he rot. - Hamlet, V, i, 168 The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus is Marlowe's misreading of the drama of the morality tradition, the Faust legend, and, ironically, his own Tamburlaine plays. In the development of the character of Doctor Faustus, we find one of the supreme artistic achievements of English dramatic literature, a milestone of artistic creativity and originality. The force of Marlowe's dramatic poetry resonates with lyrical intensity in its dialectic between world and will.... [tags: Doctor Faustus]
4836 words (13.8 pages)
- Marlowe's Doctor Faustus In Faustus' first speech in Act 1, my main feeling towards Faustus was not sympathy but irritation. I became aware of Faustus' arrogance and his impatience with ordinary learning, particularly with his referral to law as 'a petty case of paltry legacies.' He also constantly refers to himself as 'Faustus', reminding himself of his own importance. Other aspects of Faustus' character are revealed in the descriptive language he uses. He is 'ravish'd' by magic, and is 'glutted' with learning.... [tags: Marlowe Doctor Faustus Essays]
889 words (2.5 pages)
- The Tragic Downfall of Dr. Faustus Christopher Marlowe's play, its genre an English tragedy of the sixteenth century, presents the tragic conflict of the Faust theme in the tradition of medieval morality plays. The concepts of good and evil in these plays and their psychological implications reflect a historical background in which the church dominates the ethical and moral concepts of their time. Faustus defies society's norms and embraces the devil with courageous desperation, fully aware of the inevitable consequences, but incapable of being satisfied with his human limitations.... [tags: Doctor Faustus Essays]
1051 words (3 pages)
- C.S. Lewis once said “a proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” In Christopher Marlowe's most famous play, Doctor Faustus, he explores how power and greed corrupts a person through Faustus. Faustus is an intelligent and proud scholar who has studied all the Noble Sciences which begin with logic, then medicine, then law, and conclude with the highest of them all, divinity. However, even after reaching the peak of his studies, Faustus thirsts for further knowledge and power and turns to magic, believing it will turn him into "a mighty god" (I.i.59).... [tags: literary analysis, john larson]
1093 words (3.1 pages)
- Marlowe's dramatic activity comprises six brief years, from 1587 to 1593. Yet those six years produced six splendid plays. As the writer of genuine tragedy, all his works illustrated his individualistic conception of tragedy. The classical Greek conception modified by the Renaissance spirit, the conception which portrays `the struggle between the overweening soul, typically Renaissance in its insatiable ambition, and the limitations which it seeks to overcome'. Doctor Faustus was probably written in 1592, although the exact date of its composition is uncertain.... [tags: European Literature]
1050 words (3 pages)
- Faustus' Study and Opening Speech The scene now shifts to Faustus’s study, and Faustus’s opening speech about the various fields of scholarship reflects the academic setting of the scene. In proceeding through the various intellectual disciplines and citing authorities for each, he is following the dictates of medieval scholarship, which held that learning was based on the authority of the wise rather than on experimentation and new ideas. This soliloquy, then, marks Faustus’s rejection of this medieval model, as he sets aside each of the old authorities and resolves to strike out on his own in his quest to become powerful through magic.... [tags: Doctor Faustus Plays English Literature Essays]
3582 words (10.2 pages)
- A few days later, Doctor Faustus stands in a circle and tells himself to “begin thine incantations” (The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Scene 3. 5). Shortly after reciting the incantations and calling for Mephistopheles, Mephistopheles appears before Doctor Faustus. Mephistopheles explains to Faustus that he cannot serve him as he wishes because he is a “servant to great Lucifer” (The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Scene 3. 33). Even though Faustus cannot have Mephistopheles as his servant, his ambition for the various things he dreamt about are enough to make him sign his life away to Lucifer.... [tags: Bravery, Mission]
1107 words (3.2 pages)
- From the outset of Marlowe's play 'Doctor Faustus,' it is clear that Faustus is a man who is unwilling to accept the limitations of human knowledge. In seeking to become more than a man, with no regard for the spiritual consequences, he becomes an example to the religious audience of Marlowe's time of what happens when a man pursues knowledge undeterred by moral boundaries. From the outset of the play, Faustus appears to be driven by his thirst for knowledge. The chorus introduces him as 'gluttedâ€¦with learning's golden gifts,' and led by his desire to further expand his knowledge he 'surfeits upon cursed necromancy.' Here, I noticed that imagery connected with food and overindulgence is us... [tags: The Life and Death of Doctor Faustus]
1681 words (4.8 pages)
- Rafe and Robin in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus Rafe and Robin waltz into Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of D. Faustus in scene four and vanish three scenes later. Although they may appear trivial and even intrusive, Rafe and Robin bring much-needed comic relief to this tragic play. Imitating Doctor Faustus’ actions unwittingly, this pair of ostlers illuminates Faustus’ misuse of power. They also reflect Faustus’ character by acting as his parallel self. Behind their clownish antics, Rafe and Robin highlight Faustus’ downfall and evil’s power through comic relief, parody, and parallel.... [tags: Doctor Faustus]
1235 words (3.5 pages)
- Marlowe's Doctor Faustus Marlowe's representation of Doctor Faustus changes direction through the play. We follow the change in ambition and greed of a human being who seeks pleasure so much that he sells his soul to the devil for a number of years. Does the power that Faustus obtains corrupt him or is he merely dissatisfied with the power he has and is greedy for more. At the start of the play, Marlowe uses powerful language when referring to Faustus' search for knowledge. "O, What a world of profit and delight, of power, of honour, of omnipotence, is promis'd to the studious artisan".... [tags: Marlowe Doctor Faustus Essays]
1000 words (2.9 pages)