A Historicism Approach to Doctor Faustus
A young man studies theology his entire life and in turn receives his Doctrine in this field. One lonesome and desperate night, he decides to ignore God and fulfill his deepest desires. Hence, he conjures up a servant of Lucifer and agrees to sell his soul only if he can receive whatever or whomever he desires. This is the story of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
Doctor Faustus is a doctor of theology that wants no limits on what he can know or see or do so he sells his soul to the devil to gain these desires. While reading or observing Marlowe's fascinating play the reader or observer should apply the "New Historicism Approach," and take in to consideration Marlowe's and the 1590s society's beliefs, habits of thought, and biases about various concepts of obtaining the "forbidden knowledge". Like the people of the 1590s, Doctor Faustus searches for the "forbidden knowledge", begins to deny God during his quest for greater knowledge, and gains nothing from his vain activities throughout his lifetime. After these listed characteristics have been established one can begin to visualize the relationship between Marlowe's, Doctor Faustus and the beliefs and thoughts of the people of the 1590s.
Christopher Marlowe uses his eager character, Doctor Faustus, to display the people of the 1590s deep desire to grasp the "forbidden knowledge." A doctor of theology, one that unseemingly knows everything about his study of religion begins to inquire about the enhancement of his knowledge: "Negromantic books are heavenly; Lines, circles, letters, characters-Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires" (Act I: Scene I: Line 48-5...
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...hether or not they should have published or talked about their findings arouse in their minds. Therefore, just as Faustus regrets his actions so do the people of the 1590s regret their discovers' impression on others of their time.
Summing up Christopher Marlowe's conceptions about the people of the 1590s through Doctor Faustus are clearly established when using the historicism approach. Persons of the later centuries' societies, such as Charles Darwin and Galileo, can be related to Doctor Faustus and looked upon as a Faust figure because in many ways their characteristics are alike. One can very well observe that the people of the 1590s just as Doctor Faustus lead several searches for the "forbidden knowledge" that lead to the unimaginable. These very attempts to obtain the unobtainable caused their loss of faith in God and gain of fewer benefits.
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