Dr. Faustus Essay, Research Paper
Repentance, Dr. Faustus’ Last Chance For Redemption
It can be argued that Doctor Faustus is damned from the moment of conception. Faustus is a man who does not comply to any set of moral codes or to any one religion. This raises the question of whether repentance is indeed acceptable or even obtainable by Faustus. I would argue that it is not.
Doctor Faustus asks for more than was intentionally made to him through God?s plan, yet it was God?s gift to him of his intellect that tempted Faustus to search beyond his appointed realm of knowledge . Faustus sells his soul for what he believes to be limitless power, with full knowledge as to the consequences of such a transaction. He knows the stakes of his gamble with the devil. Faustus? extensive education and cultural environment had certainly alerted him as to the dangers associated with necromancy and Lucifer.
Ironically, Faustus denies the existence of everything. His eventual torture in hell, the validity behind Mephastophilis? description of hell, his own imminent damnation if he does not repent, etc. He alienates himself from men, society and the world. The only aspect of his life which he does not deny, is his present physical reality.
Faustus asks Mephastophilis about the heavens, its purpose, and the powers of God and Lucifer. However, the answer to these questions are not found through Mephastophilis, as these are questions of faith. A modern man like Faustus cannot receive answers to questions like this, as he is unable to understand the concepts behind them. Faustus realizes this when he is met with the inadequacy of Mephastophilis answers, which consist of him solely saying: ?that a man can be saved by faith alone?. Faustus realizes that the pact with Lucifer fails to satisfy the power of conquest and omnipotence that Faustus had originally sought to gain.
Faustus is reminded of what he has alienated himself from, namely the Christian faith. He begins to see the error in his ways. This results in a series of attempts to repent. Faustus now sees that he is the only one responsible for his present condition. He begins to curse his life:
When I behold the heavens, then I repent
And curse thy, wicked Mephastophilis,
Because thou hast deprived me of those joys.
The introduction of the Old Man, is a good example of the morality conflict that Faustus is realizing:
Ah stay, good Faustus, stay thy desperate steps!
I see an angel hovers o?er thy head,
And with a vial full of precious grace
Offers to pour the same into thy soul!
Then call for mercy, and avoid despair.
Faustus? reaction to the old man?s words, shows his internal struggle. Faustus cannot choose between his imaginative conception of himself, which seems to allow him the freedom to repent, and the opposite more urgent conception of himself, whereby he cannot repent. Faustus is torn.
Now fully understanding his fate, Faustus becomes desperate. The self-revelation of his personal damnation manifests into a hunger that eats away at his insides. Faustus abuses his new given knowledge. He does not use it for good, or apply it to anything that would benefit mankind, hurting his chances of redemption.
His final damnation not only results from the immoral acts which he has committed throughout his life, nor his contract with the devil, but rather it is Faustus? pride that condemns him to eternal hell. Faustus? grim situation results from his own personal choices made by his own free will more than anything else. But, true to form, Faustus would rather retain his pride than admit that he is the one at fault. He blames his parents, his predestination and appeals to both Christ and Lucifer:
…O my Christ!-
…O spare my Lucifer!-
You stars that reined at my nativity
Now draw up Faustus like a foggy mist
…Cursed by the parents that engendered me!
Faustus would rather go to hell and rule, than go to heaven and obey God. His lack of faith, coupled by his rightful belief that he is too great a sinner to be saved, complete his damnation, ruin his chances for redemption, and seal his fate.
In conclusion, Faustus is far too proud a man. When given the choice between repenting or keeping his pride, Faustus foolishly chooses the direct route to hell. It is not due to any particular religion or religious thought that Faustus died in the end. Faustus choose to die and go to hell, even though he could have saved his soul by the simple act of repentance. Faustus was in control of his final destiny, but his inner turmoil refused to choose repentance as an acceptable option.