Destruction By Knowledge Essay

1010 words - 4 pages

Formally, one refers to a hero as “A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life”. In the Romantic era, poetry and science begin to move away from the Age of Enlightenment and start focusing on emotions and experience. Mary Shelley writes a classic novel, Frankenstein, which fulfills the ideal romantic qualities, that instills horror in the reader which invokes their emotions. Dr. Frankenstein represents a fallen hero who allows his obsession with knowledge to completely dominate his life. Likewise in Dr. Faustus written by Christopher Marlowe, Faustus permits the devil to persuade him into seeking an amoral task. Dr. Faustus and Dr. Frankenstein display their corruption and arrogance throughout their respective works that eventually results in tragedy, dooming both characters and proving that obsession with anything results in evil.
Both possessing the desire to learn, Faustus and Frankenstein begin researching black magic and anatomy and attempt to become geniuses which eventually becomes their downfall. In his haughty manner, Faustus contemplates the study of a variety of subjects and comes upon the choice between black magic and theology. Reluctantly, he chooses “a world of profit and delight” which promises “power, honor, and omnipotence” (Marlowe 5). Because of
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his pretentious manner, Faustus believes that law, logic, divinity, and medicine simply do not meet his intellectual abilities. Hoping for progress in his knowledge, Faustus obtains a book about black magic and displays his eagerness. The evil angel provokes Faustus even further by persuading him to aim for the abilities of the gods by taking magic to the next level. The angel guarantees that Faustus will be highly rewarded. Upon hearing this, Faustus completely blocks out the good angel and begins teaching himself the art of black magic. On the other hand, Dr. Frankenstein chooses a form of medicine, anatomy, which Faustus claims as a boring subject. However, anatomy itself proves unsuitable for Frankenstein. He also proceeds to uncover the mysteries of the “corruption of the human body” (Shelley 30). Once he discovers his true passion while studying as a student at Ingolstadt University, Frankenstein devotes his life to mimicking the creation of man. He travels to graveyards and digs up deceased bodies and also steals body parts from the science labs of the university. Upon making the decision to study magic and anatomy, Faustus and Frankenstein doom themselves with their obsessive desire to become geniuses in these subjects.
Giving into temptation, Frankenstein and Faustus experience the evils of their supposed “good” subjects and become corrupted by their obsessions. The devil uses Faustus’ weakness, his attraction to the beautiful Helena, to bring Faustus to his ultimate downfall. Even after a warning from the old man, Faustus begs Helena to “make me...

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