Dr. Faustus Essay, Research Paper
Faustus’s Mortal Flaw
The play Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe, is a story that shows the many human flaws inside people, and how they affect not only life but also the afterlife. Choices are a huge part of the path of life and the direction we take. The consequences of or bad choices can lead to punishments unthinkable to most. This is the case in the character of Doctor Faustus.
Dr. Faustus’s main character flaw was his impulsiveness due to his selfish and greedy demeanour. This is something that affected him repeatedly throughout the play. It is shown in his quick decision to deal with the devil and sign away his soul, although, he doesn’t sign away his soul until Act two, scene one. Lines 95 to 117 show the details in which he signs his soul to the devil. “Ay, take it, and the devil give thee good of it!” Faustus has made a decision that will affect his eternity, a never ending lapse of time. All Faustus can think about is the twenty-four years in which he will have Mephistopheles to complete almost any task his heart desires. His quick decisions are due to his wanting too much, too easily. Greed was inside Faustus, which made him easy prey to the devil. The devil takes advantage of Faustus’s impulses and the greed that consumed Faustus’s heart.
His impulses are also apparent in his acts after the devil empowers him with Mephostophilis. Faustus allows his anger to get the best of him and ensues with quick retaliation. One example of this is shown in Act four, scene two when Faustus takes Bevolio up on his arrogant remark about Actaeon. “Ay ay, and I am content too. And thou bring Alexander and his paramour before the Emperor, I’ll be Actaeon and turn into a stag.” (Page 71, lines 51-54) Faustus beats him to it, and while Benvolio was sticking his head out the window to see the Emperor, Faustus made horns sprout out from Benvolio’s head. His ruckus in trying to get in the window caused many people to come and see Benvolio in such a way. The Emperor tells Faustus that Benvolio had learned his lesson, and that he should make the horns disappear from upon Benvolio’s head. Faustus found much joy in Benvolio’s fear, and also in the commanding presence he had created for himself. The respect he had gained for himself had sprouted out of fear of him, which would not be there if not for Mephostophilis and the Devil. If he had not had the power of evil, Faustus would have had to just bite his tongue and deal with being belittled.
The impulse that gets Faustus in the end, is his struggle to not repent, then repent, and not repent, and then repent. This cycle is the end of him. Pages 95 to 100 show how Faustus is so easily swayed by what is the best deal he can get for himself. He begins to repent when he thinks of the eternity he will spend in hell. Faustus is scared of the eternity factor, that there is never an end, whether two days or ten thousand years. Faustus begins now to weigh the choices he had made for himself, whereas he should have weighed them before making the choice of signing his soul to the devil. He doesn’t know what will become of him in hell, so he calls upon God. He begs for God’s forgiveness, but is told that it is too late in lines 121-122. “And now, pour soul, must thy good angel leave thee, the jaws of hell are open to receive thee,” speaks the Good angel, and Faustus begins to realize that he is just too late and the mistakes he had made were way too severe. The Good angel leaves Faustus and he quickly realizes that he has sinned against Lucifer and will now suffer more in hell because of that. He calls upon both Lucifer and God to take pity upon him, shown in the lines 151-156. Neither take pity and Faustus is left with the life he had created for himself, and no one can save him from that.
In the end, Faustus met his maker, which was himself and the monsters that lived inside of him. Greed, anger, jealousy and impulsiveness brewed inside Faustus and capsized him. His mortal character flaw taught him in the end, that it isn’t what you amount to during life, but the changes you can make to yourself to improve the outside world. Quick fixes and easy living can compromise eternity and eternity is the last and longest stop in a person
The Cherry Orchard: Critical Analysis
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov is about a Russian family that is unable
to prevent its beloved estate from being sold in an auction due to financial problems.
The play has been dubbed a tragedy by many of its latter producers. However, Chekhov
labelled his play a farce, or more of a comedy. Although this play has a very tragic
backdrop of Russia s casualty-ridden involvement in both World Wars and the
Communist Revolution, the characters and their situations suggest a light-hearted tone,
even though they struggle against the upcoming loss of the orchard. Apathy and passivity
plague the characters and contribute often to the comic side of things. Sometimes,
however, the passivity erupts the tragic flaws of the characters as they fail to save the
Yet another tragic element in the play is the inability of the characters to
distinguish reality from appearances. The whole family, including its servants, seem to
believe that everything is under control when in actuality, it is far out of control. Only
Lopakhin seems to have a grasp on the situation and is attempting to avoid the loss of the
orchard. Mrs. Ranevsky is blind by her passivity which shows as she continues to lead
the extravagant life she has led up until the current dilemma. The family is compelled to
not show their despair possibly because they think if the problem isn t evident, it is not
there. They conceal their situation by throwing mass parties, keeping servants, and
lending money to their neighbors. Although everything looks fine on the outside, the
reality on the inside doesn t look so good. This is eventually proven by the loss of the
The final display of tragedy in Chekhov s The Cherry Orchard is the
consequences of choices made by the characters. The members of the Ranevsky family
are the only victims from the choices made in the play as they choose to remain passive
and let the auction consume their estate. Since the Ranevsky family remained passive,
their estate fell into the hands of Lopakhin who purchased it at the auction. It is ironic in
two ways since Lopakhin s father was a serf on the once wealthy estate and also that he
had tried to help the family prevent the estate from being sold. He benefited from the
choices made by the Ranevsky family. Another example of this is Pishchik and his
finance dilemma. He allows his estate to be mined and eventually makes enough money
to pay his debts; although he pays Mrs. Ranevsky back, he is too late to help in her time
of need. Chekhov uses this as a theme to blame consequences on those who refuse to act
in a situation to save themselves. This shows how the tragedy falls primarily on the
Ranevsky family in the end because of their actions, or lack thereof.
Chekhov s final play The Cherry Orchard is a masterpiece in the way it
intertwines tragedy and comedy into one dialogue. This play succeeded in telling a story
while it shined in its most comic moments, and dulled in its tragic mourning. The
perception of whether this is a comedy or a tragedy is a battle uselessly fought. The play
clearly exhibits both a comic perception as well as a tragic one. The comedy, although
more directly comes from the characters themselves, would be half as noticeable without
the tragic occurrences of the family and those surrounding them. Just as with comedy,
the tragic moments would not seem as tragic without the comic outbursts of the
characters and their repeated failing actions. Chekhov intended The Cherry Orchard to
be a comedy or farce; almost all of the producers that chose to interpret The Cherry
Orchard did so as a tragedy. Clearly it is neither. It incorporates both.