Doctor Faustus By Marlow Essay Research Paper

Doctor Faustus By Marlow Essay, Research Paper Doctor Faustus is a significant and masterful play written by Christopher Marlow. It is a unique play that it written during the beginnings of the

Doctor Faustus By Marlow Essay, Research Paper

Doctor Faustus is a significant and masterful play written by Christopher

Marlow. It is a unique play that it written during the beginnings of the

renaissance period and therefore neither solely Renaissance nor Medieval in

style. It is instead a great story of a man torn between the differences of the

outgoing Medieval Period and the incoming Renaissance told in a brilliant style

composed of the two distinct schools of thought. The brilliance of this play is

that it can be viewed from both a Medieval and Renaissance perspective. If Dr.

Faustus is interpreted from a Medieval perspective, it goes along with the same

principals and morals that the majority of medieval literature tried to instill;

that is, the righteousness of God and the Roman Catholic Church. In order to

make this story more effective, Marlow chooses to have Faustus deal with the

essence of evil, Lucifer, the banished angel who betrayed God. In a classic

satirical form the play shows Faustus’ downfall after straying from God’s plan

and enlisting the help of the devil to become greater than what God had planned

for him. Faustus also seems to want to not only stray from God and dominate

mankind, but also, supercede and overrule God’s wishes to an even further

extent. In Scene 3, Lines 110-111 we read: The emperor shall not live but by my

leave, Nor any potentate of Germany. In these lines Faustus expresses his desire

to hold control over all. Even the likes of the Holy Roman Emperor shall fall to

the power of his "black magic." Although the use of magic and the

character of the devil seems more of a parable-like story to modern day readers,

to the people of the time this was a very plausible story of a man who shunned

godliness and let greed and evil get the best of him. The existence of

supernatural entities, namely devil-influenced beings such as witches and

sorcerers, was very possible if not probable. Without the answers of science the

unexplained was often chalked up to the powers of the supernatural. From a

renaissance point of view, Dr. Faustus is a heroic tragedy. The renaissance

movement emphasized the power of the individual and the fulfillment of life. It

brought forth a desire for conquest, achievement and surmounting all obstacles.

In the play, Faustus, is not satisfied with his abilities, or as he saw them

limitations, as a human being. He did what he had to do to further advance his

accomplishments, striving to achieve his goals by any means necessary. In Scene

1, Lines 49-54 we read: These metaphysics of magicians, And necromantic books

are heavenly! Lines, circles, schemes, letters and characters! Ay, these are

those that Faustus most desires. O what a world of profit and delight, Of power,

of honor, of omnipotence. In this passage Faustus reveals his desire for the

powers that will bring him knowledge, but most importantly, fortune and fame.

This further illustrates the renaissance belief in taking control of your own

life and determining your own destiny. The tragedy of this story occurs when

despite Faustus’ attempts to gain knowledge and power beyond his reach, he

fails. He fails because his illusions of grandeur clouded the choices he makes.

Dr. Faustus is a man caught between traditions. He is trapped between the

religious Middle Ages and the man-centered Renaissance. This internal conflict

is transformed to external by the use of the Good and Evil Angels. The Good

Angel is Representative of the God-fearing Medieval Period that believes in

doing as God wishes, while the Evil Angel presents the views of a changing

society where the potential of self is explored, in this case, at whatever cost.

This is the type of conflict and transition that took place during this time.

Although the major literary periods are usually denoted with dates, it is

impossible for one period to abruptly end and the other begin. Instead it is a

gradual change that takes place as a result, or inspite of literary works such

as this one.