Essay about The Deeper Meaning of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

Essay about The Deeper Meaning of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

Length: 1172 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Deeper Meaning of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus  


I do not agree with the frequently repeated comment that Doctor Faustus is an anti-intellectualist play that preaches that curiosity is dangerous. It is all too easy to see Faustus as the scholar, seeking knowledge, and his desire for knowledge that leads to his downfall. To confine the play to something so narrow is to ignore the deeper meaning behind the play. I believe that this deeper meaning is more important than the superficial idea that curiosity is wrong. I believe that the deeper meaning behind the play is the idea that in loosing sight of the spiritual level of existence, we loos sight of God. In doing so, we can no longer see God's mercy and love, and so ignore it. In ignoring it, we deny it, and for this are we damned.

It is fair to say that Faustus represents the quintessential renaissance man - it is his thirst for knowledge that drives him into his pact with Mephastophilis, indeed it is the Evil Angel that best summarises this:

Go forward, Faustus, in the famous art,

Wherein all nature's treasury is contained:

Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky,

Lord and commander of these elements.

Scene I, lines 74-77

It is the restless spirit of the renaissance that drives Faustus to seek knowledge. He has already attained what he can through more conventional means, his "bills (are) hung up as monuments", and his "common talk found aphorisms". Faustus compares himself to the most famous figures of the classical period; to Hippocrates, to Aristotle and to Galen. He sees himself as having come to the end of what he can learn through his human tools; he needs something that will allow him to move outside the realm of nature, somet...


... middle of paper ...


...deed, proverb has it that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Had Faustus not become so preoccupied with the indulgent of his physical pleasures (which he did to so great an extent that his reasoning and judgement began to atrophy and cloud), that he was blinded to the infinite mercy of God, he could have been saved, even at the last moment. Faustus is damned because he was too concerned with the mortal material world, and this concern blinded him to the immortal and immaterial world. He chose to forgo the infinite happiness of Heaven, so that he could indulge in transient happiness here on earth. This concern for material beauty (Helen) damned him eternally.

Works Cited:

Marlowe, Christopher. "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. Eds. M.H. Abrams et. al. New York: W.W. Norton and Co, 1993.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

A Comparison of Everyman and Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus Essay

- A Comparison of "Everyman" and Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" Everyman and Doctor Faustus are both Morality Plays, these are specifically plays that existed within the Medieval period. They were popular during this period as they were intended to instruct the audience in the Christian way and attitudes to life. The morality play is essentially an allegory written in dramatic form. In the fourteenth Century, morality plays were mainly based on the seven deadly sins as in everyman with each character representing each sin....   [tags: Everyman Doctor Faustus Essays]

Strong Essays
1152 words (3.3 pages)

Gluttony in Doctor Faustus Essay

- Gluttony in Doctor Faustus   Doctor Faustus is a scholar who questions all knowledge and finds it lacking.  Because none of his learning will allow him to transcend his mortal condition, he rejects God and forms a pact with Lucifer all the while pursuing the arts of black magic.  Of course, this is one more propaganda piece of Western Christianity attempting to argue that knowledge is dangerous and confining instead of rewarding and liberating.  It also suggests a Protestant parallel in its representation that one who believes in everything ends up believing in nothing.  However, if we cast aside its use as a socio-economic, ideological tool of manipulation, we can explore its character,...   [tags: Doctor Faustus Essays]

Strong Essays
1511 words (4.3 pages)

Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Modern Psychology Essays

- Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Modern Psychology Due to the fact that I recently finished reading Spirit and Will by Gerald May, I find my perception of Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus filtered through that book. May, a psychiatrist from the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C., makes a rather courageous attack on a sacred cow, modern psychology. He asserts that "Psychology is fundamentally objective, secular, and willful whereas the core identity of religion is mysterious, spiritual, and willing" (10)....   [tags: Doctor Faustus]

Strong Essays
948 words (2.7 pages)

Christopher Marlowe Protests: The Moral of Doctor Faustus Essay

- When Doctor Faustus was written, there was turmoil in Elizabethan society. The old medieval view made God the most important aspect of the world, while mankind and the natural world were ignored. This was giving way to the idea that mankind and the natural world were supreme. At first glance, it seems that Doctor Faustus was written with the medieval ideal in mind, however, I believe this is not so. I believe that Marlowe subscribed to the renaissance view of the world, and Doctor Faustus was intended to express Marlowe’s outrage at the consequences of seeking knowledge or thinking differently during the Elizabethan era....   [tags: turmoil in elizabethan society]

Strong Essays
898 words (2.6 pages)

From Divine Skepticism to Pleas for Divine Intervention Essays

- 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....   [tags: doctor faustus, christopher marlowe]

Strong Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Renaissance Authors and Psychological Depth in their Characters: Example of Marlowe´s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

- How do Renaissance Playwrights attempt to lend psychological depth to their characters. Marlowe's major dramas, Tamburlaine, The jew of Malta and Doctor Faustus, all portrays heroes who desperately seek power- the power of rule, of knowledge, and respectability. All his heroes are overreacher and are 'striving to get beyond the conventional boundaries established to contain the human will.' This paper will focus on Marlowe's well-known play: The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, in which Faustus seeks the mastery and voluptuous pleasure that come from forbbiden knowledge....   [tags: Playwrights, Society, Culture]

Strong Essays
728 words (2.1 pages)

The tragical history of Doctor Faustus Essay

- The tragical history of Doctor Faustus, which followed in the wake of Tamburlaine, is acclaimed by all as Marlowe's best play in which the leaven of fertile poetry and fearless imagination works wonders. Introduction: The tragical history of 'Doctor Faustus', which followed in the wake of 'Tamburlaine', is acclaimed by all as Marlowe's best play in which the leaven of fertile poetry and fearless imagination works wonders. The idea of a passionate struggle to reach beyond the grasp of ordinary mortals as its theme Marlowe takes this old story of the medieval magician who sells his soul to the Devil for twenty four years of pleasure and the gift of all knowledge and gives it a significance...   [tags: English Literature]

Strong Essays
1577 words (4.5 pages)

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Essay

- Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe Elizabeth I came to the throne of England during a time of intense religious turmoil and political uncertainty. By the end of her reign, England stood as the first officially Protestant nation in Europe; however, tensions between Protestants and the repressed Catholic minority continued to plague the nation. Much of the literature produced during the time of her reign reflected sensitivities to religion and resulting political intrigues. In his play Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe places the title character in a power struggle similar in form to those conflicts dominating Elizabethan life....   [tags: Doctor Faustus Christopher Marlowe Essays]

Strong Essays
1998 words (5.7 pages)

Essay about Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

- 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]

Strong Essays
1000 words (2.9 pages)

Marlowe's Doctor Faustus Essays

- 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]

Strong Essays
889 words (2.5 pages)