The emergence of the Renaissance is evident in Doctor Faustus by the clash between the church and the introduction of knowledge through science. The Reformation caused a dramatic change at that particular time, England had converted from predominantly catholic to a protestant country. This shift becomes apparent in Doctor Faustus in the scenes with the Pope. The Renaissance was also a time when the bubonic plague was at its peak of destruction.
Doctor Faustus and the Failure to Unify". Great political and military ambitions fall by the wayside as Faustus takes trivial pleasure in his newfound and short-lived abilities. What tends to have been overlooked, however, is that there is an element of his initial plan to which Faustus stubbornly adheres: This reductive goal, I will argue, is doomed to failure by the persistently ambivalent world in which he exists.
This article will examine the ambiguity of the play which leads to its being interpreted as either a cautionary tale demonstrating the fate of those who abandon their faith in God, or as a celebration of the Renaissance humanist spirit.
The Elizabethan audience is shown the story of a morally barren scholar who rejects divinity in favour of the seductive power of Lucifer, yet at the same time seems to be invited to identify, and at times even sympathise, with him. The play seems to be variously a medieval morality play and a Renaissance tragedy, and also infiltrates a patently Christian theme with abundant images of Classical mythology, placing alongside and within one another concepts and structures which are fundamentally incompatible.
The play centres, I will argue, upon the utter failure of Faustus to achieve this unifying goal which he sets for himself, and upon the impossibility of him, or anyone, ever doing so; the contradictory world which Marlowe creates in the play is entirely resistant to unification.
This atmosphere of ambiguity and incompatibility in the play is reflective of the social climate during the long s, at the end of a century which had seen the nation change its official religion three times.
Moral Ambiguity Perhaps the most fundamental ambiguity of Doctor Faustus is in the nature of its protagonist. Is Faustus a bad man, or simply foolish?
If he is indeed bad or foolish, can he rightly be said to be a tragic hero? Is the audience meant to witness the demise of a man who has been overcome by the admirable Renaissance urge for human endeavour, or rather the fearful and just punishment of a faithless heretic?
Critical discussion of the play over the last century has produced substantial support for both sides of the argument.
One does not have to delve deeply to find an orthodox Christian moral in Doctor Faustus; here we have a play in which the protagonist, overflowing with boastful arrogance, sells his soul to Lucifer in return for twenty-four years of earthly indulgence, and ultimately pays the inevitable price of eternal damnation.
As early as the prologue, we are given ample reason to anticipate a vehement propounding of Christian values: Arieh Sachs, who interprets the play as an exploration of Protestant theology with an orthodox moral, asserts that In general, the scheme of values in which the action of Doctor Faustus takes place is the fundamental Christian outlook which prevailed in the western world from the decline of Roman secularism to the disintegration of the dogmatic tradition long after the play was written.
To suggest that because Faustus does not seem to commit an infraction of what the modern liberal and utilitarian mind sees as morality he is an admirable character and does not deserve his punishment is to put the play in a context entirely alien to it.
We are always aware that Faustus the aspiring Titan is also the self-deluded fool of Lucifer. The reward of sin is death. Why then belike we must sin, And so consequently die.
The first should read "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" Romans 6. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" I John 1. In stark contrast to the lofty promises he makes to himself to "wall all Germany in brass" and "chase the Prince of Parma from our land" I.
In response to the argument for Doctor Faustus as a document of Christian morality, however, one can ask just how bad Faustus actually is; besides a slap on the pate for the pope, a joke at the expense of the knight and the sale of some questionable merchandise to the horse-courser, Faustus does nothing to harm anybody other than himself.
Faustus and Adam both transgress after being overcome by curiosity, that most human of instincts. Indeed, the ubiquitous nature of curiosity is reflected upon by Marlowe at other points in the play.
In the scene which is often described merely as Faustus "hoodwinking" or "gulling" the horse-courser, we are provided with a comic mirror of the sins of Faustus and Adam; upon agreeing to sell the "horse", Faustus offers the horse-courser some clear advice: But I must tell you one thing before you have him: Why, sir, will he not drink of all waters?
O, yes, he will drink of all waters, but ride him not into the water. Ride him over hedge, or ditch, or where thou wilt, but not into the water.
I was no sooner in the middle of the pond but my horse vanished away and I sat upon a bottle of hay, never so near drowning in my life. One might well argue that the sceptical curiosity displayed here, particularly in a Renaissance context of growing efforts in the humanist pursuit of secular wisdom, is something to be understood, and maybe even applauded.
Ambiguity and Genre A further problem arises if we accept that Faustus is intended as a subject of derision; if we cannot identify with or admire its protagonist, can The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus be considered "tragical" at all?
In his Poetics, Aristotle is concise in identifying the ingredients of a tragedy. He states that Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is admirable, complete and possesses magnitude; in language made pleasurable, each of its species [verse and song] separated in different parts; performed by actors, not through narration; effecting through pity and fear the purification of such emotions.
This effect is not simply achieved by staging a spectacle of catastrophic misfortune, but is dependent upon careful and sensitive characterisation: So it is clear first of all that decent men should not be seen undergoing a change from good fortune to bad fortune - this does not evoke pity or fear, but disgust.
Nor should depraved people be seen undergoing a change from bad fortune to good fortune - this is the least tragic of all: Nor again should a very wicked person fall from good fortune to bad fortune - that kind of structure would be agreeable, but would not excite pity or fear, since the one has to do with someone who is suffering undeservedly, the other with someone who is like ourselves I mean, pity has to do with the undeserving sufferer, fear with the person like us ; so what happens will evoke neither pity nor fear.
So that the right use of Comedy will I think by nobody be blamed, and much less of the high and excellent Tragedy, that openeth the greatest wounds, and showeth forth the ulcers that are covered with tissue; that maketh kings fear to be tyrants, and tyrants manifest their tyrannical humours; that, with stirring the affects of admiration and commiseration, teacheth the uncertainty of this world, and upon how weak foundations gilden roofs are builded  Sidney here invests tragedy with a more didactic and utilitarian purpose than does Aristotle, perhaps not surprisingly given the nature of the work in which the quotation appears, but the means that bring about the end - the stirring of admiration and commiseration - are synonymous with those in the Aristotelian definition.
If Faustus is neither a great man nor worthy of our sympathy, but rather a wicked man experiencing a fall from good fortune to bad fortune, then he surely cannot fulfil the criteria required of a tragic hero.WHAT DR FAUSTUS TEACHES US TODAY.
Date: September 28, inspiring Christopher Marlowe’s play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, first performed in London around The corrupting influence of money is also a theme of Stephen Vincent Benét’s short story The Devil and Daniel Webster (), written at the. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, or in simpler terms Dr.
Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe is said to be based on the German legend of Faust, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for hierarchy and knowledge.
But Doctor Faustus' humor i While I tease my daughter incessantly about the true identity of Shakespeare, I have to admit that while a lot of evidence points towards Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare being the same person, I can't, in all honesty, hold up the play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus as a Shakespeare-worthy text.
Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus For a play that has retained much of its scholarly value over the four hundred and ten years, there is surprisingly little known about Christopher Marlowe’s masterpiece, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.
Christopher Marlowe's play, Dr. Faustus, is the story of the struggle of one man who is battling with himself over what he values most in life, and to what extent he will go to obtain what he desires.
In Othello and The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus shows how deception changes the identity of individuals and the outcome of certain events.
Two works that look at these principles are William Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice () and Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical Background of Doctor Faustus (). Othello is a play based all around power: those in electricity, those seeking it, the energy of language, and exactly how power .