The drama begins with the Chorus informing the audience about the chief character, Faustus, a bookman, like Icarus, “ [ whose ] waxen wings did mount above his range ” ( Prologue, 21 ) . In the really first scene of the drama, Faustus talks about doctrine, medical specialty, jurisprudence, and divinity and is hesitating about all. Last he chooses to analyze thaumaturgy. He rejects divinity. He is “ glutted more with amour propre ” ( Scene I, 18 ) and he prefers black thaumaturgy to what he preferred before ; he asserts: “ . . . Divinity, adios! ” ( Scene I, 48 ) , that is, he rejects to be in heaven and reunite with God.
The Good and the Evil Angel that appear in several parts of the drama are both existent and symbolic ; they represent Faustus ‘ interior struggle. They appear in the most dramatic scenes where Faustus is in struggle. They appear offering advice as Faustus is fixing to subscribe in blood a contract so as to give his psyche to Lucifer. They besides appear at the clip Faustus is speaking to Mephistopheles about atoning. Here, while Good Angel urges Faustus to atone and wish God ‘s clemency, Evil Angel tells him non to atone. Finally he agrees with Evil Angel.
Good ANGEL. O Faustus, lay that damned book aside,
And gaze non on it, lest it tempt thy psyche,
And heap God ‘s heavy wrath upon thy caput:
Read, read the Scriptures ; that is blasphemy.
EVIL ANGEL. Go frontward, Faustus, in that celebrated art,
Wherein all nature ‘s exchequer is contained:
Be thou on Earth as Jove is in the sky,
Lord and commanding officer of these elements.[ Exeunt ] ( Scene I, 70-77 )
Good ANGEL. Sweet Faustus, leave that deplorable art.
FAUSTUS. Contrition, supplication, penitence: what of them?
Good ANGEL. O they are agencies to convey thee unto Eden.
EVIL ANGEL. Rather semblances, fruits of madness,
That makes work forces foolish that do swear them most. ( Scene V, 15-19 )
The angels do look at the same clip in the drama ; and they leave together every bit good. Interestingly plenty, it is ever the Good Angel that appears foremost and it is Evil Angel that speaks the last words. If we think of the angels symbolically, the Good Angel ‘s looking foremost likely refers to Faustus ‘ scruples and Evil Angel ‘s last words may typify Faustus ‘ self-temptation.
Valdes and Cornelius – prestidigitators – will learn Faustus black humanistic disciplines. As Faustus is about to subscribe in blood a contract so as to give his psyche to Lucifer, the Good and Evil Angels enter once more. As Faustus marks the contract he asks approximately snake pit, nevertheless convince himself that “ snake pit ‘s a fable ” ( Scene V, 126 ) despite Mephistopheles ‘ honest response:
FAUSTUS. Was non that Lucifer an angel one time?
MEPHIST. Yes Faustus, and most in a heartfelt way loved of God.
FAUSTUS. How comes it so that he is prince of Satans?
MEPHIST. O, by draw a bead oning pride and crust,
For which God threw him from the face of Eden.
FAUSTUS. And what are you that live with Lucifer?
MEPHIST. Unhappy liquors that fell with Lucifer,
Conspired against our God with Lucifer,
And are for of all time damned with Lucifer.
FAUSTUS. Where are you damned?
MEPHIST. In snake pit.
FAUSTUS. How comes it so that thou art out of snake pit?
MEPHIST. Why this is snake pit, nor am I out of it.
Think’st 1000 that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the ageless joys of Eden,
Am non tormented with 10 thousand snake pits
In being deprived of everlasting cloud nine!
O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
Which work stoppage a panic to my fainting psyche. ( Scene IV, 64-82 )
There is the inquiry of pick in the drama. Faustus has chosen to subscribe the contract. He is wholly free in his pick since Mephistopheles is rather honorable in his attitude. Faustus ‘ mistake here is to disregard penitence as an option. He besides misunderstands the construct of “ snake pit, ” believing that it is merely physical torture. Faustus is incognizant about the fact that snake pit is a sort of psychological torture which is in fact a portion of his calamity.
In the 5th scene, Faustus asks Mephistopheles who made the universe ( Scene V, 237 ) . Mephistopheles avoids replying Faustus ‘ inquiry and introduces seven deathly wickednesss: Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, and Lechery ( Scene V, 276 ) .
In altering the spectacle to the Seven Deadly Sins, Marlowe has non merely opened the manner for some moral sarcasm, but he has intentionally and ironically presented the pageant as the seeable “ satisfaction ” of Faustus. Faustus himself responds with the greatest delectation, blasphemously comparing his joy in the emanation with Adam ‘s joy at the sight of Paradise on the twenty-four hours of his creative activity. Delight in the Seven Deadly Sins is a far call from the reply to who made the universe, and it is non without point that, after this episode, Faustus makes no more bad enquiries of any sort. ( Cole 1962, 214 )
As Fermor asserts, the character of Faustus “ is non that of one adult male, but of adult male himself, of Everyman ” ( Fermor 84 ) . In Everyman “ the tragic defect – pride, wilfulness – causes sightlessness to the nature and fate of adult male ; . . . hubris destroys the apprehension of the nature and restrictions of cognition ” ( Cole 1962, 234 ) . Faustus ‘ actions are wholly humanist. As Cole has suggested, Faustus “ ne’er causes anyone ‘s decease ” ( Cole 1995, 124 ) ; he causes his ain damnation.
Dr. Faustus suggests that because human existences are animals in whom good and immoralities are tragically intermingled, the procedure of purification which the prestidigitators described is impossible. The human aspiration to achieve a godlike position and to exercise benevolent control over history is about necessarily corrupted by selfish desires for wealth, animal indulgence, and political power. The refusal to acknowledge this is Faustus ‘ fatal mistake, as is absolutely clear when he reads from Jerome ‘s Bible: “ If we say that we haue no sinne, / We deceiue our selues ” ( 69-70 ) . ( Mebane 135 )
The subject of visual aspect versus world is an of import one throughout the drama. Faustus ‘ confuses visual aspect and world and wants to travel beyond what he sees.
By Aristotelean definition, a calamity is about a hero whose fatal defect ends himself. Doctor Faustus is a typical Aristotelean calamity where a adult male of high importance – a scholar – out of pride, sells his psyche to Devil. The tragic ruin of the hero is when he marks the contract with the Satan. There is besides katharsis in the Aristotelean sense ; the audiences feel commiseration and fright ; commiseration for Faustus enduring his calamity, so fright of themselves seting themselves in Faustus ‘ topographic point. Faustus can atone before the terminal of the drama but he prefers non to ; he misleads himself:
Faust: My bosom ‘s so hardned I can non atone!
Scarce can I call redemption, religion, or heaven,
But fearful reverberations booms in mine ears,
“ Faustus, thou are damned ” ( Scene V, 192-95 )
And long ere this I should hold slain my ego,
Had non sweet pleasance conquered deep desperation.
Have non I made blind Homer sing to me
Of Alexander ‘s love, and Oenon ‘s decease? ( Scene V, 195-98 ) .
Why should I decease so, or meanly desperation?
I am resolved! Faustus shall ne’er repent. ( Scene V, 205- 206 )
Doctor Faustus represents the attitudes of Renaissance England, it symbolizes the Renaissance person who wants to travel beyond his perceptual experience. Marlowe reflects the Renaissance perceptual experience of ground that “ gives human existences the power to spot, ” every bit good as “ the power to take ” and eventually signifiers “ the footing for moral duty ” ( Cole 1995, 127 ) . Therefore Faustus himself is responsible for his ain actions ; it is Faustus who causes his ain autumn. He suffers from personal duty of free human pick and the inevitable effects of his ain pick.
Primary Source ( s )
- Marlowe, Christopher. “ Doctor Faustus ” Norton Anthology of English Literature 6th edition vol. 1. Ed. Abrams, M.H. New York: M.H. Norton & A ; Company: 1993.
- Cole, Douglas. Christopher Marlowe and the Renaissance of Tragedy. Westport, CT. : 1995.
- _ . Suffering and Evil in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe. Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press: 1962.
- Fermor, U.M. Ellis. Christopher Marlowe. London, Methuen: 1927.
- Mebane, John S. Renaissance Magic and the Return of the Golden Age: The Occult Tradition and Marlowe, Jonson, and Shakespeare. Lincoln, NE. , University of Nebraska Press: 1989.